From:                                                      Kelvin Sung []

Sent:                                                        Sunday, May 03, 2009 3:51 PM

To:                                                            John Nordlinger; Lee Dirks


Subject:                                                  April 2009: Progress Report on: XNA CS1-Lab Workbook



Re: XNA CS1-Lab Workbook: April 2009 Progress Report


GREAT NEWS!!: Our $900K proposal to the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating (HEC) Board on Educators for the 21st century has been funded!! Over the next three years, we will integrate ``Game-Themed’’ materials into high schools math curricula from underserved regions of Eastern Washington!! Please refer to the discussion in item-5 below, there are a huge amount of synergy we can harvest with the proposed “Broaden the Impact of G4LI” project.


The following is the project progress report for April 2009. Our project is progressing very well, Here are the details:


1.      Workbook progress (XGC1): With continual feedback from Jessica Bayliss, and Kelvin’s recent workshops (at MSR and FDG), we are learning about improvements that should be made:

a.       Library Upgrade: with Kelvin’s new Game Development class using the XNACS1Lib, we have learned much how to improve the library:

                                                               i.      Font Colors: as it turns out, this is not a small matter. Without the ability to change font color, when background image/color matches the color of the echo fonts, one simply cannot see any status.

                                                             ii.      Pause: auto update means user cannot stop the motion of objects in the world. We must support Pause functionality in the XNACS1Base.

                                                           iii.      DrawSet: this should be decoupled from the Primitive as an Interface, and each Primitive sub-class can then selectively implement the functionality.

                                                           iv.      Update: instead of moving primitives as an integral part of Draw, each Primitive should have the capability of Update() function. Subclass can override this Update function and change behavior.

                                                             v.      Front vs. Velocity: we should support a separate “front” direction that is independent from the VelocityDirection.

b.      Example Module Refinement: Jessica’s students have provided us with invaluable feedback (with incredibly useful details!).

The above may seem quite a bit of work, but, the entire library modification will be invisible to the example modules. We are in the process of revamping the library, with the hope of a new major release in mid-late June time frame.


2.      Spring classroom assessment project: We have completed three separate video/audio recording of students working with our materials in classes. UWB team will analyst the recordings in early June. The informal feedback from students are  extremely positive!  This is very encouraging in two important ways:

a.       Our (still informal) results show: game-themed lab workbook idea works well, our course is taught in exactly the same manner, students are told to follow and work with game-themed lab workbook, and they love it!

b.      SIGCSE 2010: we have great materials for next year’s SIGCSE paper J.


3.      Disseminations: The month of April was fun and busy, we have two separate workshops and an invited presentation:

a.     MSR External Research Symposium: at the end of March, our talk was well received.

b.     MSR Workshop (April 2009): the workshop was well attended with community college faculty. We are working with three collaborators and have submitted a pre-proposal to NSF ATE program.

c.     FDG Cruise Conference (April 2009) : based on the experience from the MSR workshop in April, this workshop was even more successful. Many of the participants have sent Kelvin emails expressing interests, where at least two of the participants are interested in organizing some kind of multi-day workshop at their countries (Mexico and Finland). We are in very early phase of discussion at this point.

d.     High school: Thank you to Kent Foster and John Nordlinger, Carla Faini contacted Kelvin and got Kelvin in touched with many High School contacts. This is an interesting and very exciting development. So far all communications are still at very early phases, with our HEC-board funded project for outreach to high school, the possibilities here are virtually endless! We are EXCITED!!

e.     MSR Visit to UWB: On April 14th, John and Lee met with upper administration team at UWB (Chancellor Chen, Vice Chancellors Jeffords and Penny) to help advice on the UWB Institute for Serious Play. The meeting was informal (and some will even claim: fun), UWB team received much important advice and concrete follow up links.


4.      Up-coming workshop/conferences:

a.     Beijing Workshop (July 2009)

b.     Puerto Vallarta Workshop (Feb 2010)

c.     Others: As a direct result from the successful FDG workshop, currently we are in early phases of discussions with two groups: a potential workshop in Monterrey Mexico, and a potential workshop in Finland.


5.      Follow-up funding:  GREAT NEWS!! Our $900K proposal to the WA state HEC (Higher Education Coordinating) Board on Educators for the 21st Century has been funded. Our proposal was the highest ranked (87/90) of all the proposals submitted! We are very excited about this development! The work involved in this project has great synergy with the work proposed in our recently submitted “Broaden the Impact of G4LI” MSR proposal. In the HEC-Board project, we will build Game-Themed applications for high school teachers, while the MSR proposal takes this initiative one step further and brings Microsoft gaming devices into the classroom for these teachers. With the new connection to Carla Faini, we are very excited by this development!


6.      Other Potential Futures: so far besides the above WA state HEC-board proposal, we have submitted 4 other proposals to fund Game-Themed (or XNA) related work, with one more proposal in the pipeline targeted for submission by the end of May:

a.       Verizon Foundation: take advantage of the FiOS infrastructure for outreach to under-represented students in Snohomish county based on Game-Themed teaching materials. This proposal is still pending.

b.      MSR: “Broaden the Impact of G4LI” this proposal was submitted in early April. The work from this proposal has great synergetic resonance with the funded HEC-board project. With the resources from both projects, we will be able to create significant impact locally in the Washington state.

c.       MSR/XNA Team: Kelvin submitted a proposal to Bill Wegner and John Nordlinger on “XNA-based CS curriculum” outlining approaches to integrate XNA technology even more widely into CS curricula via Computer Graphics and CS2 courses.

d.      NSF ATE: Based on the contacts we have established from the April MSR workshop, with three community college faculty members (from North Seattle, Highline, and Cascadia), we have submitted a $850K pre-proposal to NSF ATE. The final proposal will be due in October.

e.     NSF CCLI (May 20): We are working on the proposal to take the “Game-Theme 2.0: Faculty Perspective” idea to NSF, current Co-PI includes all of the UWB collaborators (Robin, Cinnamon, David), and Jessica Bayliss from RIT (where she will help with designing “fun” modules). This is an exciting development!