Tag: computer science

CSTA’s 2015 Annual Conference is Drawing Near


DFS

With the Computer Science Teachers Association’s annual conference coming up in July there are a few things we thought you should know now that we’ve sprung into spring and we’re less than two months away:

– Several workshops are at, or nearing capacity

– There will be NO onsite registration for workshops, so if you are interested you must sign up online in advance

– Housing reservations close on: June 17

– The online registration deadline is drawing near: June 26

– We will be providing workshop and conference certificates for CEU’s (check with your state board for regulations/requirements)

The bottom line is, we don’t want you to put off registering any longer. This year is sure to be amazingly, wonderful, and memorable. Please come join us at DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas, July 12-14. http://www.cstaconference.org

If you have any questions, please contact Tiffany Nash at: t.nash@csta-hq.org.

Advertisements

My Own Flappy Bird


Like most people, I think, I was curious about Flappy Bird when I read about the success that the developer had with it but more importantly, the $50,000 a day that he was reportedly making from it.  I downloaded the app and played with it for a bit and got a bit frustrated trying to get a 1 for a score and so deleted it.  I don’t have time to master this nonsense.

Then I read that Flappy Bird was going to be pulled from the application stores, never to return.  I figured that this was either an indication that he’d made a gazillion dollars and just didn’t want to support it going forward.  After all, nothing succeeds like success.  Score 1 for me, Brandon.  The other option was that this was some ploy to get a lot of downloads in a hurry.  I figured that I’d help the cause.  I might never play it again but at least I’d have a little bit of history.  So, I downloaded it again.  Add two downloads to the big total for me.

Bored one afternoon, I figured it was about time that I mastered it.  I got up to 3.  Grrrr.  When I read that a friend of mine’s daughter had a pretty good score, I realized that I just wasn’t cut out for flapping.

On the UK Microsoft blog, there was a post to promote the UK Hour of Code.  It was titled “All in a Flap – How to create your very own Flappy Bird clone (Guest Post)”.  Now, there were warnings that people were posting malware in their own clones of Flappy Bird but here was the opportunity to write your own.  I wondered…

  • how would this play out for the classroom?
  • here was a chance to do something significant with Microsoft’s TouchDevelop code

The next step was predictable.  I sat down to work my way through the tutorial to see what I could do.

The tutorial was laid out in the form of a series of challenges.  Note the stars below.  Each is awarded at the end of the completion of a step.  Off I went.

greatjob

The development environment, with overlaid tutorial, is interesting.  Everything is designed to be tapped on to insert or edit your code as you go.  For this ol’ coder, the urge to use my keyboard was there.  However, I quickly boxed myself into a corner – the tutorial really was written for touch – so I gave in.  After a while, you just get used to it!  It’s not bad once you get the knack of it.  I did want to make my game a little different so instead of the suggested bat, I decided to flap with an orange.   It just didn’t cut it so I did go back and edit out the orange and replaced it with the bat.  The results made much more sense!

board

All along the way, there is a dialog to explain what would be done next.  You’re really stepping through the code development nicely.  Nothing is given to you – you have to add and edit everything.  I will admit to getting a bit frustrated but got over it in a hurry.  Once I decided to go with the mouse clicks to do the selection and editing, development moved along fairly nicely.  The only new challenge was when the desired action was on the next page of instructions.  Again, I got over that with a little patience.

The ongoing tutorial really did explain things nicely.  That will make it definitely easier to go back and modify the code afterwards.

instructions

When you’re done, it’s interesting to take a look at the code.  Having paid attention to the tutorial as I went along definitely made it easier to go back and modify the script to see what I could do to break a well put together program.   Selecting a line of code gets you back to the editing instructions.  The only thing missing was creating your own comments inline.

code

As you can see, I went with a desert theme.

desert

You’re prompted as you go to log in to save your code.  That’s always good advice.  It also gives you the ability to publish your code as an application from the web.

All in all, it was an interesting activity.  I started with the end in mind and just kept going.  Once completed, the real fun was in going through the code to see how it was developed and then modify it for my own fun and enjoyment.

You can’t beat writing your own game where you make your own rules and make things easy enough to get a high score.  I think I’m at 5.

Hour of Code Resources


As I noted in yesterday’s post, I hope that classrooms continue to incorporate coding into learning activities.  There are so many benefits and anyone with any kind of crystal ball can only see that the importance of being able to take control of one’s sure isn’t going to decrease.

To aid the cause, I have created a Pearltree of Resource for the Hour of Code.  There have been so many blog posts, newspaper articles, and class pages devoted for the advocation and sharing of successes.

I tried to focus on just the classroom room resources that one could use.  There were many developed and I’m not naive enough to say that this is the definitive list.  However, I am bold enough to say that this is a great place to start!

coding

You can access the Pearltree here.  Alternatively, I created a Learnist board with the same materials.

If you know of a resource that should be included, please let me know the resource.  I’d be happy to add it.

What Will You Do Now?


Last week was Computer Science Education Week.

Many people were involved with the Hour of Code.

If you read the blogs and stories that permeated the media, you’ll know

  • kids had a whale of a time;
  • teachers hopefully made the connections between coding and their regular curriculum;

For me, I enjoyed the Angry Birds activity from Code.org

I downloaded and really enjoyed Codecademy’s iOS app.

But, I wonder.  Are things done until there’s a similar push next year?

I sure hope not.

Hopefully, students and teachers have seen the benefits of coding.  Hopefully, school administrators will be supportive of more coding initiatives within their schools.  Hopefully, schools and school districts will recognize the need for solid professional learning opportunities for teachers.  One excellent opportunity is the CSTA’s Annual Conference.  This year’s event will be held in St. Charles, IL, July 14 and 15, 2014.

Let’s hope that people find a way to keep the momentum.  Search and bookmark Hour of Code Resources.  There’s a great deal just waiting to be used.

Why Coding?


If you do a great deal of reading online, you’ll have discovered a great deal of messages about the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week.  It seems like a great movement to expose all students to just what coding is all about and perhaps to inspire the next generation of computer scientists.

One article that I read stood out: No, Mr. President, Not Everyone Needs to Learn How to Code.

With all of the good news stories about coding activities happening in classrooms, I was drawn to this to investigate the other side.  The article tries to draw the intention from the US President’s statements and does offer some realistic conclusions.

As every computer science teacher will tell you, not every student in any computer science class will go on to write the next big Angry Birds program.  But, increasingly, the underpinnings of computer science take on importance for just surviving and staying on top of things in a technology driven world.  The Ontario Ministry of Education has a terrific curriculum here.  As well, in Ontario, the Association for Computer Studies Educators continues the process of ongoing professional learning among its members.

Pat Yongpradit, now at code.org shared some good news with me yesterday.

While I personally would like to see all students as programmers, and I’ve been a long time advocate that every student take at least one course in computer studies, it still isn’t a reality.  If it would only be acknowledged, that there’s much more that follows a student when she/he exits a computer studies course.  It’s an understanding that she/he can become a master of their devices and don’t have to rely on someone else for assistance.  I’d like to offer three experiences that could have been averted with some understanding of how computers and computing devices work.

Recently, I was at a food court in a shopping centre.  I wasn’t deliberately trying to eavesdrop on the teenagers next to me but you couldn’t help but hear the conversation if you were within 10 metres of them, it was so loud.  It went something like this.

  • She:  I don’t have an iPhone, I had an Android but there has to be a Settings icon
  • He:  There isn’t one.
  • She:  Yes, you have to be able to configure it somehow.
  • He:  Here – you do it then – you took computer science

and then he slide his phone across the table to her.  (I left out some of the more colourful language).  She got it and tap, tap, tap – problem solved.  Then she explained why he needed a password on his phone.  He didn’t totally get it, but she did.

This happened a while ago.  I got a phone call from a teacher in the evening.  Dreamweaver was big at the time, being Ministry of Education licensed with teacher takehome rights, and she had asked her friend for a copy to install it.  She couldn’t get it to install.

  • She:  Well, I got it from #####.  She knows computers and says that it will work for me.
  • Me:  OK, when you put the CD in the drive, what happens?
  • She:  Nothing.
  • Me:  OK, eject the CD, make sure the coloured side is up and try again.
  • She:  Nothing.
  • Me:  What colour is the CD?
  • She:  Blue.
  • Me:  What kind of computer do you have?
  • She:  A Mac
  • Me:  You’ve got the Windows version of the software.  You’ll need to ask for the Mac version.
  • She:  But ##### said it would work.
  • Me:  Well, it won’t.  You’ll need to get the right version
  • She:  #$*&#$!$^ Well, you’re just wrong.  Click!

I did contact ##### the next day and got the right copy and things got straightened away.

The third example is one that I think everyone can deal with.  There’s nothing that tests your mettle more than configuring a printer, a mouse, or anything bluetooth / wireless.  It’s that conceptual understanding of just what’s happening that can be so difficult.  Depending upon the course in computer studies, you’ll have the opportunity to build a computer, or replace a card, or attach to a wireless network, or program a robot, or write a piece of code to make that silly inanimate object do your bidding.

You do have to feel sorry for those of us who struggle just to stay even.  Technology continues to get more sophisticated and there is a desire to get the most from the device that you’ve paid so much to acquire.  With all this sophistication comes a need to just get your head around what is happening.  There’s where coding comes to the rescue.  It’s more than understanding a language or languages.  It goes to the fact that you can be in control of the device.  You can make it do what you need it to.  You are the master of it.

Given that as the ultimate goal – doesn’t it make sense that all students have experience coding?

 

Textbooks


On Sunday, I added another to my series of interviews.  This time, I was fortunate to be able to interview Alfred Thompson.  If you haven’t read it, I would like to recommend that you do so.  He’s an interesting guy.

One of the questions that I asked was what was his favourite computer science textbook.  This has always been a flash point for me.  Schools seem to be able to find money for the latest mathematics or language textbooks but optional courses don’t fare as well.  Alfred’s recommendation was Rob Miles‘ C# Yellow Book.  If you’re visiting this and are a Computer Science teacher, follow the link and see what you think.

As I was preparing for my interview and came across that question, I wondered to myself what my answer would have been.  It brought back all kinds of memories as a Computer Science teacher, and before that, as a Data Processing teacher.

When I got my first job, I taught Data Processing and was part of the Business Education department.  I had a full schedule of Data Processing from Grade 10-12 and inherited the choice of textbooks that I think were probably very common throughout the province.  In Grade 10, we taught a lower level language designed to teach the elements of computer architecture like registers and absolute memory locations.  In Grade 11 and 12, students could continue their studies and Fortran was the language of choice in both Data Processing and Computer Science.  Often, students would take both courses and so a very necessary approach was to change the type of problem that was offered.  This was long before a curriculum was available from the Ministry but I think we did a very good job of providing problems that were applicable to Business and then Mathematics/Science.  But the thing that got me was that this was the same book that I used in my own high school experience!  It was more about teaching the language and consequently I was constantly creating my own problems for students to solve.  Thankfully, four years of university had provided me with all kinds of ideas that were melded to fit secondary school aged students appropriately.

So why this shaggy dog story?  It was a few years later, and I ended up teaching both courses.  By that time, we had chosen completely different programming languages.  the Data Processing class was using BASIC and the Computer Science class, Pascal.  Now, with all the programming languages that I’ve used, I’d never experienced Pascal.  I had two months to learn it!  Unlike now where I’d just head over to YouTube, I decided to buy a book.  It turns out that this was the best thing I’d ever done.  Not only did I learn how to program in Pascal, I changed my entire approach to teaching programming.  The book, Oh! Pascal! did it for me.  Very early in the book, I got it.  While I had been paying lip service to teaching “problem solving” instead of teaching “the language”, this book changed everything.  We weren’t preparing the kids for the language that they would use at university; we should be teaching them to solve problems so that they could use whatever language that they had to use.  And, stop taking yourself so seriously – make programming fun, tell stories, laugh at yourself.  If you’re programming in Pascal, or hopefully Delphi, or actually anything, see if you can lay your hands on a copy of this book.  You won’t regret it.

Later, much later, languages are experimented with and dropped/kept as great teachers within our district tried to stay on top of an ever moving target.  As Alfred notes in the interview, often you’re running just to avoid losing ground.  I was no longer in the classroom but working as the computer consultant at the board office and we’re doing an introspective look at what the courses might offer.  At the time, Holt Software was big in the province.  I worked quite frequently with Tom West (whose wife is a very interesting Sci-Fi author) and Chris Stephenson and they were always helping us with professional learning.  We had elected to license Turing as our introductory programming language and Java for the older grades.

Now, for those of us new to Java, this was quite a challenge.  The BASIC -> Java path was very slippery.  Fortunately, Holt Software had a publication that had us covered.  “The ‘Don’t Panic’ Guide to Programming in Java”  Again, it’s not really a textbook but more of a conversational approach to learning to program.  It made the hurdle of going from nothing to running with Java relatively easy.

Unlike the traditional textbook, computer science textbooks are different.  They recognize that not everything may be linear for student (and often teacher) learning.  Choosing the right resource is very important.

If you’re a computer science teacher reading this post, let me ask you the same question I asked Alfred.  What’s your favourite computer science textbook?  Or, do you even use a computer science textbook?

If you’re not a computer science teacher but have hung around enough to reach the bottom of this post — have you ever used a resource that changed your approach to teaching?  What was it and how did it make that change?

An Interview with Alfred Thompson


I’ve known Alfred Thompson for a few years now. We met at a Computer Science Teachers’ Association Conference a few years ago where one or both of us were speaking. We’ve also served on the Computer Science Teachers’ Association (CSTA) Conference organizing committee. At the time, Alfred was the K-12 Computer Science Academic Developer Evangelist for Microsoft. Our paths have crossed at various professional learning events since then and it’s always a pleasure to catch up and have a chat.  Alfred is one of those celebrities at a computer science event.  He’s immediately recognizable and typically has a group of people around him who just want to talk computer science.

I was delighted that he was able to take sometime for this interview.

Doug: Thanks for giving me the time for the interview, Alfred. I appreciate it. My mind is indeed fuzzy, do you recall exactly where we first met? I know that we had “met” online on Twitter long before our first face to face meeting.

Alfred: That is a tough one actually. Seems like we’ve known each other for a very long time. It was probably at a CSTA event, one of the annual conferences I think.

Doug: Before we start, let’s address the rumour – did you and Bill Gates leave Microsoft on the same day?

Alfred: No we didn’t. Bill actually retired a while before I left. He’s still active on the Board of Directors and I don’t have any official ties with Microsoft at all. I do still have many wonderful friends who work there though.

Doug: And, tell us what’s the deal with your signature hat?alfred-avatar

Alfred: I decided a while ago that I was tired of baseball caps but that I still needed protection for my head from the sun and the cold. I found that hat in an airport store in Austin TX on my way home from a TCEA (Texas Computer Educators Association) conference and liked it. Sometime later Ken Royal (@KenRoyal on Twitter) took my picture wearing it at another conference. I used it as an avatar for something and wound up using it in other places as well because I didn’t have a good “head shot” to use. I actually have a lot of hats that I wear during the year but that particular hat has become a sort of trademark and is how many people recognize me. So I wear it to conferences and other events to make it easy for people to find me. I bought a new, identical hat because the original one is showing some character.

Doug: If I was to do a technology inventory at the Thompson household, what would I find?

Alfred: I have two laptops (one mine and one my school’s). My wife has a desktop computer and a Microsoft Surface RT. Only the school laptop is not running Windows 8. There is an iPad Mini I picked up to broaden my horizons. I carry a Windows Phone and my wife has an iPhone which may make us a mixed marriage. And of course some video games consoles – a Wii and an Xbox 360. And several Kindles. I love reading on my Kindle which actually surprised me.

Doug: During your time at Microsoft, you did a great deal of travelling to speak to educators. Was there one event that specifically stands out in your memory?

Alfred: Probably the best was the opportunity to work with a program at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City. I helped put together a curriculum and train some student teachers to present a programming course to students in their summer program for high school students from around that state. The students were there for a summer enrichment program. Most of the students were from First Nations communities which often lack modern technology. I was able to travel there to see their projects at the end of the program which was quite a treat.

Doug: And for those days that you had to work “at the office”, where was “the office”?

Alfred: For nine years my “Office” was a room set up in my house. It was nice not to have a commute but it did require some discipline. Surprisingly the discipline was required more to stop working at the end of the day rather than getting started. I really enjoyed working with educators all over the country. And Canada even though that was not supposed to be part of my job.

Doug: You introduced me to some very impressive educators over the years that we’ve known each other. The most memorable time was the Partners in Learning Event in Washington. What was your involvement with that?

Alfred: Partners in Learning was and is run by a completely different part of Microsoft than I was working for so my involvement with them was more a relationship based on mutual interest in education than an official part of my job. I love what they are doing to recognize and connect innovative educators in many disciplines of education. A lot of computer science educators, which was my focus at Microsoft, are very innovative so I encouraged (and still do) CS educators to be involved in Partners in Learning programs. I was a judge for one US event which was an outstanding experience for me. I also attended a number of their events through which I meet some people who have become real friends.

Doug: It is so humbling to see teachers who are able to develop at that level. How does a teacher team work their way through the masses to get an invitation to get there?

Alfred: Many of the most impressive projects expand learning beyond the walls of the classroom. In one case, an elementary school class in the US met regularly via Skype with a similar age group class in China. Other projects involved students in service projects, to the school or the community, that not only involved learning but putting knowledge to practical use. Others are multi disciplinary involving teachers who teach different subjects in ways that show students how things are connected. The projects that move all the way to the international events all involved students doing things that make others say “I had no idea students could do such things.”

Doug: What sorts of things in the K-12 classroom were you most proud/excited to support?

Alfred: In my role at Microsoft I was able to provide professional level software to many classrooms who often would not have been able to afford it. Teachers took advantage of that software, and curriculum resources I could also make available, to teach students serious computer science. I worked with a lot of career technical schools who don’t always get the attention that prestigious college prep high schools get. In fact though they often have great CS programs that reach students that traditional schools don’t always serve well.

Doug: You’re now a computer science teacher at Bishop Guertin High School where they offer the following programs.

  • Advanced Placement Computer Science – AP
  • Explorations in Computer Science
  • Honors Programming
  • Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Multimedia Applications – College
  • Publications/Yearbook – College

Which of these courses do you teach personally?

Alfred: I’m teaching the Explorations in Computer Science and Honors Programming as well as the Yearbook course. We have 10 sections of the Exploring CS course and two of us split them. I have taught AP CS in the past.

Doug: That is a great deal of Computer Science.  Congratulations.  Many schools would love to have those numbers.  Does Robotics have a place at Bishop Guertin?

Alfred: Bishop Guertin has a wonderful FIRST Robotics team (Team 811) which I helped start when I was teaching here before working for Microsoft. The other computer science teacher runs it these days. We’d love to fit more of it the curriculum but that can be difficult as our students have very full schedules. I’m particularly proud that the team regularly is awarded for its sportsmanship.

Doug: How many students from Bishop Guertin go on to pursue further studies in Computer Science? Do they attend local universities or are they adventurous and head in different directions?

Alfred: We do have a good number of students go on to study Computer Science. A recruiter from one engineering university said they’d like to have as many students as we could send them. So they do well. Our graduates go all over. Some do stay local which makes sense as there are some great schools fairly local (Harvard and MIT to name two). Others travel all over the US and beyond. One of my students went to York University some years ago and studied Computer Science there. He has dual US and Canadian citizenship which made that a good move for him.

Doug: A popular feature at the CSTA Conference the past couple of years has been the developers smackdown. 15 minutes to develop the same app in iOS, Android, and Windows. You’ve been the Windows developer. Do you develop mobile apps with your students?

Alfred: I’m hoping to develop mobile apps with my students this year. There are so many platforms and students have something of everything so that can be complex to do well. I’m also planning on having my students program for the Kinect Sensor. It’s something different that I hope will have them thinking out of the box.

Alfred and team just before their presentation at CSTA13 in Quincy, MA

Doug: I know that you’ve written a number of Computer Science textbooks so let’s exclude those from this question – what’s the best Computer Science textbook that you’ve encountered? Why?

Alfred: I’m using Rob Miles C# Yellow Book as a supplemental resource for my Honors Programming course. Rob and I have known each other for a number of years over the Internet but have met in person only once. He and I have a similar sense of humor and writing style and I like his books.

Doug: Does Bishop Guertin use cloud based storage? Whose?

Alfred: As a school we don’t use Google Apps for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 at this time. We’ve long had a good in-house IT team and so have a sort of local cloud. Student work is stored on a group of network drives that they have access to anywhere in the building. They don’t have access from outside the building which is something I want to look into changing. On the other had we do have a cloud based student information system that supports handing in assignments from anywhere as well as access to assignments and supporting resources. I’d say we’re about half way to a true cloud environment.

Doug: Is this truly the future for education and elsewhere that so many are predicting?

Alfred: I think so. Education is growing more collaborative and the cloud really supports that. These days I do some consulting on the side and my projects all involve sharing either on Google Docs or Microsoft’s Skydrive. We need to prepare students for that future. More importantly though, the cloud supports anywhere anytime learning. For example my students can go online and get copies of all my PowerPoint decks, view videos I have recorded or that other people have recorded, and much more. At my school if we can’t have school because of snow or other issues, we can and do assign work via the cloud. Students do the work at home and submit it on the cloud. We don’t lose days because of snow anymore.

Doug: If a student had an interview with you and asked “Mr. Thompson, what computer programming languages should I learn?”, what advice would you give?

Alfred: I’d say learn as many as possible. There really is no one right language. JavaScript is growing for Internet development. A C-family language like Java or C# is important. I would also encourage students to learn a procedural language like Scheme/Racket or F# because those types languages are growing in popularity especially in financial applications. Any particular language they learn in secondary school will be changed by the time they complete university so concepts are more important than specific languages.

Doug: Let’s get back to the classroom. Long time computer educators like us did our job without models like SAMR and TPACK to guide us. Did we not push students to high enough levels?

Alfred: It depends on the teacher to some extent. I think that models can help but if the teacher is not ready to push the student they are not going to. On the other hand a well prepared teacher is going to push as hard/far as they can get away with regardless or model or not.

Doug: Every time I share a story about collaboration or project-based learning or theories, one of my Twitter followers is quick to note that it’s got an elementary school focus to it. Why don’t middle or high school teachers report and publish their successes?

Alfred: I wonder about that myself. There may be something about the elementary school culture that just encourages sharing among teachers. On the other hand middle and high school teachers are being pushed so very hard to have students master standardized tests that many of them fear to try too many new and untested methods. Administrators are not always encouraging either. Doing truly innovative work takes a lot of time as well. In technology, things keep changing so fast that many educators are running as fast as they can to stay in place. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to writing papers, submitting proposals or preparing talks.

Doug: You continue to blog regularly. What’s your inspiration to continue to do that these days?

Alfred: I joke that I am incapable of keeping my ideas to myself. Seriously though, when I have or more often run into an interesting idea, I feel compelled to share it. Blogging also gives me a good chance to organize my thoughts. Comments are a bonus as well. I learn a lot from the people who leave comments on my posts.

Doug: Tell us about your “Interesting Links” post that appears on Monday morning. How does something make that list and how do you keep track from one week to the next?

Alfred: I’ve always tried to record things I run into during the week that may or may not be enough for a full blog post. One day I realized that I was tweeting a lot of things that I used to keep on a list. So I started reviewing the tweets I had made over the previous week and pulling out the things that I thought had lasting value. Things that make the list are often resources of some sort that I think teachers can use, interesting news stories or studies that offer educational insights, or blog posts by people I read that have ideas worth sharing. I include a lot of links to other people’s blog posts on Monday posts. I feel that sharing links to others is a good way to support and build a larger community of educators.

Doug: Since you’ve been a long time blogger, do you ever see yourself stopping? If you did, would you replace it with some other activity?

Alfred: I get occasional bouts of nothing to say and I wonder if I’ve said all I have to say. This seldom lasts very long. If I stopped blogging I would probably have to find some activity to replace it. I have no idea what that would be though.

Doug: You’re active on both Twitter and Facebook. Lately, you seem to be more present on Facebook. Is that by design?

Alfred: It’s not by design. I am not sure why I have been less active on Twitter lately but I feel like I am missing something. Facebook tends to be more about friends and family and Twitter more about “professional” which for me means education in general and CS education in particular. Teaching has changed my focus a bit in terms of how I spend my time so my balance is adjusting. I expect the balance to ebb and flow over time though.

Doug: I can’t let you go without giving me some computer advice. My PC is a Sony Vaio about three years old – it has an i7 processor with 8 cores and I’m running dual boot Windows 7 / Ubuntu. Should I upgrade to Windows 8? What would I gain?

Alfred: Windows 8 would probably boot and run faster than Windows 7. Microsoft is getting more secure in each version of Windows as well. Windows 8 really has two user interfaces – traditional and “modern” or “Windows Store.” The new interface is optimized for touch and I don’t find myself using it that much except on touch screens. As I switch between Windows 7 and Windows 8 laptops I do notice better performance on Windows 8. On a touch device I would definitely upgrade to Windows 8. The decision is not so clear on a traditional laptop.

Doug: Again, I really would like to thank you for your time for this interview. I also look forward to meeting up in St. Joseph’s at the 2014 CSTA Conference.

You can follow or continue to follow Alfred on Twitter (@alfredtwo) or on Facebook. He blogs regularly at http://blog.acthompson.net/.