Internship Reflection Week of 2012-01-30 [23] (Visual Studio, AIE, TESC)

Spent a lot of time last week and this week getting Visual Studio (via DreamSpark) installed on machines in the media lab.  That exercise will help us be prepared for the Computer Game Design elective start which will use that room.  And it turns out that getting Visual Studio was very timely, because when students came back from the field trip the Academy for Interactive Entertainment (AIE) they were very eager to start learning C# or other programming.

The AIE ( folks gave us a great presentation on computer game industry and what to do at each level of high school in order to some day be successful in their program or in the industry.  The speakers were Dr. Earhardt (director, and veteran game producer) and another professor.  I learned that the game industry shows no sign of slowing down, and that the game-player we should all be designing for are 20-30-something soccer moms.

One Big Picture student, KE, was so excited when he got back from AIE that he wrote his first computer program ever this week.  In addition he shows no signs of stopping as he devours new concepts and enjoys seeing his ability to control the computer grow.  I have to say that has been a pretty amazing.

I also finally learned why the Academy of Interactive Entertainment has a campus in Lafayette Louisiana.  It turns out that many of the major studios have shops there and that many movies can actually be filmed in Louisiana.

Taking three students and college admissions counselor to The Evergreen State College was also quite an experience.  One student in particular, SD, is making TESC his first choice so he was quite excited to get an official tour.  I also took the opportunity to show this group around Olympia, since I went to high school there.

Since that was my second or third college field trip, I got a chance to reflect on the difference between work-site field trips and college field trips.  Both seem to have an extremely motivating impact on students, but also somewhat polarizing.  For instance a student that before the trip was ambivalent toward the college, either came back really excited to pursue that option or definitely decided against that school in particular.

I really appreciate the chance to drive the vans.  Since there is a shortage of people at the school that have clearance from the district to drive, my skills are in demand.  However, I with Dan’s (mentor teacher’s) caution against volunteering too much for those activities.  The benefits of driving are that I get to talk to students and staff in some depth, the disadvantages of driving are that I was pretty much not engaged with any other students for a whole day.  On this day in particular I, as I had to get to SPU for evening classes, I realized that I had spent about 2-3 hours in the car today.

Finally on Friday there were two special events.  First, I attended a guest presentation of the group Red Eagle Soaring which was coming by to meet students in Big Pictures Native Student Association.  Second, I attended an all school assembly called a Send-Me-Off where announcements are made, and demonstrations of student projects and interests.

Rough Timeline (no need to evaluate)

Monday (1/30):  milk carton collection continues, KN presentation on Worms, Helping out in 7th grade math, covering for Stan absence in his advisory

Tuesday (1/31):  field trip to Academy for Interactive Entertainment which is located in the Seattle Center House 4th floor.  Dan and I each drove a van, so we had a full crew.  Students were very excited upon return to campus.

Wednesday (2/1):  very early start to the day in order to get the van and drive some students down to The Evergreen State College in Olympia.  Here is Malini and three of our students in front of the native longhouse on the campus of TESC.


Thursday (2/2):  special teams meeting led by Dan.

Friday (2/3):  Working with students on their portfolios (LD) and autobiography (MJ).  Walked around a copy of a section of an SAT exam to try and get some students (JG, BV) more equipped for their preparations for the March SAT.

Got some good feedback from a student on my YouTube videos that I have created to help students solve the SAT Math Question of the Day (QOTD) which comes about every third day from the College Board.  My channel on YouTube is here:

From: John Weisenfeld GMAIL []
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:27 AM
To: RK
Subject: Re: YouTube and SAT Math Problems

Thanks RK, some are more clear than others, so feel free to ask if you have some questions.

On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 9:59 AM, RK <> wrote:

Hey John,
your youtube channel displaying the SAT questions of the day are very helpful.

On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 6:08 AM, John Weisenfeld GMAIL <> wrote:

I’ve created some YouTube videos that walk through the solutions of some SAT Math problems, there are about 40 of them so far, and I intend to add more as time goes on.  Check them out some time…

John Weisenfeld
STEM Specialist/Intern
Highline Big Picture High School
206.631.7724 (work)
425.301.7404 (cell)

Here’s an e-mail I wrote detailing the progress we made on Thursday to student advisors.

From: John Weisenfeld GMAIL []
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2012 9:04 AM
To: David Levine; Jessica Rottweiler
Cc: MJ; LD; DP; KE; Dan Dundon
Subject: Status Report 2012-02-02 (Thursday)

All four of the scholars (LD, DP, MJ, KE) spent time in the media lab on Thursday 2/2 from approximately 9:30am to 2pm.

All four were given printed copies of the application for Summer Cyber Camp at the Academy for Interactive Entertainment.  Based on the copies left in the room at the end of the day, very few of those were actually taken home.  All four have expressed interest in the camp, pending finances and a firmer commitment from their parents and/or both.  Phil McGilton, Dan Dundon and I are tracking these applications.

KE spent much of the time before lunch programming in C#.  He has become more acquainted with "for" loops (which we had started on Weds) and also learned about "if" statements and "switch" statements.  We are working our way through a tutorial in C# which is on MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network).  The URL for that is here:

LD got signed up for DreamSpark, so he now has access to professional training in C# as well as programming tools that we have installed in the lab.  He spent some time on some games on the PC and since I brought the iPad, he also looked at some games on the iPad that were both familiar and new to him.

MJ spent a little time listening to some PluralSight training (which we get free for 90 days through DreamSpark) and a little time programming, and more time playing some of the other games that the other students were playing which he wasn’t familiar with yet.  I think Michael J was interested in Android app development.

DP also got signed up for DreamSpark, as well as PluralSight so he could also listen to some training.  He is interested in Windows Phone 7 development or iPhone. 

Popular gamed today were:  a iPad app that records peoples statements and plays them back via an animal avatar (this was quite a hit and does very well with pre-schoolers, too!) and a tower defense game  ( | Frontline Defense HD 2).  When we visited AIE this past Tuesday all of these students learned that the targets for game development for the near future are "Soccer Moms", which is not necessarily the games these students like to play, so if they want to work in the game industry, they should familiarize themselves with games they might not particularly like.  So occasionally I now ask these students if they have played a soccer-mom-game today.

I’ve asked all of these students to start a google doc that keeps track of the games that they have played.  I plan on using such a tool in my high school elective on computer games when it starts up after exhibitions.

Some interesting observations from these students:

"Wow programming is hard."

"Programming is a lot of work/math."

P.S.  Hey students, if you have other observations from yesterday just reply-all to get your comments heard.

John Weisenfeld
STEM Specialist/Intern
Highline Big Picture High School
206.631.7724 (work)
425.301.7404 (cell)

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