Geeks With Blogs
Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer

Alfred Thompson who works for Microsoft invited me to go to this event. Alfred is a former high school computer science teacher and I worked with him on the Microsoft Faculty Advisory Board. He works hard promoting high school programming for his company.

So why the AHOY? Well, this event is on the Disney Wonder Ship and it sails to Nasseau, Bahamas and the Disney Castaway Island. I'm sure you think that I'll be getting a good tan during my time there but the agenda is packed with interesting speakers and sessions and starts from 8am and the last session of the day is at 10:30 pm. There will be speakers from gaming companies and of course Microsoft speaking to educators about introducing gaming into the curriculum.

It is a well known fact that the enrollment in most computer science universities have declined and Microsoft is promoting using C# and XNA to have students program games and deploy them on their XBOX.  Hopefully, this application will bring students back into computer science departments. There are several universities that have done this and these professors will be speaking to us as well.

At my school, I've been using  Game Maker software with my Honors Programming II class. You can see some student projects here on the left under Honors Programming II Game Projects. Gamemaker is more of a game engine with its own programming language called GML. Students were successful at creating maze, shooter, and platform games. There was some curriculum that I used with my students that was very helpful.

This was our vacation week off and I spent a great deal of my time looking at the XNA tutorials that Bill Reiss created. Bill is a fellow Floridian from the Tampa area. Bill was a guest speaker in my Honors Programming class in December and did a great job doing an introduction to XNA to my students.

Bill did a great job with his tutorials and if you're interested in learning XNA it's a great place to start. I'm waiting to read a good XNA book which won't be available until the spring. I do plan on taking an online course that 3dBuzz will have called XNA Xtreme. It will start in April and go until June. Maybe some other teacher reading this blog will take the class and we can compare notes.

In any event, I plan on changing my curriculum to include XNA so students can be creative and create something that they can play on their XBOX and share with friends. I'll blog along the way to help other teachers do the same.

I look forward to meeting professors who are in the same boat I am. Anchors away mates!


Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:23 AM XNA Programming | Back to top

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