[Edu-sig] Split the edu-SIG?

David Scherer dscherer@cmu.edu
Sun, 6 Feb 2000 10:24:00 -0500

I think there's a deep issue raised by Terry Gabriel's complaint.  There are
two large issues which need to be discussed regarding "Python in education":

1.  Lesson planning, evangelism, course content creation.

2.  Tool improvements, such as IDE enhancements, specialized libraries,
frameworks for problem domains, and, less significantly, future changes to
the language itself.

Clearly these topics are related.  However, there are some obvious problems
with having both of these topics discussed in the same forum:

1.  People who want to start teaching python NOW couldn't care less about
tool development because it will happen too slowly.  They will look on
discussions of (2) as distractions at best.

2.  Similarly, those of us who believe that some tool development is
absolutely a prerequisite to using Python in our environments or for CP4E
find discussion of (1) a little too premature to be helpful.

3.  Discussion of (2) is likely to become excessively technical for some of
the people in this forum.

4.  At least right now, the traffic on the list is much too high for anyone
without procmail and a threaded mail reader.

I am therefore convinced that this forum is inappropriate for discussing
(2).  I therefore put the following question to the SIG:

1.  Is anyone else interested in seriously discussing new or enhanced Python
libraries and tools to make Python more usable in educational settings, or
in a specific curriculum?

2.  If so, is there a better forum to discuss these issues?

3.  If not, should one be created?

If the answer to (1) is no, then let's make that explicit in the SIG
charter, and restrict discussion of tool development to private
communication channels.  Otherwise, let's find another forum.

I'm deeply sorry that anyone felt it necessary to leave the SIG because of
excessive discussion of language issues.  However, I am also aware that
there are several different groups, including Guido at CNRI and our group at
Carnegie Mellon, actively engaged in the development of Python-based
environments for education, and I think there should be *some* forum for us
to communicate with each other and with people interested in applying our

Dave Scherer