[Edu-sig] Getting it going (long)

Ulf Engstrøm ulf.engstrom@b2b-link.com
Fri, 04 Feb 2000 08:19:00 CET

> > Seems like some people have gathered up now, but still the posting is 
>close > to nothing.
>That's probably because everyone thinks "I'm not talking yet because I
>don't want to repeat things". I'm going to say everyone joining after now
>to read the archives.

But reading the archives can't take more then 10 minutes as of now, and then 
they don't have to be afraid to repeat. I think it's mostly a matter of 
people not really knowing what to say before everything's gotten started. 
I'm one of those people who really doesn't like it when it too quiet and 
therefore talking with or without something to say ;)

> > With what intentions do you all get into this and what kind of 
>discussions > should we have?
>Everythink concerning education:
>* changes to Python like case insensitivity
>* how to explain things in books, lik a variable is a box with a
>   sticker on it, a dictionairy is a... a class is a...
>* CP4E
>* ...any suggestions?

I don't wanna get into a big discussion about this, but I really prefer a 
language to be case sensitive. I know some people have trouble seeing the 
difference between upper and lower case, so it might be a thing that would 
have to be changed in order for 'Everyone' to learn. I just hope it won't be 

> > The post from Matthias Felleisen for example wasn't really > focusing on 
>Python but on CP4E using any existing languages or creating one.
>I wouldn't like it if Python became case sensitive. But that's me. If
>there'll be a big quarrel, we can split up the interpreter. But I hope
>that won't be necesarry, because it would only give more difficulties.

Splitting the interpreter is not such a good idea, and it'd mean a lot of 
problems importing modules, since some people are going to use var-names 
such as In instead of using in which is reserved, as long as the language is 
case sensitive.

> > Are we focusing on general CP4E or Python?
>CP4E, with Python as language.

OKi :)

> > Do we wanna build new tools,
>No, we want to extent idle. One patch I want to write is that
>"if a:" autoindents, "if a: # if it's true" does not. I can't find where
>to change it, and that's one thing Guido pointed out: tools would make
>that easier. Especially (how do you spell that word?) for kids. But I
>don't think new tools would be needed for that: idle could be extended
>and promoted.

Then I think we come to another question as well; seems like we're focusing 
a lot about learning for children (which I like), but I think that if we're 
talking everyone, we should talk about older novices as well. And they don't 
need an extended IDLE, they don't need 3D-stuff. They just need someone to 
show them Python.
I think even a lot of kids could learn a lot from the current IDLE, which I 
myself really like for fast interaction.

> > make smaller implications of the core language of Python,
>Why would we?

Something smaller is easier to learn, and eventhough the core language is 
not that big, there are still some things in there that's been on the 
python-list that 'can' be taken away. Take the well-talked-of lambda (Sorry 
for bringing it up again Guido), it's used a whole lot now and can't be 
taken away, but is that something someone wanna try to teach a novice? Also 
in the standard distribution there's a lot of things that a beginner to a 
language don't need. "OKi, so don't use them". But if they're there, you ARE 
gonna look them up, right? At least that's the curious me ;)

> > or discuss how to teach,

Great :)
Are there many school-teachers here? Are people planning to teach as an 
extra thing? Someone wanna teach teachers?
I myself would like to go to a couple of schools and just show them Python, 
I think that'd make a big difference. Also planning on writing some 
programming things.

> > which books are good for teaching
> > and what books we can write? (I'm interested either way:)
>I'd love to see such a book. And because it's for kids, translating
>is important. I want to help with the book. I think I'm the youngest
>one here who learned programming as a kid, *almost* with python. I tried
>to learn Python first, but didn't understand it. After a Logo like
>language, learning what variables and lists are, I did understand it.

I'm not very old either, and I've been more or less programming since your 
age (started a little earlier, got stuck without a computer for a couple of 
years and returned;), but I didn't know of Python 'til last year, after 
going through a 15 languages or so, not beeing an expert in either one. But 
after learning a lot of basics from languages I know how *I* like an 
introduction to be and how I learn. (One thing is that I'm an 'by example' 

>I think that bridge should be destroyed. Not only for English speaking
>kids, but also for Dutch, German, French, Japanese and Chinese speaking
>kids. But translating is definately something for the future.

Of course :)

> > I've been programming for a couple of years and stumbled onto Python 6 > 
>months ago, and now I do all my programming in Python. I'm trying to help > 
>some of my friends to start programming with Python instead of C/C++ which 
> > they are beeing taught in school now, but don't get at all. Their 
>progress > in Python is a lot better however. I think Python is a perfect 
>language to > start out with and I'd sure like to teach it to people of any 
>age. (I'm not > a teacher, but I might get to teach others in my job)
>I already got *five* people to learn Python instead of C, C++, Perl, Pascal
>and Java :)

That's great going, and if now everyone in here get 5 new, and each of those 
5 get 5 new and ... and... ;) We're gonna conquer the world ;)

Ulf Engstrøm

(mail)  ulf.engstrom@b2b-link.com
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