Progamming in UK Schools

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TESLACOIL
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby TESLACOIL » Sep 04, 2014 4:39

I think the vast majority of people should be 'aware of programming'

Have an appreciation of what it takes to write good code, create effective software, build useful hardware etc Costs and benefits

I am concerned that so many people know so little of how the modern world and the wider natural world actually functions that they make poor life decisions. The result drags everyone and everything down. Incompetent IT managers, blundering government IT projects, poor global resource management, bad investment decisions from merchant bankers to misinformed housewives.

We live in a complex natural world and have built a complex built environment. Our education systems are woefully inadequate.

In short we, as a species are simply out of our depth. Full steam ahead into the icepack. Shopping at Dunning and Kruger a global pastime.

and the universe whispers "I am reality, forget me at your peril"
marcov
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby marcov » Sep 04, 2014 6:55

MichaelW wrote:
I think beginners should start with assembly language, then continue with C or a C-like language, then…


Ridiculous. Your class would be empty after the first week, and they all would pursue fashion as a future venture instead of IT.

Keep in mind that many that are on CS curricula nowadays are of the career-IT kind. The hard truth (that 90% of the class will never be something that we would call a serious programmer) must be applied in small doses.
Sigord
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Sigord » Sep 04, 2014 6:58

We must remember this is NOT a Python help forum. But the complex Python coding kindly supplied by fxm above surely proves FB in plain English is far better to understand especially for kids. Never forget many stll leave school without even mastering the simple 3 Rs.

After reinstalling all 64 Mb of Python again, I eventually fathomed out the need to change the options to ensure it starts up in Edit Mode to ensure the RUN option shows. But when I pasted in the code kindly provided by fxm or some from
http://www.java2s.com/Code/Python/CatalogPython.htm and saved then ran them they both just displayed INVALID SYNTAX without a clue where or what was the problem ***** Brilliant *****
marcov
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby marcov » Sep 04, 2014 9:32

jevans4949 wrote:One of the problems in attracting the attention of younger people these days is that the glass teletype output of core languages such as Basic and C does not impress; they expect to write graphic games from Day 1. Simple ways to embed logic subroutines into graphic programming platforms are more likely to cut it, at least for under-14's. There will be a small percentage who will rise above this,but most will not; for most people a simple appreciation of the programmer's art will get them through life. By comparison, smaller and smaller percentages of people who drive cars have the skills to repair them.


Quite true. But one must not forget that in the old days there was no real CS curriculum, and most programmers came from the electronics and math departments. As such they had already studied for a few years and were simply older. (and thus hopefully a bit more patient).

The reality of current CS studies is that you get students green out of secondary school. (here in the NL that's typically 18 or almost 18 by one or two months)
RockTheSchock
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby RockTheSchock » Sep 04, 2014 9:54

I am from Germany and most teachers can't even use an office suite properly, also the youngest teachers (commonly about 26-35 years old). So even those mathematicians who (can) teach rudimentery computer science, will do whatever they learned decades ago.

I learned programming with 11 from a norwegian friend comming for a weekend. He showed me how to use QB. I had very much fun. FUN is the key to learn programming - more than in every other discipline. It's more abstract than math, it's more creative than arts.

There is not a right language to learn first. It can be assembler but only if the kids can achive nice results very fast and easy. E.g. controlling LEDs. It can also be a language like java. Immagine the kids get a task like counting alliterations in a huge text. Every kid gets another text. So they can just count them one by one or they could programm a tool. Than it's all about making useful tools for otherwise very annoying tasks. It can be freebasic to draw some nice graphs of complex functions.
Foneo
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Foneo » Sep 04, 2014 10:11

@Sigord
As you say, this is not a Python help forum. However..
I don't know what it is you are running but it isn't Python - there is no Edit mode in Python. Where did you get whatever it is?
The best place to get Python is https://www.python.org/

I couldn't find any Python code from fxm but I managed to run examples from the link you posted.
'syntax error' doesn't look like a python error. The interpreter normally gives a lot of information like this...
File "C:\Users\Dev\python\downloads\alarm.py", line 9
self.msecs = 1000
^
IndentationError: unexpected indent

I have taught students (and grown-ups) to program using python and they mainly take to it very easily.
I use Freebasic as a hobby language but python professionally.
Sigord
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Sigord » Sep 04, 2014 10:48

Thanks. I got it from https://www.python.org/download/releases/3.4.1/ It comes with a IDLE ( Python GUI ) and a command line. The later looks like an ancient DOS input black screen.
badidea
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby badidea » Sep 04, 2014 15:29

I use python with Geany as IDE, like I do with freeBASIC as well.
IDLE is too limited. I have never use the command line interface.
Use can use any text editor and run the code with "python example.py"
ike
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby ike » Sep 04, 2014 20:12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KfJiWR1FPw
Linus Torvalds: How can we encourage kids to learn how to code?




http://smallbasic.com/

10-16 yr old kids
TESLACOIL
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby TESLACOIL » Sep 04, 2014 23:11

ref making it easy to learning to code

it would also help if computers where designed to be easy to code, they are not, they are just assembled from convenient parts

Let the economy serve us not us serve the economy should be mirrored by 'let the design of the computer serve us'

Imagine if it was your job to design a computer for a ye olde village idiot to program. It sure as heck wouldn't look like any of the computers you see around you today. Computing is in its infancy ( maths has been around a lot longer ) so it it is no surprise that computers are a total mashup design wise.

The Fender Stratocaster was a vast improvement on the cookie cutter telecaster, it was made to fit human needs.

Complexity kills creativity and computing anything suffers from a great deal of 'convenient to bolt together bloat' + 'endless development hell' in almost every category.

Are we there yet ? , probably not for at least another 50 or 100 years.
Pritchard
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Pritchard » Sep 06, 2014 22:37

jevans4949 wrote:
badidea wrote:Isn't VB.NET some Microsoft thing? Or does it run on other platforms as well?

Yeah, they will avoid proprietary stuff if they can, certainly for any official syllabus; certainly they did for adult introduction to ICT last time I saw it a few years back.

Yes, but depending on where you live, Microsoft-based stuff is what 90% of jobs are in. JavaScript is cool, too. So much that can be done with it, but it's a little harsh of a language...

Student discounts are great if you go to a half-decent school. Visual Studio free/express editions do the job just fine, too. Schools typically have contracts and all of this software installed. I think I paid like a $50 technology fee per term for usage. That's not bad at all.

IMO, I don't care whether or not something is "proprietary" and I think that's a lame reason to not teach something. If 90% of the local professional market used Oracle, that's what I'd want to learn. That's not the case where I am, but if it was, that's what I'd want.

MichaelW wrote:
Pritchard wrote:
Funny how people still argue for QB/FB now when it's more difficult to do many things in it than in VB.NET…

Beginning programmers need to learn the fundamentals in a reasonable length of time and with a minimum of frustration, and VB.NET is a seriously bad choice for that. I'm fairly certain that you were around during the VB6/VB.NET transition, and saw the many complaints from more or less experienced programmers.

I think beginners should start with assembly language, then continue with C or a C-like language, then…

In my school, we went from pseudo-code to VB.NET and building apps directly in the drag & drop GUI builder. I found that to be a pleasurable experience, especially with a textbook. It let us avoid the details of computers and computation, and focus more on building applications.

These days, I might recommend something "HTML5"-based instead, if you know how to teach it.

I don't think people program the same way they used to. Honestly, I find older generation programmers are really smart, but sometimes too smart. Ex: They default to solving the problem in the more complex way because that's how it had to be done. It may be easy for them, but newer programmers don't even have to worry about some of the old problems.

Why would new programmers like ASM, C, etc. when a quick "HTML5 App" gives them instant results, network capabilities and cross-platform functionality? I liked ASM, BASIC and even C in the early 2000s because it still felt really raw, powerful and generally useful.

As a professional web applications developer, it would just feel like a waste of my time.

But again, that's what I do for a living. I think that for beginners, whatever is easiest and most fun to get people used to computation and using sub-components of computation as building blocks for bigger things, is the best.
BasicCoder2 wrote:
MichaelW wrote:I think beginners should start with assembly language, then continue with C or a C-like language, then…

Really?
Although I started with assembler there was no choice back in ye olden days when electronics was my hobby and I had to build my own computer from a kit, program it via toggle switches in binary with LEDs as the only display!
I think it depends on what kind of programming job you want.

Yeah. These days, it seems like C, Python and ASM. LISP is still used for AI-related things. Cool, right?
Pritchard
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Pritchard » Sep 06, 2014 22:48

Sigord wrote:We must remember this is NOT a Python help forum. But the complex Python coding kindly supplied by fxm above surely proves FB in plain English is far better to understand especially for kids. Never forget many stll leave school without even mastering the simple 3 Rs.

After reinstalling all 64 Mb of Python again, I eventually fathomed out the need to change the options to ensure it starts up in Edit Mode to ensure the RUN option shows. But when I pasted in the code kindly provided by fxm or some from
http://www.java2s.com/Code/Python/CatalogPython.htm and saved then ran them they both just displayed INVALID SYNTAX without a clue where or what was the problem ***** Brilliant *****


Have you tried the official tutorial, not one from some site that has no official affiliation with Python?
http://docs.python.org/3.3/tutorial/

Or the beginner's guides?
https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/

And I think this is a good time to talk about environments. FreeBASIC as a language really isn't that good, but hey, maybe you think it's nice-looking. The FreeBASIC environment works, but you get people who were used to QBASIC and they don't understand how to invoke the compiler.

I never download just a compiler. I download development environments. So that would include the python compiler/interpreter, an IDE and, if not already included, plugins for language support, compilation, debugging, etc. Ideally, an "all-in-one" package to start that does all of the configuration for me. This is often available for tools like Eclipse.

I think it's really unfair to treat Python the way you seem to be, when FreeBASIC is equally as confusing to people who aren't familiar with the command-line or didn't download the Editor + Compiler packages that are available. (Which, while OK, still kind of suck in my opinion.)

There is so much content there, the only problem I would have getting started is not knowing which link is right for me.
Pritchard
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby Pritchard » Sep 06, 2014 22:55

Ohhhh, @Sigord:

http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html

I really like SciTE. Such a basic IDE, but such great, straightforward support for things like Python, Ruby, etc. assuming you have them installed.

And just an FYI, no personal criticism. I just think everyone here is mostly biased toward what they already know (QB/FB) and that it's only fair to give something else a fair shot. To do so, one must ask what the typical Python/Ruby/C/C++/Java/etc person does.

It is amazing the things that people will do with hammers, if they do not know they are for driving nails into anchors...
BasicCoder2
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby BasicCoder2 » Sep 06, 2014 23:56

Pritchard wrote:And just an FYI, no personal criticism. I just think everyone here is mostly biased toward what they already know (QB/FB)

In the same way some old codgers might like to play with vintage cars they drove in their youth :)
Sure FreeBasic may not be the choice for someone starting out programming as you may as well learn the basics in a modern language with the level of abstraction you desire that you can continue to use easily.
FreeBasic is an updated version of the old QBASIC which enables an old QBASIC programmer to make use of it on a modern computer and although the more advanced programmer might be able to do a lot more using libraries for me it is just a play thing like tinkering with an old car.
St_W
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Re: Progamming in UK Schools

Postby St_W » Sep 07, 2014 0:55

BasicCoder2 wrote:Sure FreeBasic may not be the choice for someone starting out programming as you may as well learn the basics in a modern language with the level of abstraction you desire that you can continue to use easily.
FreeBasic is an updated version of the old QBASIC which enables an old QBASIC programmer to make use of it on a modern computer and although the more advanced programmer might be able to do a lot more using libraries for me it is just a play thing like tinkering with an old car.

Maybe that's what FB currently is (at least to some extent), but not what it should be imho. The number of people who know or have used some old Basic (qb or even older ones like gw-basic or C64-basic) is constantly declining and so will the number of FB users, if FB won't evolve.


badidea wrote:Isn't VB.NET some Microsoft thing? Or does it run on other platforms as well?
Actually large parts of VB.net are standardized. One implementation of that standard comes from Microsoft and is proprietary software that only runs on windows. However, there's also an open source implementation "Mono" that runs on all common systems including Windows, Linux and Mac.

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