[Edu-sig] teaching Python

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Tue Nov 23 12:53:28 CET 2004

Darren writes -

> Sorry all - this post will probly stir up a commotion.

I've been stirring up a commotion here for some time by suggesting the
possibility that Python is too rich and complex a tool to be realistically
taught and appreciated by students of the age you are trying to teach who
are not predisposed to some "geekiness".

So maybe if I am correct, you have been trying to bang your head against the
wall, a bit.

But to what extent are you fulfilling your mission to teach programming by
using Gamemaker? Its  a question, not a provocation, since I don't know the

Do you ever get to something that can be considered, fairly, to be

PyGeo is (better, will be) of course the perfect alternative ;) The GUI is
all pre-built (thanks to VPython). Its API is a narrow (and realistically
absorbable) subset of the full range of possibilities. And to the extent it
fails as a tool in teaching something about programming, it might succeed in
teaching something about geometry, and vice versa.  A better hedge in an
educational environment, IMO.  And there is no reason it shouldn't be fun.
Nice and colorful 3d. I do believe fun should be part of the equation.

Just thought I'd venture out of the closet on the possibilities of PyGeo, as
I begin to focus some of my resources on it again.  I was successful in
finding someone quite qualified to help me (as a paid consultant) in the
technical aspects of preparing decent distributions.

We'll see.


> I have been keen on Python for quite a while. I have
> tried using it ti teach programming in a high school
> situation and would have liked to extend into PyGame.
> Sadly, though I feel I DO understand object oriented
> concepts, I DO NOT have any idea of determining what
> objects to create. Similarly, as there is SO MUCH to
> learn before one becomes capable of completing even
> simple tasks like a blackjack cardgame (with gui too)
> ... I am finding students get turned off before they
> even get a chance to see what can be done. I know ...
> it must be just me and the way I teach it. However, I
> have recently revisited Gamemaker. I saw it a few
> years ago and could not make much sense of it. But now
> it is up to version 6, there are loads of fantastic
> tutorials to follow along with. I have introduced it
> to classes from Yr7 - 10 and they love it whereas only
> 2 - 3 of the really "nerdy", "geeky" kids appreciated
> Python!
> My feeling is that Python will never be widely used
> (in schools) unless we can get a PyGamemaker package.
> Even girls have a ball with gamemaker!
> regards
> Darren
> =====
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> regards
> Darren Payne
> Hurlstone Agricultural High School
> Ph: 9829 9222 Fax: 98292026
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