[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Re: [seul-edu] Perl for 9th graders]

Python is a good language to learn good programming practices, without
getting into the intricacies of compilers or memory management.

Logo is a neat language but not conducive to good programming skills.  The
first language a student learns is likely to be the foundation for many
programming habits in the future.  That's why I think it is important to
learn a clean elegant language up front.

Learning BASIC and COBOL first were the worst things I've ever done.  If I
had learned something like Pascal first, I'd probably be a programmer today
instead of a sysadmin.

-----Original Message-----
From: nbarne - Nathan Barnes [mailto:nbarne@acxiom.com]
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 1:00 PM
To: 'seul-edu@seul.org'
Subject: RE: Re: [seul-edu] Perl for 9th graders]

> -----Original Message-----

--*snip, snip*-- (content edited for space)  %^)

> > > > > A student came to me yesterday and said he thinks he needs 
> > > > > to learn some Linux, especially Perl.
> > > 
> > > First, I think it is awesome that a teacher is going out of their way
> > > assist this student learn what they want to learn. Bravo!


--*snip, snip*--

> > > All that said, I would strongly recommend that if this is the
> > > first programming language, it might be prudent to point the student
> > > towards a language that is not so, how do I put this, Frankenstein
> > > :). Perl, in many ways, takes the best features of several programming
> > > languages and mixes them together in a very powerful way. But an
> > > argument could be made that it's nowhere close to appropriate for a
> > > first language. 

I agree with this, too.  Perl and C are the two languages that I use most
frequently in my day to day work, but I wouldn't recommend either one as a
first introduction to programming.  This is the order in which I was
introduced to my first few programming languages, and it worked pretty well
for me:

LOGO (wonderful for elementary students)
Pascal (Junior High, maybe High School)
C++ (If Java had been available, I think it would have been a better intro
to OO.)
...(a couple of specialized languages)...

Sadly, LOGO and Pascal are sort of out of date now, especially on a Linux
system.  Maybe Python (with a "turtle graphics" module) and Ada would work

> > Students may be create a Frankenstein program only using PERL
> > too... And I discord about PERL has "best features of several
> > languages", if this is correct, where is OOP support?

Perl has an interesting and effective style of OO support, and learning OO
Perl can provide special insight into the way that OO works in general, but
I CERTAINLY wouldn't recommend it as a first OO language!  Its style is a
bit too free and open.  A beginner could learn a lot of bad habits very

> > > I've heard good things about python as a good, powerful first
> > > and java would likely be a good choice as well, as in many ways it was
> > > written from scratch as an OOP language. Pascal is not exactly used in
> > > reality commonly, but is an excellent introduction to structured,
> > > function based programming.

Python would be a good first language for students in seventh grade and up.
I haven't seen any good introductory programming texts with Python yet,
though.  The standard distribution's tutorial is pretty good for learning
the language, but probably not for learning programming in general.  I
haven't been looking for such a book though.  It may be out there.

--*snip, snip*--

Nathan Barnes