[Edu-sig] Dynamic Worksheets (scrolling, embedded animations & testing -- credit-accruing)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Dec 18 00:14:29 CET 2005

So I'm thinking the way to do worksheets is to think of a scrolling web
page, with embedded applets, and with reader challenges built in, with some
kind of automatic scoring (useful feedback).

The style of the worksheet would of course reflect the artistic
sensibilities (or lack thereof) of the author.  I've been influenced by the
O'Reilly 'head first' series: http://headfirst.oreilly.com/

Somewhere in a sidebar, or maybe even front and center, Python learners
should see:

mytuple = ( element, )
listcopy = [ comma, separated, elements ][:]
{dictionary}[lookup] = newelement

and variations on that theme.  The point is to reinforce a lot of related
concepts using nifty mnemonics.  For example, it's not just that tuples are
parenthesis-defined, but that a single element requires a comma.  With
lists, we address the need for a slice, if we want to avoid a double-naming
the same referent in memory.  With the last line, we illustrate adding to a
dictionary using the assignment operator.

This is but one example.  Another would be:


where noun = object; verb is for method (args = eatables); state could be an
adjective (green), or even a property, with getter / setter verbs behind the

For more on properties:
http://mail.python.org/pipermail/edu-sig/2005-August/005059.html (ff.

An inheritance path might be

Class0 (object) -> Class1 (Class 0) -> Class2 (Class1)  -> Class3 (Class2)

where these nouns are class objects, superclasses going left, subclasses
going right.

These little alphanumeric mnemonics need to be abetted with multiple
pictures.  For example, a complex number sequence, generated from some
arbitrary point on the complex plane, per Mandelbrot or Julia, should loop
through Python stepwise, while doing something graphical directly adjacent
(a pixel attains some color value, vectors swing around -- many options).

I'm influenced here by J Language pedagogy, which goes to great lengths to
tie up with "parts of speech", thereby making "grammar" the right word to
apply when studying J's structure and syntax.
http://www.4dsolutions.net/ocn/Jlang.html  (Kenneth Iverson himself helped
me squish some typos before he died -- I think there're still one or two).

These "Prosperos Books" (some from O'Reilly?), could be used in a community
college setting, sometimes in testing situations i.e. under controlled
conditions that measure student performance in some pre-agreed-upon way.

Related reading:
http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2005/12/another-interesting-day.html (click in
MER in "After dark, I wrote an essay on
KBE <http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2005/10/saturday-academy.html>,...")

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