[Chicago] Python in local school systems?

Michael Tobis mtobis at gmail.com
Wed Jan 31 23:15:56 CET 2007


I don't see why IT momentum should have anything to do with teaching logical
thinking to people who probably aren't going to be professional programmers.
Pretty UIs are not computer literacy any more than Excel spreadsheets are.

Skills are transient. Develop intelligence and you can acquire skills as
needed. High school should be about education, at least as much as about
skills.

Teaching "Java" or "BASIC" or "Python" to great masses of high school
students is silly. Most jobs require no coding. Marketable skills should be
taught in college, not in high school.

Using programming to teach ideas is not at all silly. It is the original
idea of computer literacy. Maybe the schools never really understood this
very well, but that is no reason to let the matter drop.

You need a language to teach the sorts of ideas that constitute
programming.  Logical thinking is the goal. Python is a better platform for
teaching the student how to think than BASIC or Java, for somewhat different
reasons. In both cases comes down to the fact that ultimately there is a lot
less distraction. In Python you start thinking about the ideas immediately.
You aren't constantly distracted by the language.

mt

On 1/31/07, DeanG <goodmansond at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >
> I think one of the challenges of teaching CS courses in high school to
> folks that don't want to pursue CS as a major is making the course
> interesting. With a RAD tool like VB is easy for everyone to throw
> together a nice app that can do something they like. With something
> like Python that might be harder to do (Tkinter or WxPython
> anyone???).
> >
> Agile is straightforward in Python. Desktop RAD is straightfoward in
> *BASIC.
> And with the massive IT momentum of VB shops it's cinched.
>
> Poland chose REALbasic  http://realsoftware.com/news/pr/2006/poland/
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