[python-advocacy] [Edu-sig] education as Python killer app

Jeff Rush jeff at taupro.com
Sat May 26 10:46:25 CEST 2007

Michael Tobis wrote:
> Is education Python's killer app? I think it could be.
> I used the occasion of the Python Papers to motivate my efforts to
> explain this idea, and you can see what I came up with on pages
> 8-15.

Michael, thanks for writing for the Python Papers.  I found your article quite
interesting.  I would ask though, of what education are you thinking?  I mean,
there is the use of Python to teach programming, and there is the teaching of
other topics but using Python to do it.  And there is the teaching of children
versus adults, although a case can be made for some degree of overlap there.

Much of the effort I've seen is to teach programming, but the OLPC project has
intrigued me more to consider non-programming topics.  Since I hang out mostly
with other programmers, this is challenging.

> I suggest a concerted effort by the community toward leveraging the
> OLPC/Sugar momentum to revive the idea of Python as tool for teaching
> some programming as a useful part of universal education.

While there are those who enjoy solving abstract problems, programming or
otherwise, if seems to me that if we're going to tackle CP4E (computer
programming for everyone, for those not aware of the history), we have to make
programming not the end-goal but the tool for doing the things in which those
people are interested.  CP4E will never make the vast majority of people
programming geeks.

So it seems to me that it would advance the cause, of programming in general
and Python specifically, if a repository of resources were assembled.  I'm
sure some of these exist scattered across the net but some I've never been
able to find.  And non-programmers can be so impatient in rummaging through
sites, understandably wanting to get on with solving their problem.

I tossed together a very rough wiki page of some ideas I've been kicking
around.  These resources attempt to answer a response I get frequently when I
push the learning of Python, that of "but what would I -do- with Python once I
learned it?".


I call that group "new programmers" - somehow calling them normal or average
folk seems mildly insulting to someone, and calling them "non-programmers"
isn't accurate if our goal is to teach them programming, albeit non-vocational
style.  "Non-professional programmers"?  "Typical" people?  "Making People


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