Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: TeenCoder Java Series

Like many teens today, Luke is very interested in learning to computer program.  He was excited to have the opportunity to review the TeenCoder Java Series from Homeschool Programming.  This course offers instruction in Java (1st semester) and Android (2nd semester) programming.  We received the Java Year Pack, including instructional videos, and it is priced at $155.  It is intended for grades 9 and up.


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The course offerings from Homeschool Programming begin with levels aimed at 4th grade and up.  They are written by homeschool parents who are also software engineers.  The courses are self-study, so they don't require that the parent know anything about the programming language their child is studying, which is fabulous if you have no interest or time (like me) to learn programming.

There are no pre-requisite for the Java course, but the Java course is a pre-requisite for the Android programming course.  You won't need to purchase any additional software to use this course.  As a bonus, this course can be used to study for the AP Computer Science A exam!

In the Java semester, your student will learn:
  • Introduction to the Java programming language
  • Creating graphical applications
  • Using dialog controls
  • Java data types and variables
  • User input and flow control
  • Math functions and string operations
  • Java debugging and exception handling
  • Object-oriented programming concepts
  • Classes, inheritance, and polymorphism
  • Collections, sorting, and recursion

In the Android semester, your student will learn:
  • Introduction to the Android Development Tools
  • Understanding and editing XML files
  • Creating and switching between screens
  • Managing Android screen layouts
  • Using graphical Android UI widgets
  • Saving data to internal storage and SD cards
  • Debugging using the emulator
  • Displaying images and loading image resources
  • Progress, date/time, and alert dialogs
  • Menus and notifications
  • SMS messaging and networking concepts
  • Creating home app widets
  • Using Location (GPS) services
  • Publishing to the Android Market

We received a download of the TeenCoder Java Series, along with instructional DVDs.  You can view a sample student lesson of the Java series here, and the Android series here.  The download has an easy to navigate menu that allows you to jump from one PDF lesson or activity to the next.  There is a separate easy to navigate menu for the solutions and tests.  The instructional DVDs are not needed, but they are well done and a nice addition to the program.  You can view a sample from the Java DVD here.

When this course arrived, I gave Luke the link to download the manuals and handed him the DVDs and told him to work on it.  He's got such an interest that it didn't take any prodding at all to get him going.  Here are his thoughts and opinions:

"It strengthened my understanding of different programming fundamentals.  It got kind of boring, but I still learned a lot, so being boring didn't matter that much.  The DVDs were probably the most helpful part.  I liked the layout of the program once I got everything downloaded. The student guide was easy to understand.  The projects helped me understand the Java programming language.  I plan on finishing the course and look forward to learning more.  I would recommend this to any friends who might be interested in learning Java."

I liked that I could be pretty much hands off, and Luke could explore his interest in programming.  If you've got a high school student wanting to learn Java and/or Android programming (or another language), take a look at the offerings from Homeschool Programming.

For more reviews of Homeschool Programming courses , visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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