Geeks With Blogs
Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer XNA Programming
DreamSpark may not be a dud for high school cs students after all!
I have been pursuing when high school students will be getting the free software that Microsoft promised with the DreamSpark announcement back in February. I finally have been communicating with the team that is in charge of this and I've been told not to announce the release date but only to tell you that it will be soon. Real soon! The distribution will be different from what college students have been doing. The high school computer science teacher must register. The high school administrators/faculty ......

Posted On Tuesday, September 30, 2008 8:18 AM

DreamSpark= DreamDud for High School Students
Last February, Bill Gates announced a free software giveaway to college university students and high school students as well. Here is what was offered to them: Microsoft developer tools. Visual Studio is the Swiss Army knife of computer programming. These professional-grade products provide a security-enhanced and reliable environment, enabling students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content ......

Posted On Friday, September 26, 2008 1:03 PM

One month later.... Still nothing on the XNA Creators Club Site for Academics
So back in August, I blogged about this site because of my excitement for XNA and Academics. I was hoping to use whatever came on the site with my programming students. I was hoping that by now Microsoft either put content on the site or take it off and stop teasing us educators. To date nothing! Everyone is waiting patiently for content and I know one person who isn't waiting so patiently..... What gives? Technorati Tags: Microsoft, XNA, Academics, Creators Club ......

Posted On Monday, September 15, 2008 8:35 AM

XNA Curriculum Update
Microsoft MVP, Rob Miles has emailed all who are interested in reviewing his new XNA curriculum. I had a chance to look at Part 1 today and it looks good to use for any high school programming course that wants to introduce XNA into the curriculum. The curriculum will have a total of 8 parts: Part 1: An Introduction to ProgrammingPart 2: Controlling GamesPart 3: Displaying MessagesPart 4: Pictures and SoundsPart 5: A Complete GamePart 6: Creating GameplayPart 7: Complex Games Part 8: Multi Player ......

Posted On Friday, September 12, 2008 8:56 AM

XNA Creators Club has a spot for Academics on it
Not sure what's going to be on it because there's no content on it yet. Technorati Tags: xna Creators Club, xna ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:59 PM

XBOX 360 beats the competition
Microsoft has released sales figures on the XBOX 360 and they have reached the 10 million sold mark. The Wii is close behind with 8.8 million sold.
Great opportunity for game developers!

Posted On Thursday, May 15, 2008 10:30 AM

L.T.'s 1945 Game
Video: LT's 1945 XNA Game ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 13, 2008 11:04 AM

Bailey's Shooter Game
Video: Bailey's Shooter Game ......

Posted On Monday, May 12, 2008 11:35 AM

Nick's Crazy Bird Shot Game
Video: Nick's Bird Shot XNA Game ......

Posted On Monday, May 12, 2008 10:39 AM

Salman's Sonic Game
Video: Salman's Sonic Game ......

Posted On Monday, May 12, 2008 8:00 AM

Wrapping up teaching XNA Game Development
Next week is the last week of teaching XNA Game Development to my students. My year long planning for the course has really paid off and I'm proud of the 2D games that my students created. All of the games were deployed on the XBOX 360 to show the game play. I've posted some of the games that they created and I hope you like them too. Here are some DO's and Don'ts when teaching XNA. Do's Stick with one version of XNA and use it for the Semester. Teach your students the art of game design. Prepare ......

Posted On Saturday, May 10, 2008 1:18 PM

Jonathan's Monty Python XNA Game
Video: Jonathan's Monty Python XNA Game ......

Posted On Friday, May 9, 2008 10:34 AM

Paras' Helicopter XNA Game
Video: Paras XNA Helicopter ......

Posted On Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:03 AM

Kyle's Sonic Game
Video: Kyle's XNA SONIC GAME ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 7, 2008 2:04 PM

Are you serious about games?
Nearly 400 U.S. colleges and universities, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon, now offer formal training in game development, ranging from elective courses to full degree programs. The increasing complexity of computers and game systems requires teams of dozens of artists, producers, and programmers to create a game. "Twenty years ago, a game was made by one guy, or two or three people," says International Game Developers Association executive director Jason Della Rocca. "The games you see now take ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 23, 2008 4:54 PM

Getting to Seattle for the Microsoft MVP Summit Day 1
I arrived early at the airport and met up with our Microsoft local leader Joe, Devfish, Healy. Joe was in high spirits banging away on his keyboard at 7 am! Joe drove from Tampa to Orlando to take the Alaskan Airlines direct flight to Seattle. Joe feels so committed to the MVP program that he makes sure he has money in his budget to go to this event and hook up with the user group leaders at this event. Shawn Weisfeld, a C# MVP and Onetug leader, was next to arrive at the gate. We all boarded the ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 15, 2008 9:36 AM

Bouncing X and Y Introduction to OOP
Today in class, I shared with my students a video that Logan and Buzz did in their XNA online Programming class located at 3dbuzz.com. The training was excellent preparation for me to be able to teach my students game programing. My students have learned how to program in C# ,the basic concepts of decision making, repetition etc. and needed to see how all of this applies to game play so the Bouncing X video was needed at this time. There are 2 class files that are created in this application. One ......

Posted On Tuesday, February 5, 2008 11:48 AM

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

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

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

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

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

What to teach after the AP Computer Science Exam?
There is always some time left after the AP exam to teach our students more before we leave them for the summer. In Florida, we have a couple of weeks to learn more and if you’re from different parts of the country you may have even more time to teach students something new. I am really sold on having students learn about creating games so that’s what I’ll be doing with my students. There are several options available for you to do with your students and several languages to use as well. If you want ......

Posted On Thursday, April 12, 2007 7:34 AM

Interesting facts about gaming
In preparation for the gaming course that I'll be teaching next school year, I came across these interesting facts about the industry that is put out by the Entertainment Software Association: TOP 10 INDUSTRY FACTS US computer and video game software sales grew six percent in 2006 to $7.4 billion – almost tripling industry software sales since 1996. Sixty-nine percent of American heads of households play computer and video games. The average game player is 33 years old and has been playing games ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:50 AM

Calling all XNA developers!
I'm putting together a course for my advanced programming students and could use some help. My goal is to teach my students C# and then how to program a windows game and finally an xbox game using 2d. Hopefully, all students can complete their game and then deploy on an xbox. I have 18 weeks to do this. Any input you can give me that would help high school computer science students be successful in this course is appreciated. ps I have looked at a majority of tutorials that are online including a ......

Posted On Saturday, April 7, 2007 10:31 AM

AP Computer Science Course
Alfred Thompson, a former high school computer science teacher and now a Microsoft employee, blogged today on taking a look at AP Computer Science. Quite timely I thought even after I posed this question last week to Microsoft boss Bill Gates, "Is computer science education dead". Quite timely indeed even after I said something to my Associate Director here at school on Friday about how frustrated I am teaching AP Computer Science and that when our school hires another Computer Science Teacher next ......

Posted On Monday, March 19, 2007 9:32 AM

How to ask a billionaire a question....
At the Microsoft MVP summit today, Bill Gates gave the keynote to 1800 MVP award recipients from all over the world. Before the session, many people were already in line. My thoughts were to eat breakfast fast and then get in line to get a good seat. In line it was a great experience for me to be able to be with people from all over the world. In front of me were a group from Brazil and they have a great sense of humor even though I had no clue what they were speaking in Portugese. To my right side ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 13, 2007 6:25 PM

Microsoft Prize of $10,000 to Promote Xbox Games FYI
By SETH SCHIESEL Reaching out to millions of aspiring game developers around the world, Microsoft plans today to announce a contest that will award $10,000 and the opportunity to entice millions of eyeballs to the next great digital diversion for the company’s Xbox 360. In addition to the game console’s snazzy graphics, the Xbox Live online service has been the most important component of the Xbox 360’s success since its debut in 2005. And perhaps the most popular aspect of Xbox Live has been the ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 6, 2007 9:37 AM

AHOY! Getting ready for Microsoft Academic Days on Game Development
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 ......

Posted On Sunday, February 18, 2007 10:23 AM

Otronicon is coming to Orlando
(O)rlando Elec(tron)ic (I)nteractive Entertainment (Con)vention will be at the Orlando Science Center for ten days. OTRONICON brings together the entertaining world of consumer video games with a behind-the-scenes view of the art, technology and science that form the foundation and the future of both the videogame and simulation industries. Families and individuals of all ages will have a tremendous range of places and opportunities to explore. There will be old school games and new ones displayed ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 9, 2007 9:15 AM

New Semester coming up, New Ideas...
The 2nd semester of the school year starts next week after a two week hiatus to rest, relax, and be with family. Most of my classes are semester long classes so I get a chance to meet new students when I go back to school next week. My AP students will be the same and there's always pressure with that class to meet the goals of the AP curriculum and prepare them for the AP exam in early May. They have much more to learn in OOP like inheritance, polymorphism, and they need to learn about recursion ......

Posted On Saturday, January 6, 2007 7:16 AM

Great list of Gaming Books
I came across a great list of gaming books that should be of interest to anyone that wants to learn more about the industry. Here are the categories: Theory Design Practice Writing Graphic Design Music / Audio Online Community The History of Games Sociology People, Projects, and Businesses Other Media and Useful Disciplines Deep Background Inspirations The list is compiled by a game designer and author Ernest Adams. The first book that I want to take a look at is Fundamentals of Game Design, by Ernest ......

Posted On Saturday, December 23, 2006 2:45 PM

Vista is coming to Orlando
Well Joe Healy from Microsoft will be coming to our annual Tech night to talk about Cool Features of Vista to our students and parents. Joe will be bringing an XBOX 360 to donate as a doorprize as well. Thanks Joe for participating.

Posted On Monday, October 16, 2006 7:49 AM

LHPS Annual Tech night planned
For the past several years, the Lake Highland Upper School Computer Science Department has sponsored a Tech night for students and parents. In the past, we have had some very good speakers and a good crowd as well. This year we plan on having our tech night on Thursday, January 25th and we have an outstanding speaker as well. Tom Carbone who is the Technical Director for the Florida Interactive Academy , Orlando, FL, will be our speaker. His talk will be about how Math & Science are used to create ......

Posted On Tuesday, October 10, 2006 8:34 AM

Getting ready for XNA Programming
I have posted a new page on my website at sws.lhps.org. The page is called XNA Development for students. On the page will be assignments that my students will be working on along with links to terrific XNA sites. I'm optimitic that my students can continue their learning in the AP class and juggle learning XNA as well. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist? I'll be blogging later.

Posted On Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:31 AM

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