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Programming With Alice
#1
As a computer programming major, I expected that my introduction to programming class would be teaching me how to write direct code. I have experience with JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc, but not the type of code used to program computers. My introductory class has us using Alice as a beginner's programming program. Basically all you do is drag and drop everything, change some values and viola. Alice is free to download from http://alice.org with instructions on how to use the program as well as some tutorials that come default installed into the program as well. Mainly I see this program as a means to create animations. As a quick question, do you think that my instructors should be using a program to teach computer programming, or do you think they should actually teach us how to write code?
#2
That reminds me of the tool we use to teach middle schoolers what programming is.

To answer you quest. I think that this is actually fine. The main thing you need to learn is how paradigms of programming work. You need to understand what a loop is, how you can build one. What functions are. How passing and returning values works. Maybe what objects are and how they work. Once you know these basics you can learn any programming language in days. As all you need to learn are keywords. That being said I believe your instructor should let you write code at the end. Just to do it once.

My programming course in University is now 2 years back. We were taught Java. They adviced us to use a basic text editor and the shell to write programs. But most people switched to using IDEs soon. Until now some still don't get the basics. For me it worked, I knew Delphi before and just needed to know the keywords in Java. This approach tends to scare people. In their minds code is something magical only crazy people who spend all day in their moms basement understand. So they put less effort into it and sometimes don't even expect to master it.

In the end though as long as you learn the basics, the curse will have served it's purpose.
Learning the specifics of one language is a bonus. But maybe Alice is a way to teach the basics to more students.
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