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Programming Languages For Beginners

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#1 groovicus


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Posted 27 August 2008 - 09:57 PM

In my spare time, I teach high school students how to program. I posed a question to Alfred Thompson about how to teach budding computer scientists how to program. I was taught in Java, so that is what I teach. Alfred made an interesting comment though. He said

I have to say that Java is not my idea of a good first language

I have been in a ton of debates where one language is touted over another, but the way he worded his statement made me stop and think. Alfred's statement made me wonder what characteristics would make up a 'good first language?' Pretending for a moment that there is no such ideal program, what would it be like? What would the goals of the language be? Would it be a high level program that hid the dirty work so that the student could concentrate on concepts? Would it be a low level program that would teach the student what goes on behind the scenes? Should the emphasis be on writing useful programs, or merely functional? Given short attention spans, what would a language need to be able to do to keep students interested?

In the interest of keeping this an intelligent debate, any posts whose only content is along the lines of 'c is the best language' will be deleted. The idea is to discuss programming from a more abstract position, not to discuss which language is the best.

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#2 garmanma


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Posted 28 August 2008 - 09:35 AM

When it comes to programming, I fall into the short attention span category and I would love to learn how.
I think if I could see the "fruits of my labor" sooner rather than later, it would prod me along
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#3 Sharonsthere


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Posted 05 September 2008 - 11:03 AM

I think for me, being older (than what?), to learn a programming language successfully the language should a)show me what goes on behind the scenes (answer the 'why') and 2) then with that I could absorb the concepts of types of programs I could write, I guess that would be the mechanics.
Being a late bloomer, I learn best when you tell me theory and why, and then build on that. (However, that notion is being challenged this semester with a class that says 'do as I do, and memorise'.)

Edited by Sharonsthere, 05 September 2008 - 11:04 AM.

intelligence has far fewer practical applications than I thought.

#4 Simargl


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Posted 05 September 2008 - 11:29 AM

I think Liberty BASIC is the best programming language for the beginners.

#5 Guest_Abacus 7_*

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 11:38 AM

Actually way back in 1967, my Brother Bill was the Programer for the first Computer bought by a Council in Australia, Randwick Council, in Sydney.

At the Time I was Plant Time Keeper there, amongst other Jobs I also did.

The Computer was Huge, took up a large Room. I had no real Interest in it, just remember it.

I used to watch my Brother spend hours copying strange symbols onto a Tape to make it work.

Funny enough a few years later my Kid came home from School and wanted Help with Arithmatic Homework. First thing I saw was those same Symbols! Then DOS came along! That changed it all?

That Boy was a Whizz at the first one that we got. He had learned Basic Programming at School. I was a total know nothing until I played about in 1996? First thing I had to learn was the Mouse, by that time my Son was no longer with us, which is so Sad? He would Love to have seen me take on Computers.

Back on Topic, The Computer my Brother Programed, that took up a full Room had a Capacicity of 1K!!!! Unbelievable!

BTW, My Brother is still a Deadly Programmer, even thought he is getting near 70!

People Born around 1966 to 1977 have an Advantage because Programming was actually Taught in Schools then, just part of Arithmetics.


Edited by Abacus 7, 05 September 2008 - 11:52 AM.

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