||Rethinking the Java Curriculum: Goodbye, HelloWorld!|
|Subject:||Speaking as a student|
This is just my two cents for what it's worth. As a 19 year old college student in the computer science major, I have been at the receiving end of these teaching methods for some time now. Having recieved a rudimentary education in C++ in high school, when I entered college and began programming in Java, I was slightly more prepared than some of the other students, but still had a lot to learn (as you all know).
Anyway, I opted to take an extra computer course my first semester as a freshman as a sort of "Intro" to programming. The course used a program called "Alice" available at http://www.alice.org
This sort of 3-D animation programming environment (that was the best way I could think to describe it at 1:40 AM on 4 hours of sleep) provided a very good stepping stone to programming in general.
Animations are accomplished by using a drag-and-drop type programming interface which was valuable to myself and many less-experienced students. It also gave a general introduction to the idea of methods to contain often repeated actions.
While this is not necessarily Java-specific, I feel it was a valuable learning experience, and I would be interested to see if other classes may benefit from the same exposure.