[Edu-sig] pedagogy, programming environments, and readings
Sun, 06 Feb 2000 10:19:43 -0800
I am becoming increasingly aware of the two schools of thought
that Dave Scherer posted about recently: (1) lets use Python
now, how? and (2) we need more/better tools too. Jim accurately
point out (at the end a recent post) that both schools find a
footing in the actual text of the CP4E, a sort of "founding
document" for this group.
I don't think it's either/or. I'm quite in agreement that
teaching Python requires background development -- at the very
least the public sharing of a lot of .py files (I liked the
PythonForge.com suggestion). Websites with template lesson
plans and integrated Python, made known to teachers, is a
goal I'd very much like to see realized. And I see no barriers
to providing such content immediately (I'm already a provider,
and found Python very suitable in its present form).
Personally, what I want to see along the lines of (2), are
pointers to web sites and possibly other listservs where
developers are actually developing/implementing. I'd like
to lurk, in many cases, or at least check out the approach.
For example, it sounds like this Alice stuff could take up
a lot of bandwidth (usefully, with good reason).
What I personally don't particularly want to read a lot of is
"good ideas" by people who are not actually doing anything to
implement them. Developers who
(a) have an idea and
(b) are publicly committing to testing/implementing
have credibility. But people who just want to dream of a
bright tomorrow, and hope others will do all the work, have
little to say that I want to read. That's just my own bias.
I can apply my own filters and don't pretend these are
"moderator remarks" -- many people posting here may never
read these words, or care what my biases are.
It's very common when a topic is as rich as this one for
the flood of business to at times become overwhelming. The
standard response is to delegate big chunks to "committees"
(don't have to call 'em that) and get summary reports back
from time to time. Maybe it's harder to organize such infra-
structure on-line, among spontaneously posting individuals,
but I've seen it work in other cyberspace contexts. It's
very easy to create listservs these days, and web sites.
So I remain optimistic that after this initial period of
flailing around, we'll continue on an even keel with a
strong sense of direction and purpose.