[Lazarus] Teaching Pascal at College

Tony Whyman tony.whyman at mccallumwhyman.com
Thu Oct 13 00:46:41 CEST 2016

When I read your post ,it sent me back to read the Introduction to 
Nicklaus Wirth's original "Pascal user Manual and Report" where the 
opening paragraph says:

"The development of the language Pascal is based on two principal aims. 
The first is to make available a language suitable to teach programming 
as a systematic discipline based on certain fundamental concepts clearly 
and naturally reflected by the language. The second is to develop 
implementations of this language which are both reliable and efficient 
on presently available (1975) computers".

Certainly the intent was a very good match for what you want and IMHO 
that intent was fully realised.

If you can find it, I would recommend getting hold of a copy of what is 
now an ancient text "Pascal - An Introduction to Methodical Programming 
- Findlay and Watt - ISBN 0 273 01220 7 (Original Edition) now 
978-1857283648". First published 1978. This used to be the definitive 
text for learning Pascal and somewhat to my surprise still seems to be 
available from Amazon in its 3rd Edition.

When I looked down through the content list the order of play and 
presentation still seems just right for a first course in programming. 
It does not deal with Object Oriented programming or even "Units". ISO 
standard Pascal will still some time away but that anyway should be the 
next semester.

I would also caution against starting on GUI programming too early. If 
the students don't have a grasp of fundamentals then they will get lost 
very quickly. Perhaps the best approach is at the end of each subject to 
translate the simple procedural program they have been working on into a 
GUI program as a whole class exercise.

 From having myself developed many courses in Data Communications over 
the years, I would also always try and make sure the students understand 
the context, the background to what they are doing and why.

Somehow you need to get Boolean Algebra in there as well. Findlay and 
Watt give a primer on this in chapter 5, which is probably about the 
right stage after having done the basics. And then, of course, there are 
Turing Machines...

Have fun

Tony Whyman


On 12/10/16 19:10, Adrian De Armas via Lazarus wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I am a professor of "introduction to programming". Currently we are 
> working with matlab and c.
> Today I had a meeting about doing the module more interesting to the 
> students. Currently we teach algorithms making console applications 
> and usually I receive questions like "Why don't we do something more 
> modern?".
> I recommended that we should use Pascal in General and Lazarus in 
> particular to teach how to create rich GUI Applications and to my 
> surprise the idea was well recieved. Now I have to make suggestions 
> about how to prepare the module starting from zero. Students do not 
> know how to program and I need to include subjects as: variable 
> declaration, operations, if, while, for, functions and procedure, 
> arrays and multidimensional arrays.
> I would love to know what you think about making the transition from 
> console to GUI.
> This is an exciting opportunity I'd love to make it right.
> Regards

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