[Edu-sig] Python @ Education: What are your problems?

Michael Williams michael.williams@st-annes.oxford.ac.uk
Fri, 31 May 2002 11:36:20 +0100

On Thu, May 30, 2002 at 09:13:39AM -0400, Kirby Urner wrote:
> Seems if your goal is to get right to Physics and not master Python as a 
> language per se (i.e. Python is very much a means to an end), then 
> you could teach students to go:
>    from courseware import * 
> at the top of their programs.   Inside of this module could be included
> various shortcuts of this nature (e.g. readln).  This might save time
> better spent on physics.  In other words, code up to a higher, yet more
> specialized level, and use this customized API in class (the module 
> might well include some routines for Numeric and GnuPlot stuff).

We already have such a library that imports some functions for printing
programs and output, and the appropriate Numeric and Gnuplot objects. If
we found a satisfactory way of simplifying the kind of input we want to
do this is precisely where it would go.

As you say, we're in the business of teaching Physics (and programming
for Physics) and not Python. Our main concern is getting a consistent
input and output model from both stdin/out and file. The string.split()
method isn't appallingly complex and is by no means a show-stopper, so
if it turns out that using it increases student's understanding of what
is going on by making everything more consistent we may stick with that.