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Re: [DS-discuss] languages

From: James Buchanan
Subject: Re: [DS-discuss] languages
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003 04:53:27 -0000

In my experience, 16+ years old kids are much better off with Java or
C++, while younger kids from, let's say, 10+ are better off with
typeless, however-you-want-it languages like Perl.

Tcl has an awkward syntax, Python is an excellent choice, but object
oriented (might not go down well with younger kids.)  Python would be
great for adolescents.

I have had some success with C++ with kids as young as 14 however.

I don't think Bruce Eckels' books are a good choice for children, but
for older adolescents, yes.  Note they assume some knowledge of
programming in at least one modern language before embarking on those
texts - the Thinking in C++ book is quite advanced, probably too
advanced (and too big) for kids.

I would be inclined to teach programming with a number of (slim, easy
to read) volumes that go something like this:

Volume 1:  Programming Principles (pseudocode, to get familar with
topwise refinement and common algorithms and structured techniques,
like looping and conditional execution, data types, then moving onto a
typeless language like Perl)
Volume 2:  Structured Programming Techniques (goes into the structured
subset of C++ for example, teaches common algorithms like searching
and sorting, text processing or string handling, command line
arguments, file processing, and has a generous number of interesting
"stops" where common software programmes and how they work are
explained, such as GUIs, virus scanners, email and web software, etc
Volume 3:  Advanced Programming (teaches algorithms and data
structures, object oriented programming, software engineering and
project management with make, etc.)

Most kids can have a lot of fun with Volume 1, those who are
especially serious about programming can progress through Volumes 2
and 3.  Throughout the books I would emphasise free software and the
free software philosophy, and also give structured walk-throughs of
code from everyday software packages, commenting on the source code to
instill enthusiasm and confidence.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Suraj" <address@hidden>
To: "Vytautas Vytzka Juodis" <address@hidden>
Cc: <address@hidden>
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2003 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [DS-discuss]logo again and again

> Vytautas "Vytzka" Juodis wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2003 at
02:49:31AM -0700:
> ,----
> |  Ok,  gentlemen (and  ladies, if  there  are some,  although for
> | reason I don't think  so :)), sorry for a delay at  first (exam).
If I
> | understood  correctly,  The  Kid  Viking  is  officially  accepted
> | majority of us to be a logo of the project, so I can begin to bomb
> | with my pathetic  drawings. And what do you think  about his name?
> | suggest Ken (in honour of  Ken T[h]ompson).  <NOT MY COMPETENCE>
> | a  week ago there  was a  discussion about  using Eckel's  books
> | Java/C++ to teach  children. Just interesting, but I  hope you are
> | going    to   teach    those   poor    kids   straightly    this
> | Python/Tcl/whatever?).
> `----
> sure  go ahead  and impress  us all!  :) yes,  python, etc.,.  are
> younger kids and java, c++ are for elder ones.
>   -Suraj

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