[Edu-sig] Split the edu-SIG?

Steve Morris smorris@nexen.com
Sun, 6 Feb 2000 11:27:05 -0500 (EST)


You are making valid points but I think you are rushing a little. I
expect that the current flood of traffic will settle down a lot in a
week or so as people finish stating their initial interests and
objectives. It may be that when the traffic settles we can handle both
threads. There are not completely exclusive. Tool development needs to
be guided by the practical experience of those on the ground trying to
teach. Those on the ground need to understand the possibilities of
what tool people can deliver in the future.

By the way I am clearly on the tool development side but would hate to
move forward without significant feedback from the intended users. 

I also don't think the dichotomy is as clear as you state it. I
suspect that most people are more in the middle. Where do you put
such things as creation of examples. How about packaging examples with
the interpreter, ide and documentation in an easy to deploy package.

I would define your dichotomy as more of a continuous spectrum with
at least these tentative breakdowns:

1) People wanting to use existing software unchanged and looking for
ways to do that.

2) People looking for simple short term enhancements that improve
their ability to deploy in the short term.

3) Longer term ideas of varying scales.

Plese don't try to define this in polarizing us and them terms.


David Scherer writes:
 > 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
 > work.
 > Dave Scherer
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