[Edu-sig] Lets work on the adgenda

Kirby Urner pdx4d@teleport.com
Fri, 11 Feb 2000 06:59:18 -0800

> - Evaluation of language/syntax changes to Python for 
>   reaching a wider programming audience.

Although I think Python will change in some of its "under
the hood" aspects (e.g. maybe garbage collection), I think
these highly technical design issues are being discussed 
in comp.lang.python by top-level Python gurus (including 
some posting here).  Why rehash such material in this 
edu-sig?  Isn't that redundant?

On the other hand, if we trully think really basic changes 
to syntax are required (e.g. changes in case sensitivity, 
division syntax or whatever), then maybe we've decided 
Python is _not_ suitable to this job of making computer 
languages more accessible to more people.  Perhaps it's 
time to disband?  Twas fun while it lasted.

My own agenda is to look for (and contribute) useful ideas 
about how to enchance the curriculum using Python in its 
present form, minus any reliance on vaporware suggested by
people who will not be doing the real work themselves (I've
learned from experience not to put many eggs in vaporware 

Pointers to web pages with working source code are always 
welcome.  Thanks Jeff, http://www.livewires.org.uk/python.html
looks like a valuable resource.

> - Evaluation of the need for some (additional) 'downsized' 
>  version of Python, say, MiniPython (or MontiPython, to
>  avoid copyright issues), if not even PythonScript.

We'll inevitably be using a scaled back version, because 
we will not be importing every module in every lesson 
(plus we will be writing and importing modules of our 
own design).  I don't see the need to develop a pared 
down Python for teaching purposes when its highly modular 
design gives us that already.

> - Evaluation of existing text-books with the goal of
>   adapting them to Python instead of other languages.

Personally, I'm not waiting for text books to catch up, and
think the web has superceded dinosaur mass-published text 
books in many classrooms.  Lots of teachers are doing their
own web sites these days -- a very positive sign.

>- Underlining the fact that CP4E, as Python, is a 'world 
>  movement' and not tied to an American or angle-saxon 
>  audience like K-12 or the like.

K-12 does not mean "anglo-saxon" -- Americans are way more 
ethnically diverse than that.  But I agree we should not be 
focussing on the USA curriculum exclusively.  

Speaking more autobiographically, my own network extends to 
places like Kuala Lumpur and Maseru (I went to high school 
in the Philippines, elementary school in Italy), plus I clerk 
the AFSC program committee behind Portland's UVKrew [1].  

I am happy to see Python making inroads elsewhere (and only 
_some_ communities in the USA will be able to keep up -- 
and not necessarily the mostly anglo-saxon ones). 

Of course Python itself is from the Netherlands originally, 
with a hyperlink across the channel to Anglo culture via 
Monty Python's Flying Circus.


[1] http://www.geocities.com/uvkrew/