Thursday, 24 July 2008

Programming problems in High Schools

We use a managed network system at our school which limits the students ability to run .exe files.

I have been using gamemaker through a virtual environment and discovered problems that would not allow students to run the executable in the virtual environment, due to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 would not allow a graphics card greater than 16meg to be created, gamemaker requires a 64 meg graphics card or greater. We solved this by enabling an area on the network to run .exe files so the students could test.

The other programming software environments we teach run fine in virtual environments, visual basic and visual c# run well in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, but this does not have USB support.

When my year 13 students asked whether we could create games for the xbox 360 through the XNA creators kit using the skills they have gained in Visual C#, I thought sure, this sounds like something we can do and works in well with Achievment Standards and the competition/learning resources for STUDENT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DESIGN COMPETITION located at

After a couple of months figuring out that Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 won't run the xbox 360 for windows game controllers, installing vmware player and getting all the systems working and testing we have encountered our next problem, vmware player does not support directx3d, there is no drivers or solutions around.

We cannot create the exectable file and copy it through to another area as XNA reequires you to debug the program first. How are other schools providing computer programming experiences, do you dual boot, run liveCD's run off USB sticks? have a complete computer science lab that is setup just for those classes?

Your help would be appreciated.

Note: 28/7/2008 While reading Lance Armstrongs book, it's not about the bike I came up with the answer for my troubles, give the students privileged user rights on the machine. they cannot access anywhere else or so anything on the network due to permissions, but user rights on the machine might just work. I just need to work out what machines they privileged  use and grant them access, no messy creating different user rights or anything like that. Why did I not think of that 6 months ago. I think it because I had my mind on something completely different. Shows what reading a book can do for you. Also we can test out the web browsers that we are going to create...

1 comment:

Richard said...

Privileged rights on the student machines was the route I took with my senior software development class. Was nothing to do with XBox though. Simply wanted them to understand what it takes to setup and maintain a machine for development, installing IDE's, runtimes, libraries, etc. In hindsight it saved a LOT of trouble and time and let them experience many more languages and environments, but it also created a few issues with the local drives filling up with games :)