[Lazarus] Teaching Pascal at College

Lars noreply at z505.com
Fri Oct 21 11:35:03 CEST 2016

On Tue, October 18, 2016 9:16 am, Jürgen Hestermann via Lazarus wrote:
> Am 2016-10-18 um 16:47 schrieb Michael Schnell via Lazarus:
>> If you start with complex stuff that does not yield immediate success
>> (i.e. a working program that does something that might be useful) The
>> students will loose interest and run away, unless they are nerds like
>> ourselves.
> Yes, therefore start with simple procedural (console)
> programs that let them have immediate success with all the elementary
> things that a program consists of (variables/types, loops, commands,
> etc.). If that is understood you can switch to GUI applications.
> If you do it the other way round you only delay the date
> of frustration but you do not avoid it.

There are two sides to this story, I'm afraid. I'm a fan of the console
program teaching method myself but the issue is: console mode programs are
irrelevant and useless.  Today, MS DOS doesn't exist any more. Even when
ms dos existed, console mode programs were boring, and only complete geeks
would be interested in creating console mode programs. We're talking about
people who have no social lives who create text mode games here...

If I was introduced to ComponentPascal (oberon) or delphi as a person
learning programming, where there were actual widgets you could create, it
just might convince me that programming is of some use. Console mode
programs are utterly useless to a newcomer. Wow you created a console mode
program that prints and asks questions... Joy Joy!  I think that's why I
never got interested in Basic, for ms dos... It was on my machine but I
just couldn't see how it was of any use. Now on the other hand if Delphi
was on a windows 3.1 machine I may have even been interested, as you could
just see a person being drawn into wiz bang widgetsets.. that do something
useful, unlike a boring console mode program.

Saying that, I still am a fan of console mode program teaching as it
teaches you about variables, setting values, incrementing, etc.

Today, programmers learn to program in PHP because HTML is the widgetset.
Often a first programming language a person learns is PHP these days, IMO.
And that's sad, as it creates bad habits galore. All because HTML today is
literally "the widget set" being used for programming.

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