Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Year Up Visits the MTC

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    Last Friday the Microsoft Technology Center in Waltham MA was pleased to again host a group from Year Up Rhode Island. I again gave a career talk. Unlike last time (NUI Whoops) I didn’t get fancy and try to use a Kinect to show off. During the lunch break the students did try out a Kinect and Xbox 360. The young man in the center of the picture below moved much better than I ever could.

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    I talk about Kinect during my career talks these days because I firmly believe that we are right at the beginning of how it and devices like it will change how we interact with computers and through those computers with many part of our environments. It is enabling technology. To me computers, and especially software are at the heart of world changing opportunities.

    The availability of the Kinect for Windows SDK and the relatively inexpensive Kinect sensor device opens many possibilities for new ideas and creative solutions. Perhaps even to solving “problems” we don’t even know we have.

    Something else that I talk a lot about these days is the opportunity for young people with ideas, ambition and brains to start their own companies. Besides free tools for students to learn with (DreamSpark) there is the Microsoft BizSpark program to help start up companies get started on the Microsoft platform. And of course Cloud Computing services like Windows Azure allow new companies to focus on their applications without stressing out over buying and maintaining infrastructure. The people from Year Up (a group of them below staying awake while I talked) were a great audience. They asked good questions as well. That always makes for a more interesting event for everyone. I wish them all the best as they complete the Year Up program and move into the workforce full-time.

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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links September 6 2011

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    Labor Day in the US means a three-day weekend and I took advantage of it. That is why this post is a day late. Hope it didn’t ruin anyone’s day. Smile I’d like to make note of a couple of my recent posts that seem to have more in common now that I read all the comments on them than they did initially.

    Together I think they form the basis for a long discussion about programming languages, internationalization, ease of learning vs. ease of use and generally what are the philosophical and other social aspects of programming language design. It’s more than just technical questions.

    Interested in adding some cloud computing to your mobile device development? From Mark Hindsbo (@mhindsbo) I see that Microsoft has released an Azure toolkit to help bring the cloud to all devices with Android tools just released to join tools for iPhone and Windows Phone.

    Stuart Ball (via  @Innovativeteach) announces more great Kinect stuff from the UK Partners in Learning Teachers K Team.

    The latest ISTE SIG for Computer Teachers newsletter (PDF) is now available. As always some good information there. I’ve been a member of ISTE and SIGCT for years and find it well worth my time and energy BTW.

    Last week marked the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Research (MSFTResearch) where they are doing all sorts of cool stuff. Scott Lum (@scottlum) pointed me at this In-depth look inside Microsoft Research and their nerdy research projects  via Wired Mag

    Speaking of Microsoft Research (MSFTResearch ) last week they Tweeted a suggestion that people “Check out .NET Gadgeteer, a rapid prototyping device developed by Microsoft Research, now available commercially.” It’s a great new way to create programmable devices. Lots of good educational possibilities.

    The ever creative Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) blogged about “Our Freshman Software Exploration Project (6 Days of Wonder)” Of course I found her discussion of how they use Microsoft OneNote particularly interesting but she has more stuff as well. OneNote is one of Microsoft’s lesser known gems with huge value in education.

    CodeCampChris Bowen (@ChrisBowen) is a developer evangelist at Microsoft and a great guy. He recently announced an upcoming New England Code Camp 16 - October 29th, Waltham, MA - Save the date! While most attendees are professional developers the sessions are wide ranging and I suspect a lot of educators and STUDENTS will find value in attending. Check out Chris’ blog post for more information.

    Want to become an entrepreneur? Watch @IEEEtv’s  Young Entrepreneurs video sponsored by @Microsoft to learn what you need to make it happen.

    A couple of regular links to Microsoft’s Tech Student blog

    Interesting post on Ethical hacking on the CSTA blog Follow them on Twitter at @csteachersa

    Great article about Serious Play Conference & Microsoft taking the "Productivity Games" approach to Education

    Girls Go Geek… Again! - Fog Creek Blog a great reminder that programming was once “women’s work” and that we really need to get women back into software.

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