JoC, Teacher Commentary 3: Objects and classes

    Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become
    what they are capable of becoming.
            — Goethe

So, here we go, the first instalment of a Teacher Commentary.

If, you may ask, this is the first one, why then is it called “Teacher Commentary 3”?

Fair question, but there is method in this madness. I have decided to number them not sequentially, but in sync with the main Joy of Code episodes. Each Teacher Commentary will get the number of the episode it refers to. Since this commentary talks about episode 3, it is Teacher Commentary 3 (or TC-3, as I will soon start to call them in the headings).

Sometimes the teacher commentaries may not be tightly associated with an episode, but they will still fit in somewhere in the sequence, so they will get whatever number we’re up to in the main episode sequence.

One more rhetorical question before we get to the video: What is a “teacher commentary”?

The TC videos are meant for people who are not only concerned with learning object-oriented programming, or Greenfoot, or Java, but with teaching it. It talks to you as a teacher.

If you are not a teacher, you’re of course welcome to look at it as well, but I’m not sure how interesting this will be for you. Maybe your time is better spent moving on to the next main episode. (You won’t miss anything important.) Your choice.

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6 thoughts on “JoC, Teacher Commentary 3: Objects and classes

  1. I’d like to say, as a complete failed ‘programmer’ of more than 30 years (I tried Basic back in the 80s and never got past that!) and as someone who has always felt they should be able to program (I teach maths!), this is the first time I have begun to understand the terminology and oh, how I agree with you to present it in this visual way. I am so excited to start writing the code now, but always before, I have been trying to decipher why I have different brackets, semi-colons etc because all I have seemed to be shown is someone else’s code. While I see this will be helpful further down the road, explaining as you have the main concepts which I have been able to understand from a visual perspective has made SO much sense and to think that I now understand within 10 minutes when you talk about classes, objects,methods etc is such an eye-opener to me. Thank you SO much. I love the teacher commentary too because that also helps me to understand what you are trying to do in your ‘lessons’. I can’t wait for the next one!

  2. Michael … you mention that there’s a philosophy behind your approach of introducing a concept without necessarily explaining it in detail and then coming back to it several times in order to allow students to build up their learning gradually — I think at one point in the commentary you called it a spiral model. It makes a lot of sense but could you provide pointers to key literature? Also, I assume that the use of graphics and simulations to get students enthused by programming is well supported in the literature by experiments in Logo and Squeak, etc. It’s great to see that approach being used with a first-class industry-strength programming language like Java.

  3. Hi Chris,

    Unfortunately, I can’t help you here. The spiral model is certainly not new. I have used it in my textbooks for years (for both BlueJ and Greenfoot) and so have many others. However, I have only anecdotal “evidence” for it’s benefit. I don’t know of any literature looking into this specifically.

    Maybe someone else can help?

  4. Hi Kölling!
    If I want to download a scenerio from this blog (May be Hedgehog scenerio!), then how? Where is the link/icon/bar for that here?
    I am sorry if the question is stupid or unmatured, but I actually don’t know how to download a scenerio from here./
    Jabir Al Fatah
    Kristianstad university
    Sweden.

  5. Excellent! Thanks very much – I totally agree with the pedagogy of teaching concepts rather than syntax.

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