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Re: Is Scala the Next C++

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Kevin Wright 2
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On 9 September 2011 11:05, Kevin Wright <kev [dot] lee [dot] wright [at] gmail [dot] com> wrote:
Interesting, I wonder how many of those who succeeded in the non-functional course later discovered that programming really wasn't "for them", and would have discovered this sooner given the functional approach.
It's not so good for the university to have dropouts, but perhaps we're not doing the students any favours by lulling them into a false sense of confidence because it boosts pass rates.
The possible explanations are too varied as well:- FP was too familiar with people who already had prior experience of programming via basic and scripting

make that "unfamiliar"  
- The instructors were less familiar with teaching in that style - miranda was perceived as having no commercial relevance- etc.
Still, it *is* an interesting data point!  We need more...
Personally, I was lucky to get early exposure to FP. I started with Logo :)

On 9 September 2011 10:35, Paul Butcher <paul [at] paulbutcher [dot] com> wrote:
On 9 Sep 2011, at 10:10, Kevin Wright wrote:
> I think there's an interesting article to be written here.  Taking a hypothetical person with some maths/algebra schooling, but no programming experience; then comparing the features that they would learn month-by-month in both Java and Scala

This isn't quite the same as what you're proposing, but the university at which I did my degree (Durham, UK) did experiment with introducing students to functional, instead of procedural, programming way back in the 1980s (I was there from 1986-1989).

My year did the "normal" stuff - we started with Pascal and then moved on to ML and Prolog.

The year immediately after us, by contrast, started off with functional programming (Miranda), only coming to a more traditional language (Modula 2) afterwards.

I didn't have any direct experience of this, so everything I know is anecdotal, but I do know that this approach was very unpopular with the students, with half of them dropping out at or before the end of the first year of the course. The following year, the university reverted to a more traditional approach of introducing programming with a procedural language first before moving on to talking about functional languages.

Of course, this might say more about Miranda, or how it was taught, or the students who happened to be in that year, or...

But it's a data point :-)


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