Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Microsoft Tools for the Computer Science classroom

Last week while attending CSTA 2016 I learned about several computer science tools for my classroom. I have been teaching how to use Microsoft Office tools since 2005.  In a time when several resources are free I have not backed down on the use of Microsoft Office in the classroom or its viability in the workplace.  And now Microsoft Office is free for students with a .edu email address. Although our school district’s one-to-one initiative includes Chromebooks and the software of choice includes Google Drive and Chrome Apps, I still make the effort to use Microsoft Office Software in my classroom lab.  My Software Applications course is a tagged course in the Ohio transfer module and I teach it at the high school for college credit.  But up until now that is all I used Microsoft tools for, office productivity.  The office productivity skills are wide with Microsoft Office as you can start at presentations, documents and spreadsheets, then incorporate formulas, and macros in common Office products and even SQL statements in Access.

What I didn’t realize is the software available for my computer science course specifically.
Visual Studio Community – an IDE for creating modern applications for Windows, Android, and iOS, as well as web applications and cloud services all for FREE.

Xamarin – ability to deliver native Android, iOS, and Windows apps, with a single shared C# codebase.

Azure - a collection of cloud services including analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web. I found a fun looking contest for students to learn more about using Azure.

Additionally, if you want to learn more about the software products or software development as a teacher, professional, or for your CS50 final project?  There’s a class for that.  Microsoft offers free courses at Microsoft Virtual Academy, via Edx.org, and at Channel 9.

I’m looking forward to growing my skills and offering new tools for my students that I can see them using outside of the classroom.  Who knows, after a few more Edx.org courses I might be on my way to the new Microsoft Professional Degree.

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