[Edu-sig] Textbooks

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 16:20:09 CET 2006

> SO:  Any recommendations as to course textbooks?  Or just go with Zelle
> and/or O'Reilly's latest wood rat book?
> -   The students presumably have had programming courses already.
> -   I would think that K-12 students would be happier if they could
> generate some graphics.
> -   This is a 6-weeks course.  Little leisure time.
> Appreciate any advice.
> Peter Chase
> Sul Ross State University

I still like Zelle's best and includes some graphics (Tk-based, using his
own graphics.py).

Some of the online tutorials are quite worthwhile as well:
http://diveintopython.org/ is freely downloadable.

Or roll your own (that's what I've been doing).

Another way to get graphics is to write scene description language (POV-Ray)
or even VRML from Python.  I've used this approach successfully, but only
because I give students access to prewritten modules.  Like, we might build
our own vector class, with a module that already expects to use vectors.

VPython is still more graphically exciting.

If you're teaching people who're going to be in turn teaching Python, then I
think the job is more to showcase what's possible, often in demo mode.  Give
a sense of the possibilities.  Mastery of all these options needn't be the
goal of the course.  I'd focus on enough mastery of basic core Python to
leave students with a sense of "hey, this ain't so hard, I could really be
productive with this!"

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