"What is "Programming Home Projects with Java" and how it works. - By Alan Payne
These lessons are a highly organized and well-indexed set of lessons in the Java programming language. NetBeans, a specific IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is used throughout the lessons. Lessons are written for the beginner to initiated programmer: the high school, college or university student seeking to advance their computer science repertoire on their own, or the enlightened professional who wishes to embark on Java coding for the first time. Skilled programmers and beginners alike benefit from the style of presentation.
While full solutions are provided, practical projects are presented in an easy-to-follow set of lessons explaining the rational for the solution - the form layout, coding design and conventions, and specific code related to the problem. The learner may follow the tutorials at their own pace while focusing upon context relevant information.
The finished product is the reward, but the learner is fully engaged and enriched by the process. This kind of learning is often the focus of teacher training at the highest level. Every Computer Science teacher and self-taught learner knows what a great deal of work is required for projects to work in this manner, and with these tutorials, the work is done by an author who understands the adult need for streamlined learning.
Graduated Lessons for Every Project. Graduated Learning. Increasing and appropriate difficulty. Great results.
By presenting Home Projects in this graduated manner, adult students are fully engaged and appropriately challenged to become independent thinkers who can come up with their own project ideas and design their own forms and do their own coding. Once the problem-solving process is learned, then student engagement is unlimited! Students literally cannot get enough of what is being presented.
These projects encourage accelerated learning - in the sense that they provide an enriched environment to learn Computer Science, but they also encourage accelerating learning because students cannot put the lessons away once they start! Computer Science provides this unique opportunity to challenge students, and it is a great testament to the authors that they are successful in achieving such levels of engagement with consistency.
My history with the Kidware Software products.
As a learner who just wants to get down to business, these lessons match my learning style. I do not waste valuable time ensconced in language reference libraries for programming environments and help screens which can never be fully remembered! With every Home Project, the pathway to learning is clear and immediate, though the topics in Computer Science remain current, relevant and challenging.
Some of the topics covered in these tutorials include:
- Structure of a Java and Java GUI Program
- Swing Controls
- Managing NetBeans Files
- Data Types and Ranges
- Scope of Variables
- Naming Conventions
- Arithmetic, Comparison and Logical Operators
- String Functions, Dates and Times, Random Numbers,
- Decision Making (Selections)
- Language Functions - String, Date, Numerical
- Writing Your own Methods and Classes
- Sequential File Access, Error-Handling and Debugging techniques
- Distributing a Java Project (in the Appendices)
- and more... it's all integrated into the Home Projects.
The specific Home Projects include:
- Dual-Mode Stopwatch
- Consumer Loan Assistant
- Flash Card Math Quiz
- Multiple Choice Exam Project
- Black Jack Card Game
- Weight Monitor Project
- Home Inventory Manager
- Snowball Toss Game
Quick learning curve by Contextualized Learning - "Programming Home Projects With Java" encourages contextualized, self-guided learning.
With the Programming Home Projects With Java tutorials, sound advice regarding generally accepted coding strategies ("build and test your code in stages", "learn input, output, formatting and data storage strategies for different data types", build graphical components from Java's Swing Control class libraries, etc..) encourage independent thought processes among learners. After mastery, then it is much more likely that students can create their own problems and solutions from scratch. Students are ready to create their own summative projects for their computer science course - or just for fun, and they may think of projects for their other courses as well!
Students may trust the order of presentation in order to have sufficient background information for every project. But the lessons are also highly indexed, so that students may pick and choose projects if limited by time.
Materials already condense what is available from the Java SDK help files (which tends to be written for adults) and in a context and age-appropriate manner, so that students remember what they learn.
The time savings for parents, teachers and students is enormous as they need not sift through pages and pages of on-line help to find what they need.
Meet Different State and Provincial Curriculum Expectations and More
Different states and provinces have their own curriculum requirements for Computer Science. With the Kidware Software products, you may pick and choose from Home Projects which best suit your learning needs. Learners focus upon design stages and sound problem-solving techniques from a Computer Science perspective. In doing so, they become independent problem-solvers, and will exceed the curricular requirements of secondary and post-secondary schools everywhere.
Computer Science topics not explicitly covered in tutorials can be added at the learner's discretion. The language - whether it is Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, or Console Java, Java GUI, etc... is really up to the individual learner !
Lessons encourage your own programming extensions.
Once Computer Science concepts are learned, it is difficult to NOT know how to extend the learning to your own Home Projects and beyond!
Having my own projects in one language, such as Java, I know that I could easily adapt them to other languages once I have studied the Kidware Software tutorials. I do not believe there is any other reference material out there which would cause me to make the same claim! In fact, I know there is not as I have spent over a decade looking!
Having used Kidware Software tutorials for the past decade, I have been successful at the expansion of my own learning to other platforms such as XNA for the Xbox, or the latest developer suites for tablets and phones. I thank Kidware Software and its authors for continuing to stand for what is right in the teaching methodologies which not only inspire, but propel the self-guided learner through what can be a highly intelligible landscape of opportunities."
Alan Payne, B.A.H. , B.Ed.
Computer Science Teacher
T.A. Blakelock High School