Hello World or Thank You Alfred Thompson

How it all began….

It must have been 2008. A year before that, I had been given the news that 50% of my music teaching load was being cut due to the economic crisis. My assistant principal offered me a drafting class. I said I can’t draw stick figures. What can you do? Well, I have a BS in Computer Science. Great, we will give you one computer science class.

So I taught Visual Basic for a year.. on thin clients.. which is a story for another blog post.

A year later, I was asked to take over the entire computer science department. In one class. Yes, one class. Computer Science 1, 2 and AP Computer Science A all in one class. Finding an older computer in the communal garbage of my apartment complex, I created a Linux server and my students learned old school vi, C and Java. Something else for another blog post to come.

But I needed something with more pizzazz, especially since students were used to playing video games in class. Enter Alfred Thompson’s blog. Everyone blogs in 2020 (some might even call it old fashioned) but Alfred’s blog was a lifeline for Computer Science teachers everywhere back then. No Facebook Groups, Twitter was two years old, a few mailing lists existed (I still miss the grand old AP CS A list), but not much else.

I was able to get more robust computers and, through Alfred, I found both XNA and a wonderful, free at the time thanks to Microsoft, book by Rob Miles. The students fell in love with creating, rather than playing, video games, and the program grew over the next few years to be over 200 students strong. Thus would begin my journey towards becoming a full time Computer Science teacher.

Alfred retired this last school year and I had hoped to do something at CSTA in summer to honor him. Alas, the pandemic has made that impossible, but I finally realized how to properly honor him, thank him, and maybe even continue on his legacy.

Welcome to my blog.

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