What would you (as a teacher) like to see in Visual Studio?

I’ve been asked to get input from teachers as to what features would make Visual Studio more useful or easy to use in the classroom. If you are a teacher (at any level) and teach programming I would love to hear your ideas of ways that an IDE could make your life better and teaching easier. Please leave a comment. And feel free to ask other teachers for their ideas.

– Alfred

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Comments (5)

  1. Scott says:

    Im not a teacher, but one thing it seems would be helpful for teachers would be something similar to display "profiles", because when you are projecting onto a big screen you would like your font to be bigger, colors different perhaps, etc. Also, being able to set font sizes for intellisense and tooltips.

  2. Ron McMahon says:

    As a tutor, I would like to see something that can be used to teach the fundamental concepts of computer programming to elementary-age children. Unfortunately, Visual Studio is far too complex to be used as a solution for children in grade 2-5. In my opinion, even Classic VB is too much (and I’ve been a full-time VB developer for the last 12 years). I guess what I’d like to see is something that harkens back to the very simplistic interaction that was provided by early LOGO language environments on the old 8-bit computers (like the ATARI 400/800 systems, circa 1982) Those simple interfaces gave children the opportunity to experience controlling what a computer did without much more than the implementation of a couple of commands. It was an excellent way to demonstrate the cause and effect of a computer program and procedural ‘programming’ while giving a child a direct experience of a graphical reaction to a command. (often the movement of a turtle around a screen)

    For all of the early hype around VS 1.0 and the claimed 20+ languages that were being developed for the CLR, I’m still waiting for a solution that provides the direct power and syntax simplicity of LOGO of the early 1980s. Until I find something like that, the experience of computer programming will not be available to elementary children.

  3. Gabe says:

    How about a Mac version? A significant number of schools use Macs exclusively in classrooms. Even if a school is all-Windows, many students will have Macs at home, making it impossible for them to do homework.

    I will also echo Ron’s sentiment about a lack of decent elementary languages. There is no good language that lets you learn programming unless you already know all about programming concepts. For example, you can’t type any code in VB unless you first know what namespaces, classes, and functions are. I guess I’m looking for a non-visual BASIC. A kid should be able to sit at a blank screen, type ‘PRINT "Hello!"’, click Run, and have something happen. I would like to be able to sit a 7-year-old in front of the computer, let them hit random keys, and have Intellisense tell them what’s possible. Also, it has to be easy to get results, so simple graphics and sound have to be available without understanding advanced concepts like a "sound object" or "member notation". The language must allow these concepts to be introduced gradually, so that a student can learn basic linear procedural programming, then if-statements, then loops, then functions, then classes.

  4. Bif says:

    I’d like to see an installation that doesn’t add 1 GB of information to the registry.

    I use a superior IDE called eclipse, not that bastardized version of J++ "got sued so now we can’t screw with Sun" version.

    Microsoft is the enemy.

  5. AlfredTh says:

    The Express editions for Visual Studio .NET 2005 are a much smaller "footprint" already so we have gotten that message.