Saturday, 31 January 2009

Useful Web links for Computer Science/IT/Computing/ICT/Programming teachers

I have found a number of these websites useful for developing some programmes that have been useful in teaching students programming and included in these are some fun innovative projects.
If anyone has any other useful websites they use for encouraging students to get into IT I would love to hear about them!

K-12 Faculty Community Site
A source for curriculum resources, teacher forums, and program announcements

Programming Languages for Beginners
  • Alice – A 3-dimensional, drag and drop programming language from Carnegie Mellon University
  • Kodu - A graphical programming tool for younger students. (Not available for public release yet!)
  • Scratch – a light weight 2-dimensional, drag and drop programming language from MIT, for learning resources visit
  • Small Basic - Small Basic is a project that's aimed at bringing "fun" back to programming. By providing a small and easy to learn programming language in a friendly and inviting development environment, Small Basic makes programming a breeze. Ideal for kids and adults alike, Small Basic helps beginners take the first step into the wonderful world of programming.
  • Microsoft Popfly - Popfly includes a simple way to create and share games with your friends. Choose from a variety of built-in templates or start from scratch to create a side scrolling game, a 2D shoot-em-up, or a host of others. And best of all, you can get started without writing a line of code. You can also build mashups. Mashups are a kind of application that take information from many places and mix it together.
MSDN Academic Alliance
A Microsoft program for schools to get Microsoft Development software for labs, teachers, and students - costs attached

DreamSpark for High schools
DreamSpark High School provides professional-level development and design tools to students enrolled in an accredited, secondary educational institution at no charge.

XNA Game Studio Express
Software for developing games for Windows, the Zune and the XBOX 360. Also links to the XNA community with sample code, tutorials and support forums.

Visual Studio Express Editions
Free development tools (IDEs) for Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual C# and Visual Web Developer

Beginner Developer Learning Center
A web site for people of all ages who want to learn programming and web development. Tutorials, videos, projects and web casts

Microsoft Robotics Studio
Visual Programming Language for robots, runtime libraries for higher level programming, a 3-dimensional robot simulator with sample simulations, tutorials, and videos

Coding 4 Fun
A web site for hobbyists and computer tinkerers - sample projects and information for doing fun and interesting thing with programming; often combined with interesting or unusual hardware

Computer Science Unplugged is a series of learning activities that reveals a little-known secret: computer science isn't really about computers at all!

Also I know that we are back at school now, but 28 Janurary was Data Privacy Day 2009

January 28th, 2009 is the second annual Data Privacy Day. Intel has a great information page about this day and includes this explanation:

Designed to raise awareness and generate discussion about data privacy practices and rights, Data Privacy Day activities in the United States have included privacy professionals, corporations, government officials, and representatives, academics, and students across the country.

One of the primary goals of Data Privacy Day is to promote privacy awareness and education among teens across the United States. Data Privacy Day also serves the important purpose of furthering international collaboration and cooperation around privacy issues.

At the Intel Data Privacy Day page you will find educational resources that you may find useful in class. Items include:

Fun Stuff

Ok, now some fun stuff, got a webcam, now you can have your own Microsoft Surface,

One of the hottest new technologies in computer interfaces is Microsoft Surface which uses multi-touch to allow several items (like hands for example) to control things happening in software. The hardware for this is a bit expensive. OK it's a lot expensive. Microsoft recently released some software as an open source project that makes this technology a lot easier and less expensive to try out. It requires a webcam to use and the following Touchless SDK video shows what it is about.

And something for you Mythbusters fans out there, what is the difference between a CPU and a GPU?

Well there is cost for one thing. And prep time for another. Oh wait, you don't know what I'm talking about. Let me back up. Apparently at some sort of event the NVidia people wanted to show the difference between how a CPU works and a GPU (graphic processor) works. They also had an interest in entertaining people so obviously they hired the people from the TV show Mythbusters to create the demo. You can see the demo here. Now if you know the show at all you probably know that they are big fans of robots and of shooting things – all sorts of things with all sorts of shooting apparatus. Yep, there is some of that here.

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