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Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer January 2008 Entries
Vista one year later
Not much hoopla this year over the one year anniversary of Vista. In fact, when I was part of the Microsoft Foots program last year which allowed me to talk to customers at a popular Best Buy in Orlando, FL there was no excitement with customers when I showed them all the new features of Vista along with the new version of Microsoft Office 2007. I often wonder if Vista will ever get accepted at all. Sure all new notebooks have Vista installed on it but what about those PC's that could upgrade to ......

Posted On Thursday, January 31, 2008 6:43 PM

Is anyone noticing?
Yahoo just announced it would cut 1000 jobs by February. Others will soon follow as they look at fourth quarter reports. This doesn't look good for current job seekers or college graduates who will graduate in the spring. What's going to turn this economy around? Technorati Tags: yahoo, college graduates, job ......

Posted On Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:09 AM

Game class update Week 4
It's hard to believe that we started this class a month ago and we are moving along to finish the C# learning before we begin our adventure to learning XNA. Students are programming assignments utilizing the if statement. We reviewed the switch statement and how that is used as well. In addition, we covered webcast 3 overview of Game Elements that Digipen has available. This webcasts covers graphics, input, sounds and networks. My students only have time to program 2d games in XNA but I wanted to ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:05 AM

You have to click to participate
The NY times has an interesting article today of an AP Physics class using wireless hand held devices called clickers to answer questions given to them by their teacher. The response is real time and charted on the screen so the teacher can review if students are learning. The clicker is getting very popular as an educational technology tool and is used in both middle school and colleges as well. As a matter of fact, Ohio State University has dedicated several pages on its website describing the ......

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2008 1:01 PM

Technology night 08
Tech night 08 was a great success last night in the Lakefront room at LHPS. There were close to 50 students and parents in attendance to listen to Andrea Barr from Apple who talked about Podcasting. Etan Horowitz from the Orlando Sentinel talked about Tech Tips for students. Richard Connor from Laptop Plus dove into pc security and finally Dan Waters from Microsoft talked about the tablet pc and Onenote software. Lots of information in two hours time. Thanks to Microsoft for the donation of an XBOX ......

Posted On Friday, January 25, 2008 7:52 AM

Free Dotnetnuke curriculum
If you are teaching a web design class and if you want your students to learn how to create a web portal using open source software called dotnetnuke then there is some curriculum that you can have for free. There's even a forum to post questions and you can download videos of the lessons to use to learn dotnetnuke. The curriculum will have your students create a web portal for Comp Sci High School. They will create pages and add modules to those pages. In addition, they will learn how to skin modules ......

Posted On Thursday, January 24, 2008 5:35 PM

Have you heard of JING?
According to TechSmith, JING is a project and not a product. Whatever they want to call it, JING is an excellent communication tool where you can capture a screen, add your voice and voila you have yourself a movie file to share with anyone. In education, this is great. For example, I can use this on any of my powerpoint slides or software demos that I use in class and put them on my website for students to view as a review. What's even better is that you save on 200 MB of space provided to you by ......

Posted On Thursday, January 24, 2008 3:39 PM

Orlando, FL Dotnetnuke User Group Meeting


Saturday, February 2.


Posted On Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:36 AM

Field trip to Ortronicon
All of my students went on a field trip today to visit the Orlando Science Center and participate in workshops that instructors from the Full Sail School in Winter Park, FL put on. The Instructors were extremely knowledgeable and had a great deal of patience answering questions from teenagers. The Science Center sponsored Otronicon over the weekend and the field trips were part of it. One workshop was on 3d modeling with Maya software and the other was on designing games using FPS Creator. Students ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2008 3:24 PM

Free Electronic Arts Games
Yes, it's true! EA is going to allow you to play a game called Battlefield Heroes online for free. What's the catch? Nothing. So how do they make money? Advertisers and users if they want to pay to dress up their online hero when they play the game. I like this idea and EA does too and has tested this out in South Korea for two years now. This will become available in the summer so stay tune for that. Technorati Tags: EA, electronic arts, Battlefield Heroes ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2008 8:35 AM

Any Silverlight pros out there?
I am trying to explore how I can expose my high school students to silverlight but I'm not sure what direction would be the easiest for them. For example, I realize that there are several versions of silverlight available at this time and that there are several ways to create applications with silverlight. JavaScript, Expression Blend and now the .NET Framework. What I don't know is what direction I should go so now I'm asking the experts. What should I be looking at and where can I go to learn. ......

Posted On Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:55 PM

Is your school a member of the alliance?
The alliance that I'm referring to is the Microsoft Academic Alliance which allows any high school computer science department and computer science students to install Visual Studio. In addition, you get the following: Three Microsoft e-Learning Library (MELL) collections: General Programming Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Programming in Visual Basic .NET Teaching Tools CD Student Tools CD Teaching Tools Manual Student Tools Manual Introductory Kit Monitored Newsgroups MSDN Library Documentation Technical ......

Posted On Friday, January 18, 2008 8:52 PM

Bought my tickets to Seattle for the MVP Summit
Today, I purchased my tickets to go to Seattle for the MVP Summit which will be held in April. The MVP Global Summit is a four-day invitation-only event hosted at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center in Seattle and at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. With more than 400 sessions and a variety of networking opportunities, the MVP Global Summit enables Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and Regional Directors (RDs) to: Connect with other MVPs and RDs Engage with Microsoft ......

Posted On Friday, January 18, 2008 1:06 PM

Game programming class update
Next week our class will be talking about the taxonomy of games. I showed students some XNA games and told them that we will be learning XNA by the end of February. Lots of C# learning ahead like decision making, repetition, classes, structs and arrays. Students will be learning about collision with the Brix Game that they are programming. They will replace some code to make the bricks disappear upon collision. Needless to say, the motivation of my students is up and we are moving forward. We have ......

Posted On Friday, January 18, 2008 12:44 PM

What is it about Alice?
In my Honors Programming I class this semester I have 18 students. Ten males and eight females. I'm extremely happy because this is the largest amount of females that I've had in a programming class. We are starting to use Alice and already I can see the excitement of all students working with the software. Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching ......

Posted On Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:29 PM

You really have to hand it to Apple
Last year the IPHONE, this year the MacBook Air billed as the world's thinnest notebook was announced this week at the Macworld Expo Show in San Francisco. Apple's products are very cool looking and very appealing to students. The MacBook Air features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit widescreen display that has a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The backlighting saves power and provides "instant on" response from the moment you turn it on. The device has a slightly wedge-shaped profile. It weighs about 3 pounds, ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 6:48 PM

The Theory of Fun
When doing research for my XNA Game Programming class, I came across a great site that Jay Crossler has that had lecture slides that I could download and use in my class. One slide deck on the Theory of Fun will be used soon with my students. The slides review why are games not fun and how do we think. In addition, there's a section on how people choose games and reviews Bartle Personality Types. Finally, demographics are reviewed, time spent playing games, occupational status, what do players want ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 12:45 PM

Sharing your first game memories
Over at the MTV News and games blog, you too can share your first video gaming memory. There are some great stories being shared as well. My first video game really had to be Super Mario Brothers on my kid's Nintendo. What was your first game? Technorati Tags: video games ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 15, 2008 1:26 PM

Motivated high school student wants to become a Microsoft MVP
I was telling my students last week about my experience being a Microsoft MVP and a student of mine told me that his goal was to be an MVP. I told him about the two high school students that I met that were MVP's and what they were involved in. I was extremely happy that this student was motivated to learn more about becoming an MVP and I hope he pursues this. Nikita Polyakov who is a student at the University of South Florida and a Microsoft MVP blogs about his experience. The Microsoft Channel ......

Posted On Monday, January 14, 2008 10:05 AM

Beginning to learn about the BRIX Windows Game
In my game programming class next week, my students will be learning about C# data types and working with variables. I have several small programs for them to program so that they feel comfortable programming in C# and working with the IDE. These are console applications and will be easy for them to master. The students will start to learn how to program a basic windows game called BRIX. Here's a description of the game. Game Design Overview As its name implies, this is a Windows-based game named ......

Posted On Sunday, January 13, 2008 1:38 AM

Calling all artists and musicians from a high school
I am looking for student artists to create some game sprites that my students could possibly use in their game projects. Ideally, I'd like to create a public domain library of game sprites for anyone to download and use in their game. Full credit will be given to the designer. On that same note, I'm looking for student musicians to create game sound files that could be used in a game. These files would also be put in a public domain library. Please let me know if you can provide this to our game ......

Posted On Friday, January 11, 2008 11:44 AM

Theme Programming
I've only taught my Honors Programming II Game Programming class for 3 days now and I'm evaluating my students C# skills with various beginner programs. In addition, I am introducing Gaming concepts with my students using the free online book called The Art of Computer Game Design by Chris Crawford. I am also using some the Video Gaming Webcast that Microsoft has available with Matthew Mead who is a Computer Science Instructor from Digipen Institute of Technology. The Webcasts does not cover XNA ......

Posted On Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:45 PM

Lab Preparation
So today was our first day back to school after our Christmas break. We had meetings in the morning and we get the rest of the day to get ready for the next semester. I have 20 new pc's in my room so I needed to windows update each one along with installing the software for the xbox controller that the students will use in my XNA class. Here's a picture of the lab. I was able to write my lesson plans for each class that I'll be teaching and put the finishing touches on the Honors Programming II class. ......

Posted On Monday, January 7, 2008 11:42 AM

Game Programming Class Curriculum
Here is an outline of the Honors Programming II class that I'll be teaching next semester which begins next week. The curriculum that I'll be using for C# was written by Digipen and Microsoft. Introduction to C# C# Types & Variables C# Input & Output C# Expressions & Operators C# Functions & Flow Control C# Classes C# Arrays C# Structures The curriculum that I'll be using for some of the XNA training will come from Bill Reiss and Blue Rose Games. Introduction to XNA Getting Started ......

Posted On Saturday, January 5, 2008 6:31 PM

Intel does an about face supporting education pc program
Over the summer, I blogged about Intel supporting the One Laptop Per Child Program and today I learn that they have stopped supporting the program. Doesn't make sense to me why you would agree and then less than six months later you pull out all together. The mission of this non-profit association is to develop a low-cost laptop—the "$100 Laptop"—a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. The goal is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, ......

Posted On Friday, January 4, 2008 9:44 AM

Otronicon is coming to the Orlando Science Center
O)rlando Elec(tron)ic (I)nteractive Entertainment (Con)vention The inaugural event in 2006 attracted more than 16,000 to experience how the cultural phenomenon of video games is changing everything from art to education to business to military training. Otronicon is uniquely Orlando and spotlights Central Florida's growing digital media industry. Last year's event in January 2007 attracted an incredibly diverse audience of 18,000, including parents with kids, grandparents with grandchildren, couples, ......

Posted On Thursday, January 3, 2008 1:27 PM

Orlando, FL Dotnetnuke User Group Meeting
The Orlando Dotnetnuke User Group will have a meeting on Saturday, February 2nd at 11 am. The meeting will be held at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, FL in the Rex Building room 204.Directions: Group Website: Hope to see you there. Technorati Tags: dotnetnuke ......

Posted On Thursday, January 3, 2008 12:57 PM

The List: What's In and Out for 2008
It was nice to see that Washington Post Writer Hank Stuever has included The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch in his What's In and Out for 2008. He has the lecture in the In column. Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 6:35 PM

Getting ready to XNA with my students
For over a year now, I've been busy learning XNA and then try to put together some curriculum for my Honors Programming II class to use. 3dbuzz has an excellent online class and. I would highly recommend their training. I am using moodle class management system with my students and it is a very convenient way of organizing a course. I'll be doing weekly blogs on the progress of the course . I am hoping more high school teachers would teach XNA to their students and we all can share games together. ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 4:28 PM

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