[SATLUG] nnOT: Recommendations to engage novice programmers with feasible & realistic programming task

Don Davis dondavis at reglue.org
Tue Dec 4 09:11:14 CST 2012

Programmers, CS & IT specialists,

I'm developing a prototype for a learning environment for complete
novice programmers (read no experience whatsoever)(many of whom may
never program again). They will be asked to complete some programming
tasks for a fictional community-oriented nonprofit. They will create (or
alter an existing) AppInventor program that could hypothetically
resemble something a programmer might be called upon to do.

So far, I've thought of - a) generate an app to create a mailing list,
b) create an app that maps something using GPS coordinates, c) batch
edit some pics for a web site.

The program should be potentially relevant but doable in AppInventor
(think relatively simple) and as accessible as possible to a complete
novice i.e. writing scripts to fire off SQL triggers across various
databases or checking disk integrity won't be the way to go.

Balancing feasibility and reality for *complete novice* programmers,
what sort of tasks might you recommend?

Thank you for your time - please respond off list.

Additionally, I will need to film someone, who is bilingual
Spanish-English, (very briefly) giving the instructions, in case you or
someone you know may be interested....

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