[Edu-sig] Re: Teaching Middle-School Math with Python

Matthias Felleisen matthias@rice.edu
Sun, 8 Oct 2000 14:50:09 -0500 (CDT)

Fred Barlett writes: 

  The only other languages I found in my web searches used below the
  college level were Java, C/C++, (Visual)Basic, and Scheme -- none of
  which would be appropriate at the level I'm contemplating. But Python,
  for all its virtues, is a relatively obscure language. It's a good bet
  that no one at the Board of Ed has heard of it!

Hmph -- our project has used Scheme very successfully at the middle school
level. We have had one teacher write that the kids were so excited about
the algebra class that she had to ask for the books back so that they
wouldn't work too far ahead. Several of the kids' parents asked her what
was wrong with their kids -- they volunteered to stay at school after hours
and do math. 

Also, as you start working with educators and educrats you will find out
that "obscure" isn't helpful at all. If technology isn't fashionable, and 
I mean "big fashionable" it's an uphill struggle. They don't want their
kids to learn to think. They want to have public relation successes ("We
teach the latest technology that MS produces and that was on the cover of
the economist"). 

-- Matthias