Monday, May 31, 2010

Interesting Links 31 May 2010

It’s Memorial Day in the US and today we remember and honor the men and women who fought and died for our country. My Dad is a World War II veteran and has been relating some of his stories from that war. A lot went on and in his earlier days he never shared this much.  I’m glad to know it and it really brings the sacrifices the military has made over the generations real to me.

Most people in the US have a holiday today and so do I. I wanted to keep to my usually blogging schedule though. So here now some updates and interesting links.

From the Kodu team via @mmaclaurin and @scoy6 I learn that there is a new build of Kodu out with PC updates.  Information on their blog at PC build 1.0.48 is live! Get it here: Kodu Game Lab - Technical Preview

From Mark Drapeau (AKA @cheeky_geekyShuffleboard: A Windows Phone 7 Sample Game XNA based and a preview of an upcoming Coding 4 Fun article.

danah boyd (@zephoria) had an interesting post titled: Deception + fear + humiliation != education about an ACLU complaint regarding a police officer "safety" lesson) We need to teach students how to be safe on the Internet but we really need to make sure we are honest about it. And it can’t be all about fear and humiliation.

I really liked this post by Garth on his CS Education blog - Programmers need to [be] smart and stupid, at the same time. “I keep telling my kids if you are going to write code you have to design smart and code stupid” An interesting perspective on coding and design and getting the messages through to students.

From @innovativeteach and the UK Education team a new Blog Post - 'Bing - Visual Search, teaching questioning skills

Don’t confuse visual search with image search, visual search is about finding information using images rather than a keyword. imageBing has number of visual data collections, some of which are ideal for creating learning opportunities for pupils, especially in developing questioning and analytical skills.

To use Visual search, go to and click Visual Search on the menu on the left-hand side



My friend and go-worker Randy Guthre (@randyguthrie) wrote a new blog post: - Using Self-Marketing to Maximize Out-of-Class Project Impact on your Resume Out of class projects can be a very powerful in getting job interviews and actual jobs. Students can use social networking and other tools to leverage these projects to market themselves. Randy tells how it can work.

Plural Sight Online is offering their training at half off for educators on their Pluralsight On-Demand! .NET Training Courses. Plural Sight is one of the top training organizations. How good? Well Microsoft frequently hires them to train Microsoft employees. If you are interested visit their web site and contact their marketing people for details.

An interesting story on a blog post by Cameron Evans, the national technology officer and CTO for Microsoft Education in the US, called PowerPoint Inspires a High School Student to Computer Science This is the story of how one application was an inspiration to one person to enter the computer science field. Pretty cool story really.

RT @TeachTec is offering more Tech Tips to close-out the school year. See his post  of the Top 8 tips

From @Safer_Online Who asks “Holding an online safety event? Microsoft offers FREE resources you can download and use.”

BTW I finally made someone's top 20 blog list - The Top 20 Teacher Blogs Apparently this and several dollars can get me a cup of coffee. If I drank coffee that is. :-) Still it always feels good to be noticed and there are some really great blogs on that  list.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interesting Links 17 May 2010

I have quite an eclectic mix of links this week. Some career information, some Windows Phone programming links, Internet safety, school IT information and more. I hope you’ll read through it all and find something that is useful to you. If you are interested in more frequent update you can follow me at @AlfredTwo on Twitter. Send me an @ reply if you are on Twitter and read my blog so I will be sure to follow you back!

First a couple of IT and ICT links for you. I found this list of Worst practices in ICT use in education from a World Bank blog via the CSTA blog. Both the World Bank and CSTA posts are worth the read. Over at the Educators Royal Treatment, Ken Royal (@kenroyal) blogs a 7-Step District IT Checklist.

Some good news and some bad news about high school computer science. The good is a great program at Georgia Tech High called Operation Reboot: IT Professionals Become Computer Science Teachers. On the down side, Mark Guzdial writes about high school CS teachers under fire It is about how budget cuts and teacher layoffs are setting high school computer science back by pretty much removing it from the curriculum. It seems like HS CS takes one step forward and two steps backwards at a time when we really need some steady movement forward.

Speaking of the need – Two interesting salary reports came to my attention last week. On was Global Knowledge's 2010 IT Skills and Salary Report Download. Interesting that the average salary for respondents was $82,115. The other was a report on the 25 best-paying jobs for women. There was a gender gap in income – something that never stops amazing me as it makes little sense. On the good side the smallest gap wad for computer software engineers. Even nursing had a larger percentage gap between men and women with men making more.

The SaferOnline Team from Microsoft (@Safer_Online) Sent out a couple of useful links:

On the development software side of things, check out What's New in Visual Studio 2010

My friend Sam Stokes (@SocalSam) had a couple of blog posts last week about developing for Windows Phones.

I also found and tried out a the windows phone snowflake demo game from the XNA Creators Club.

From the Teacher Tech blog and @TeachTec: Partners in Learning has a free site to set up communities. Join now and $1 goes to the Boys & Girls Club.

From the UK Innovative teachers program (@innovativeteach) “Want some great ideas of How to use Excel across the curriculum? Try our Innovids” I also blogged about that and other videos in my post last week on Programming and Excel.

BTW happy "Syttende Mai" to my friends and family in Norway. (It’s Norwegian Constitution Day)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Interesting Links 10 May 2010

You have to love the Internet and especially twitter. You can hear about things that you’d never hear about from the main stream media. For example, from Andrew Parsons (@MrAndyPuppy) I learned that there is an official Geek/Nerd Pride Day - May 25: Geek/Nerd day Information and Geek/Nerd Day Facebook Page. Not sure I am a big fan of the list of rights and responsibilities on the Wikipedia page but it is an interesting idea none the less.

Looking at the network logs for links to this blog I found this list of the Top 50 Computer Science Blogs I’m pretty happy to have made this list. There are some good blogs on it but I really think there were some missing. Mark Guzdial’s Computer Science Education blog and Eugene Wallingford’s Knowing and Doing just to name two. There are several other good CS blogs in the blog roll on the side of this page (click to the blog if you are reading via RSS)

Speaking of other good blogs, Hélène Martin reminds us that while loops are more complicated than we sometimes remember  with a post titled While loops gone wild. She talks about some of the things she does to teach indeterminate loops and what works or not at times.

A lot going on around the Internet on women in computer science last week. For example, from Derrick Love (@Dlove03) i spotted a link to a blog post titled Computer Science Lacks Women, Minorities. Dan Lewis on the CSTA Blog writes What's Different About Boys' and Girls' Interest in Computing? And Mark Guzdial writes about Women in CS in Qatar: It's Complicated. That last one is particularly full of surprises. If you are all interested in computer science perceptions in different cultures it is a must read.

Interested in contests? From @ScholasticTeach I learned that you can join the Partners in Learning Network by 6/30 for a chance to win a Dell computer lab for your school. Hey, it’s all free!

A bit about professional development and other events. From Liz Davis (@lizbdavis) I learned that there is a Creative Computing workshop for  Middle & HS teachers at MIT. Looks like it is derived from the CS4HS curriculum plan developed initially at Carnegie Mellon. Should be a good program.

Liz also twittered about the Scratch at MIT Conference in August: and  Scratch Day on May 22nd. Registration is now open at

Speaking of Scratch – Gail Carmichael writes about Scratch and Eighth Graders on her blog. A good blog to follow BTW. Also she has some great links to resources including many that she used with her eight grade students. Worth the visit just for all those links.

From @Safer_Online I learned about some Free printable online safety brochures available for download. Take a look – you may have a use for them.

Last but not least, I have a new post at the Educator’s Royal Treatment today - Four T’s That Spell Trouble for Technology Adoption In which I talk about some of the issues that get in the way of implementing technology programs in schools.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Interesting Links 3 May 2010

Last week was a struggle for me both blogging and otherwise. A lot of stuff going on at work and at home. Plus of course I spent a lot of my blogging energy on the Imagine Cup. I loved being at and blogging about the Imagine Cup though so it was worth it for me. I really hope a lot more top notch high school students give the IC a try next year. Hopefully we can come up with some ways to make that a but lighter weight for HS students though. The Windows Phone Rockstar award contest is still open to new entries BTW.

I have some longer single topic blog posts planned from this week but I do want to list some interesting shorts and links that I have found though. I hope you find some (even one maybe) that you can really use.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week - Thanks so much to all of you classroom teachers out there! In honor of this the TeachTech blog (ideas and resources for your classroom) is featuring guest posts from @TeachaKidd @EmergingEdTech @CoolCatTeacher @web20classroom @LarryFerlazzo

Speaking of teachers - Garth Flint (who comments frequently on my blog) has a new blog of his own called Garth's CS Education blog. One of his early posts is  and Interesting review of a bunch of programming languages and their usefulness in first CS courses. I like his discussion of what makes up a good first programming language as well. So go read his blog and add it to your RSS reader or list of favorites. This is going to be a blog worth following. Trust me!

Next some contest stuff for teachers:

There has been some changes to the Submission form for 2010 Ypulse Totally Wired Teacher Award Sponsored by Dell. You may want to check that out.

If you are on Twitter you can follow @MouseMischief for a chance at winning a Mischief Classroom Kit.

Mouse Mischief integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. See some videos at the Mouse Mischief blog.

  • Reason #1 to use Mouse Mischief in your classroom: “It actively engages students and supports collaborative learning.”
  • Reason #2 to use Mouse Mischief in your classroom: “Improves classroom management and overall student participation.”
  • Reason #3 to use Mouse Mischief in your classroom: “It’s familiar to use and easy on the classroom budget.”

We take humor very seriously here at Microsoft and think it is important in Education as well. See Microsoft's Guide to Humor which is one part of a “complete set of professional development competencies that we developed with educators for educators. Seriously.”

I’ve been saying that game design programs attract students and the Washington Post reports that it is working at George Mason. Anyone surprised?

From @Microsoft I find this post “Prepare today for jobs of tomorrow” on “The Hill” written by Microsoft’s Fred Humphries. It says that 75% of jobs in US in next decade will require some tech skills, but only 13% US adults have them. I do not think it is safe to assume that today’s students have them either!

Online safety stuff? I see that the Boy Scouts have added two gamer awards for Cub scouts. Hat tip to @MrAndyPuppy for the link.

And from @Safer_Online: Microsoft publishes its latest Security Intelligence Report. Some great insights there!

Fun video by Joey deVilla AKA @accordionguy  Developer Jr. with Joey and Junior take a look at Kodu. Hat tip @shap for the link

Professional Development?

From @KidReporter and@DanKasun: Students see the forest through the tweets - Imagine Cup 2010 One last (for a while) Imagine Cup story

From @CACMmag End of an era? The end of something. Sony will stop making floppy disks by March 2011. Wait? Someone still makes floppy disks?