I think the way that things were taught was off-putting too. When I had to learn C in university, it was a terrible experience. The updates to the language made in 1999 (C99 dialect) improved the language a ton, but we didn't learn about any of that. It almost felt like some of my professors considered it a rite of passage that since C was miserable when they learned it, it was going to be a miserable experience when you learned it too.
I'm fortunate enough that I knew as much as I did in high school because I ended up teaching my AP Computer Science class. The teacher had no experience with programming whatsoever and didn't know Java at all. He was basically learning the language with us. A few people tried really hard to learn it on their own and participate, but 2/3 of the class played Age of Empires or Starcraft against each other everyday and bombed the exam.
It saddens me that kids are in a position where they can't study topics that interest them. My school district was incredibly wealthy, and they couldn't bother to hire a single teacher with programming experience. It makes me fear for creative classes even more...if kids can't get the resources they need to discover if a STEM career is right for them, they probably won't get the chance to learn how to express themselves and develop their own sense of self. I can't help wonder if that's on purpose :(
Funny you should say that, I had AP Computer Science in high school with C++. I relied on everything from that class for my first courses at University. Then when I hit data structures and had a class with 100+ students and the teacher was unavailable, only teaching assistants available. We had no computers in the classroom, the tests were all handwritten code. They added a computer lab to the class about a decade after I left. We didn't use the issued book for the class because the book was littered with errors, but a custom written book that the teacher wrote that was on printouts stapled at the book shop.
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