Teaching Java Programming - A Big Challenge

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Edited using Pixteller.com

Image Credit: @artbytes via BitLanders

Back To School

By the time of writing, it's been at least two weeks already since the school started for the school year 2018-2019. In my Bio, I mentioned there that I am also a teacher. To be precise, I teach part-time at a private secondary school run by the RVM nuns. Last year I taught for the senior high on their ICT course and Business Math.

This year, I was given an additional task to teach Java Programming to the high school students. Though it has been a while since the last time I had my hands on Java Programming, I accepted the task. I believe, by teaching the subject, I will learn more and make things clearer in my head.

 

 

While we teach, we learn - Seleca

Image Credit: Edit using Pixteller by @artbytes via Bitlanders

As I assessed the students for their knowledge of programming, I realized I am about to face a big challenge in teaching Java Programming to these students.

Image Credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay

Why Teach Java Programming?

I wanted to teach the kids some programming skills that they can use even after they graduate college. I don't want to limit their knowledge on a single operating system (OS) programming language as well. Of course, there are other versatile and cross-platform programming languages like Python and Ruby, but research shows that more employers are looking for Java Programming skills than any other programming languages.

Here's a short video stating why learning Java Programming is a good choice.

Why you should learn Java Programming?

Video Credit: Treehouse via YouTube

 

Challenges in Teaching Java Programming

Teaching the Java Programming language itself is not that difficult for me. Although I am not expert in this programming, I can share with the students the basics. Here are three of the challenges that I face in teaching java programming.


1. No or Very Little programming knowledge.

computer_programming

Most of my students have no or little idea about programming.

Image Credit: @Lukasbieri  via Pixabay

Unfortunately, in the Philippines, teaching computer programming languages to secondary or high school students is not yet very well integrated into the curriculum, especially here in the provinces.

As I assess the Grade 10 students, I realized that they have memorized some ideas, but it seems they hardly understood the concepts of computer programming.

So my first challenge is, these students have no or very little knowledge and understanding of computer programming. Let alone about Object Oriented Programming

 

Computer code

Image Credit: @Boskampi via Pixabay

 

2. Limited Time

Another challenge in teaching Java programming to these students is the very limited time we have. We meet twice a week for an hour per meeting only. In my experience, one hour per session in the laboratory is not. I have to devise a way to maximize their productivity within that limited time

The two hours per week meeting is very limited.

Image Credit:@nile via Pixabay

3. Uninterested Students

Perhaps the biggest interest of all is getting the interest of the students in learning Java Programming. I don't expect that all one hundred or so students will be interested in learning Java Programming. I am not even sure if I could get a third of them interested.

Some of the students are probably not interested  to learn computer programming

Image Credit: @geralt via Pixabay

Meeting the Challenges

These are the three biggest of the challenges in teaching Java Programming to secondary students. I can't avoid these challenges. I have no other choice but to meet these challenges and device some ways to counter them. So far here are the solutions that I can think of.


1. Start From the Basic

Actually, these students were introduced to Java Programming last year. However, they discussed this in the second half of the school year only. With so limited time, they had discussed so little.

From the pre-test that I gave them last week, I found out that at least 60% of the students can recall some of the theories that they discussed last year. However, when I was explaining to them the basics, I can see in their eyes that they understood so little. Some don't understand what I was talking about at all.

So I have to start from the basic of Java Programming. I might share some of the lessons here as well soon, or create another Blogspot page for this purpose.

 Basic structure of a Java Code

Image credit: atnlya.com

 

2. Use Online Resources

Fortunately, I found Code Academy (codeacedemy.com) last year. In this site, you can learn almost any programming and scripting languages without installing anything.

Personally, one of my problems is I am using an Android Tablet. I'm not sure if there is a Java Development Kit (JDK) for Android, but I can't install any app anymore without sacrificing the performance of my tablet.

With an online resource like Code Academy, I can easily create simple Java programs and see the output right away, without installing anything.

With online resources, the students can continue to learn and practice Java Programming from their own home or from an Internet Cafe.

Screenshot of Code Academy

Image Credit: @artbytes via BitLanders

Aside from Code Academy, here are some other Interactive tutorial sites that I found.

Here's a video with a list of other online resources in learning Java programming the fun way

Fun ways to learn Java Programming

Video Credit: Techy Help via  YouTube

3. Make it Interesting

Perhaps this is the most difficult challenge. With at least 100 distinct personalities, I have to find something in common with this kids. The plan is, I find out their interests and group them accordingly. Then give them tasks or projects.

java

If I could align my programming lessons to their interests, maybe I could get them at least curious about programming as well.

Image Credit: @geralt via Pixabay

 

 

I just wish there are sites like the ones listed on this article "Bored With Programming Books? Try 3 Fun Ways To Level Up Your Coding Skills" for Java. Unfortunately, the list is for Javascript not Java Programming.

For now, I guess I need to be more creative in my teaching methods more than ever.


Thanks for reading.

 ~oO0Oo~


John Reynold Loberiza (a.k.a @artbytes) is a freelance graphic artist, web developer, and blogger. He is also a  licensed Financial Adviser under Insular Life. 

The content of this blog post is the author's original work. Proper credit is always given to the respective sources of information and images. Please feel free to check out my other blog posts: http://www.bitlanders.com/Artbytes/blog_post 

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About the author

Artbytes

I'm a self trained graphic artist web designer/developer, IT Consultant a teacher and a father of two..
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