Microsoft believes fervently in the promise of technology. It only follows that we have great interest in inspiring the next generation of computer scientists who will be technology leaders of tomorrow—possibly even as Microsoft employees. So it’s no surprise that Microsoft is a major supporter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education—better known by its initials, ACM SIGCSE—and was a Platinum Plus sponsor of SIGCSE 2012, this year’s installment of the annual international symposium for computer science educators.
The conference brings together colleagues from around the world to address problems common among educators who work to develop, implement, or evaluate computing programs, curricula, and courses. Held in Raleigh, North Carolina, from February 29 to March 3, SIGCSE 2012 provided a forum for sharing new ideas for syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy, at all levels of instruction. This year’s theme was “Teaching, Learning, and Collaborating.”
Microsoft’s commitment to computer science education was amply displayed, as Microsoft technologies were featured in five different sessions at the conference. These included teaching programming with Windows Phone, using Kinect as a learning device, and teaching cloud computing using Windows Azure.
A constant stream of visitors was drawn to the Microsoft demo booth by the company’s offerings in classroom technologies and resources. Visitors also had an opportunity to win Windows Phones, Kinect sensors, .NET Gadgeteer, and books related to programming through a drawing. Various academic programs and technologies were exhibited at the demo booth, including: TouchDevelop, a novel software development environment that lets users write programs for the Windows Phone directly on the smartphone itself without the need of a separate PC; .NET Gadgeteer, an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio Express; Project Hawaii, a cloud-enabled mobile computing platform for Windows Phone; Kodu, a visual programming language made specifically for creating games; Pex4fun, bringing the fun back to programming by using games; TryF# for teaching and experiencing functional programming in the web browser; and academic programs such as Imagine Cup and Faculty Connection.