Java Object-Oriented Prgramming- Basics for High School Course ???

J

James

I hope this is the right group within which to post this message. If I am
off base, please tell me and I will try a more appropriate group. But, I
do need help for my son, and this was the only place that I know where to
turn for help.

My son is in high school, and is taking a basic Java course. The text
book is called "Java Methods", An Introduction to Object-Oriented
Programming. The authors are Maria and Gary Litvin.

It appears that his teacher is very well skilled in Java programming, but
she doesn't have super teaching skills. My son works hard and is smart,
but cannot for the life of him figure out how to actually write a simple
program. He doesn't have a clue where to start, and cannot do most of the
book assignments as he hasn't learned the very, very basic elements of
writing a Java program. At the same time, he is very smart, works hard,
and I know for a fact that he can and will learn Java if exposed to the
right source.

Some of the book assignments simply say, "Write a program that will do the
following..... etc, etc "


Here are my questions:


1. Is there a more appropriate user group to post this question ?


2. Is there a good website that might help him as a TOTAL NEWCOMER to the
Java language?


3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??


4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

------------------------------------------

In making responses, please keep in mind that my son is very much a
beginner, and any source of materials would have to assume that the student
was on his or her first day in a Java class, and needed to be able to write
a simple program with a week or ten days.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated !!

--James--
 
K

Knute Johnson

Bob said:
I am a self taught programmer, and the best advice I have *ever* got from
someone with regards to software engineering and programming is *learn
where to go looking for answers*.


My two c.

/G

And don't hesitate to try something. The worst that can happen is that
it doesn't work.

The comp.lang.java.help group might be a little better for him too.
 
B

Bob Smith

James wrote:

Hi James!
I hope this is the right group within which to post this message. If I am
off base, please tell me and I will try a more appropriate group. But, I
do need help for my son, and this was the only place that I know where to
turn for help.
My son is in high school, and is taking a basic Java course. The
text > book is called "Java Methods", An Introduction to
Object-Oriented Programming. The authors are Maria and Gary Litvin.

I have never read that book, neither even seen it.
It appears that his teacher is very well skilled in Java programming, but
she doesn't have super teaching skills. My son works hard and is smart,
but cannot for the life of him figure out how to actually write a simple
program. He doesn't have a clue where to start, and cannot do most of the
book assignments as he hasn't learned the very, very basic elements of
writing a Java program. At the same time, he is very smart, works hard,
and I know for a fact that he can and will learn Java if exposed to the
right source.

Sounds like your son needs a tutor how to do compiling basically ( as a
starter ). how to use a text editor and how to pass on the edited source
program to the javac compiler, he needs info like "what is a string, what
is a number, what is a float, what is a boolean value", and thing slike
that, they are necessary information dealing with any programming," and how
to execute the program. these are basic steps his teacher should be able to
hand over to him without problem, if not then you have a problem with the
teacher.
Some of the book assignments simply say, "Write a program that will do
the
following..... etc, etc "


Here are my questions:


1. Is there a more appropriate user group to post this question ?

I think you are pretty welcome here.
2. Is there a good website that might help him as a TOTAL NEWCOMER to the
Java language?

The web is full of data for newcomers.
google is his friend.
3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches
Java Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick
it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??
probably your son needs just another friend doing the same thing, learn from
a peer, not a book. Some things are easy to get, but being lonely with a
book in a room and a computer is not always the best solution I believe,
perhaps you could let him join some teenagers programmer group where he
could learn how to get going?
4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching
source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

------------------------------------------

In making responses, please keep in mind that my son is very much a
beginner, and any source of materials would have to assume that the
student was on his or her first day in a Java class, and needed to be able
to write a simple program with a week or ten days.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated !!
well conclusively I'd advice you to teach your son how to go fishing on the
net. because it is actually all out there, waiting for him to be picked up.

if you teach your son how to fish data and information off from the net,
then you teach him for a life time, feed him for a life time, if you sit
with him and tell him "do like this", then you teach him for a day, and
feeds him for one day.

I am a self taught programmer, and the best advice I have *ever* got from
someone with regards to software engineering and programming is *learn
where to go looking for answers*.


My two c.

/G
 
K

kjc

James said:
I hope this is the right group within which to post this message. If I am
off base, please tell me and I will try a more appropriate group. But, I
do need help for my son, and this was the only place that I know where to
turn for help.

My son is in high school, and is taking a basic Java course. The text
book is called "Java Methods", An Introduction to Object-Oriented
Programming. The authors are Maria and Gary Litvin.

It appears that his teacher is very well skilled in Java programming, but
she doesn't have super teaching skills. My son works hard and is smart,
but cannot for the life of him figure out how to actually write a simple
program. He doesn't have a clue where to start, and cannot do most of the
book assignments as he hasn't learned the very, very basic elements of
writing a Java program. At the same time, he is very smart, works hard,
and I know for a fact that he can and will learn Java if exposed to the
right source.

Some of the book assignments simply say, "Write a program that will do the
following..... etc, etc "


Here are my questions:


1. Is there a more appropriate user group to post this question ?


2. Is there a good website that might help him as a TOTAL NEWCOMER to the
Java language?


3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??


4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

------------------------------------------

In making responses, please keep in mind that my son is very much a
beginner, and any source of materials would have to assume that the student
was on his or her first day in a Java class, and needed to be able to write
a simple program with a week or ten days.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated !!

--James--
First, it's important for your son to understand what an Object is.
Once he understands the concept of an object. All he needs to do is
apply this understanding to solving problems with the Java programming
language.

I always encourage people who are interested in OO concepts to first
learn Smalltalk.

My 2%
 
O

Oscar kind

James said:
I hope this is the right group within which to post this message. If I am
off base, please tell me and I will try a more appropriate group. But, I
do need help for my son, and this was the only place that I know where to
turn for help.

Step one is for your son to know where to look for answers. Answers to
your questions should go a long way towards that goal.


[...]
Here are my questions:

1. Is there a more appropriate user group to post this question ?

For beginner questions: comp.lang.java.help
For more advanced questions: comp.lang.java.programmer
When in doubt: pick one.

2. Is there a good website that might help him as a TOTAL NEWCOMER to the
Java language?

Yes: the Java website from Sun. There is a tutorial there that starts
(almost) at the beginning. It is only assumed that the reader knows how to
write a text file with a specific file extension (as with notepad for
example), and type commands at a command line prompt. It can be found here:

http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html


Also absolutely essential is either this link, or the API documentation
download:

http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/api/

It describes (not explains) in detail what each of the standard Java
classes does, what method it has, etc.

3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??

Unfortunately, I don't. Others probably do.

4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

Not really, as far as I know. On the other hand, there are lots of
articles written about object oriented programming: just search Google for
"learning object oriented programming concepts". The first hit points to
the tutorial mentioned above, and there is more...

One link that may be interesting too is this one:

http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-03-2000/jw-0331-java101.html


I hope this helps.
 
J

James

Oscar, thank you so much for this very helpful and thoughtful reply and
info !!

--James--
 
H

Hal Rosser

Here are my questions:


1. Is there a more appropriate user group to post this question ?


2. Is there a good website that might help him as a TOTAL NEWCOMER to the
Java language?


3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??


4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

------------------------------------------

In making responses, please keep in mind that my son is very much a
beginner, and any source of materials would have to assume that the student
was on his or her first day in a Java class, and needed to be able to write
a simple program with a week or ten days.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated !!

this book is a good starting point (Murach's Beginning Java 2)
http://www.murach.com/books/jav5/index.htm

also another good book: is: Head First Java
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/hfjava2/index.html
its cheaper at amazon.com

Learninig Programming is not easy - so Java is not easy -
One good idea is to go to a good bookstore with a good selection of Java
books, and have him to look inside the books for a while. I found some
authors "spoke my language" and some did not. Some authors just describe
some things better.
Murach's book (above) and the oreilly book are both good (in my opinion).
The student must want to learn and be willing to read the book for it to
come together.
 
H

Hal Rosser

A good beginners tool(?):
http://www.bluej.org/about/what.html

(BTW: What do the rest of you think? Is BlueJay a good beginners IDE? I
have heard it's ok, but I haven't tried it myself...)

/ulf

Its a good tool for the teacher because it shows object relationships
Another good tool for teaching is Poseidon for UML - and its cousin ArgoUML
But for a begginer IDE - I like JGrasp - its a minimal IDE the helps the
learning by making it easy to compile and run java programs.
 
D

David Segall

palun said:
James skrev:

A good beginners tool(?):

http://www.bluej.org/about/what.html

(BTW: What do the rest of you think? Is BlueJay a good beginners IDE? I
have heard it's ok, but I haven't tried it myself...)

/ulf
Bluej would be a hindrance in this case. It would add BlueJ to the
mass of confusing things this student has to learn. I think it would
be a good IDE if it was introduced as part of the Java course but it
would not, by itself, help a beginner learn Java.
 
G

greg.macpherson

I would be willing to help him out if he needs it. I started taking a
java course last year which was my junior year in high school, and am
taking the ap course this year. If he needs any help with anything
specific you can drop me an email at (e-mail address removed) .
 
G

greg.macpherson

I would be willing to help him out if he needs it. I started taking a
java course last year which was my junior year in high school, and am
taking the ap course this year. If he needs any help with anything
specific you can drop me an email at (e-mail address removed) .
 
J

Juha Laiho

Oscar kind said:
Yes: the Java website from Sun. There is a tutorial there that starts
(almost) at the beginning. It is only assumed that the reader knows how to
write a text file with a specific file extension (as with notepad for
example), and type commands at a command line prompt. It can be found here:

http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html

Heartily seconded.
Also absolutely essential is either this link, or the API documentation
download:

http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/api/

It describes (not explains) in detail what each of the standard Java
classes does, what method it has, etc.

Seconded, as well - a reference manual to go side by side with the
tutorial. Neither replaces the other, they're supplementary.

Speaking of which, is there something that'd act as a reference to the
language itself -- as the API docs are just a reference to the standard
class libraries?
 
K

knightowl

3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively
teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it
??

I would suggest "Java 2: The complete reference" by Herbert Schildt.
I have many of his books, and they are extremely well written. He is
known for teaching beginners complex languages like C++ and Java. He
talks extremely basic about the concepts of OO, and walkes you right
through...
4. Is there a Java software product that can be used as a teaching source
for learning BASIC Java Object-Oriented Programming ?

I would also download Netbeans. This product just got open source
product of the year. I am pretty new to Java and it has helped me a
lot. Some really nice wizards to get a basic project all setup.

HFC
 
C

Chris Uppal

Juha said:
Speaking of which, is there something that'd act as a reference to the
language itself -- as the API docs are just a reference to the standard
class libraries?

Yes, it's called the "Java Language Specification, Second Edition" and can be
purchased in book form, or downloaded from Sun's site.

Definitely /NOT/ for beginners.

BTW, I don't think that Sun's API docs are suitable for someone who is a total
beginner at programming. They would just frustrate/scare/confuse a /real/
beginner. You need to be fairly comfortable with the mechanics of programming
before they can be anything other than a hindrance.

I think that most of the respondents in this thread have forgotten that the
subject is how to get someone started at all, when they are /already/ having
difficulty. Not how to learn the specifics of Java programming when you are
already reasonably fluent at programming concepts.

IMO, the Java tutorial starts from the latter position. (Although it might
help if the OP's son's problem is mostly with the mechanics of typing a program
in and getting it to compile and run. Though that wasn't how it sounded to
me.)

-- chris
 
C

Chris Uppal

knightowl said:
I would suggest "Java 2: The complete reference" by Herbert Schildt.
I have many of his books, and they are extremely well written. He is
known for teaching beginners complex languages like C++ and Java.

He is also widely regarded as a bad joke. A non-expert who presents his own
incomplete, or erroneous, understandings of various concepts as if it were
final truth. I haven't read his Java stuff, though I have seen criticisms of
various confusions posted here. I /have/ read his 'C' (or was it C++ ?) book,
and it was pathetic.

The problem for beginners is that it's impossible to tell, when reading a
superficially well-written book, whether the concepts presented clearly are
also presented /correctly/, and whether the confusing concepts are so because
they are inherently difficult, or because the author is himself confused about
something that /ought/ to be simple. (IIRC, his discussion of Java
"references" is a case in point -- but I admit that's just hearsay (or, rather,
"readwrite" ;-)).

-- chris
 
O

Oscar kind

Chris Uppal said:
I think that most of the respondents in this thread have forgotten that the
subject is how to get someone started at all, when they are /already/ having
difficulty. Not how to learn the specifics of Java programming when you are
already reasonably fluent at programming concepts.

IMO, the Java tutorial starts from the latter position. (Although it might
help if the OP's son's problem is mostly with the mechanics of typing a program
in and getting it to compile and run. Though that wasn't how it sounded to
me.)

This is an excellent point. In my opinion however, the only thing that is
needed apart from the tutorial is examples. Lots of them, and then
probably some more. Programming requires you to think in a different mode
than what most people are used to, and that takes practice. Just like
learning another languages (say dutch, german and french) takes practice.

On the other hand, the OP stated that his son already has a class that's
supposed to teach Java. In other words, the examples are already there.
The teaching may be insufficient, hence the questions. But apart from
getting started with the actual programming, I think that the rest is
already there:
- A person to ask specific questions
- Example excercises, assigned inn order of difficulty and subject
 
D

David Segall

James said:
He doesn't have a clue where to start, and cannot do most of the
book assignments as he hasn't learned the very, very basic elements of
writing a Java program. At the same time, he is very smart, works hard,
and I know for a fact that he can and will learn Java if exposed to the
right source.
In this case I am convinced the right source is a tutor. There are
innumerable points that can confuse a student and a book or on line
tutorial cannot ask the questions that will address the problems and
ignore the topics that your son already understands. If you know
someone who understands Java and is reasonably articulate ask them to
spend a couple of hours with your son. After that they should be able
to tell you if they are willing to continue helping, he needs a
professional tutor or he should drop the subject.

[snip]
 
T

Thomas Weidenfeller

James said:
I hope this is the right group within which to post this message. If I am
off base, please tell me and I will try a more appropriate group. But, I
do need help for my son, and this was the only place that I know where to
turn for help.

Please don't multipost. You posted to at least another group, and now
the discussion is split among two groups :-(
My son is in high school, and is taking a basic Java course. The text
book is called "Java Methods", An Introduction to Object-Oriented
Programming. The authors are Maria and Gary Litvin.

I had a look at the publisher's web page
http://www.skylit.com/javamethods/index.html and the material they have
about the book on that page, especially the "student files". I honestly
think this is not a great textbook. E.g. judging from the example code
they use concepts and classes in early chapters like chapter 3 which are
only introduced in much later chapters (e.g. graphics is used in these
early chapters but it is chapter chapter 15 which is about GUI
programming). The last chapter, chapter 17, is apparently about
object-oriented concepts. But they are talking about it earlier, e.g. in
chapter 4 together with about Events (GUI events?). This doesn't make
much sense.

Another thing which puts me off is the introduction of an own I/O class.
That code smells like an attempt to get some C/C++ class ported to Java.
But what puts me most off the the heavy applet-centric approach. No
wonder that chapter 2 is called "Designing Web Pages with HTML".

I can see why teachers might like it. The publisher offerers free
PowerPoint slides for use in the classroom.
Some of the book assignments simply say, "Write a program that will do the
following..... etc, etc "

This is not untypical for programming books. First a set of bits and
pieces is presented, then the students are required to assemble the bits
and pieces into a program. This is maybe different from the way other
subjects are taught. You might want to check if your son is not just
running into the problem of looking for an adaptable template solution
where there is non, and instead needs to engage his brain.
3. Does anyone know of an outstanding book , that effectively teaches Java
Object Oriented Programming, in a manner that a teenager could pick it up
(without teacher assistance) if he were willing to work hard at it ??

Working hard is not the only key factor to success. Some people are not
talented to write poems, other's can't paint, some are bad at sports or
languages, and some are just not talented to write programs. Don't push
things to hard.

/Thomas
 

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