[Edu-sig] pedagogy, programming environments, and readings

David Scherer dscherer@cmu.edu
Sun, 6 Feb 2000 14:23:09 -0500

> 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.

I would be disturbed to be placed in this category, since I'm currently
putting at least 25 hours a week into a project to design and implement a
graphics and visualization library for Python, a GUI library for Python, a
novice-friendly IDE, and a properly packaged and supported distribution that
includes all of this.  There are several other people at Carnegie Mellon
also working on this project (see Bruce Sherwood's post to the case
sensitivity thread).  When our work is ready for prime-time, we will
certainly post it here for review.

That doesn't mean that I want to limit my discussion of new features and
possible work to things that I, personally, expect to be developing.  Nor do
I want others to do so - if you suggest some tool that would vastly improve
your classroom, but have no idea how to implement it, I may find that it
fits perfectly into my plans.  Blue-sky discussion of how things should be,
tempered by realistic discussion of how things can never be, is EXACTLY what
us active tool developers need.

From what I've seen everyone here has something valuable to add.  Guido can
hardly be accused of waiting for other people to do the work for him.  Which
poster can be?

I think that the signal-to-noise ratio in the SIG has actually been quite
good.  The problem is that one person's signal is another person's noise,
and this SIG still lacks a charter.

> 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.

Infrastructure enhancements would improve the situation greatly.  In fact,
mailing lists are intrinsically a poor forum for people without adequate
mail filters and clients (such as several of my colleagues).

As long as the daily traffic is high, I suggest that people who don't want
to deal with a high traffic volume in their inbox simply read the archives
daily.  The threaded view is very usable.

I would be quite content to change my earlier proposal from "Split the SIG"
to "form a tools committee" if that wording would make it clearer that we
are still all on the same side :)

Dave Scherer