I’ve never been very good at taking notes and here are NECC hasn’t been much of an exception. While I have blogged about a number of sessions for the most part I have just listened intently but not blogged or taken notes. I have to say that I regret this somewhat.
So I am trying again during this session on teaching Object Oriented programming using Visual Basic 2005. Beth Brown of Lawrenceville Press is presenting. Beth is the author of the highly regarded VB textbooks from Lawrenceville Press. She is starting off by talking about how VB is now a real OOP language as well as some of the features new since VB 6.0.
She’s been talking about the Sound objects and the My Namespace. When we talked about these features before he talk Beth said that before these additions there were a number of things that used to be hard to do and that while they are fun and easy now, previously they had involved too much overhead to teach.
Beth is talking about incorporating animation, sounds and color to make programs more fun and interesting. She says that students will work hard to learn new concepts in order to make their programs more visually interesting. Beth is promoting one of my favorite ideas – providing partially completed code and having students complete it. I have long found that this allows me to focus the bulk of student’s efforts on specific topics.
One of the handouts Beth provided was a correlation between the APCS A curriculum outline and the chapters in her book. For the most part the things not covered are highly Java specific libraries and it looks to me like one could cover all of the concepts in the APCS A curriculum pretty easily using Visual Basic. And in my somewhat biased opinion students would have more fun learning it all in VB.