# [Edu-sig] new to python

Mon Jun 12 03:50:24 CEST 2006

```> From: edu-sig-bounces at python.org [mailto:edu-sig-bounces at python.org]
On
> Behalf Of Michel Paul

...del...

> I have learned just enough Python to have shown a little of it to my
math
> department at a meeting recently.  I think they liked what they saw,
in
> fact I know they did, but I sense that they're pretty much entrenched
in
> their TI calculators.  I sense that they feel the TI is enough.  I
don't
> think they quite appreciate the significance of creating something
like a
> Fraction class.  I showed them a set of functions:
>
>   mean(aList),
>   squares(aList),
>   deviationScores(aList)
>   variance(aList): returns mean(squares(deviationScores(aList)))
>   standardDev(aList): returns sqrt(variance(aList))
>
> These could SO easily be implemented in a math class with Python!  And
I
> think it would be so much better for Stat students to ARTICULATE these
> functions rather than to just use a standard deviation key.  I just
love
> how the formula for variance turns into a concept rather than a bunch
of
> variables.  Of course, you can do the same thing in other languages,
but
> with Python you can so EASILY do it in an ordinary Stat class!

I have not taught math with Python (yet), I only use Python in my intro
CS1 class. (Some colleagues of mine at Chapman University are very happy
with Python in various math courses, such as abstract algebra and
discrete math).

While reading Michel's post on the importance of Python in math
education, I remembered a recent conversation with a student in one of
our Python-based CS1 classes at Chapman University. This student was
very positive about how he manages to understand Python and how he
becomes more and more interested in CS. Then, all of a sudden, he told
me that because of his study of Python (in CS1), he now understands math
better and is more confident in his math potential! It was certainly a
very pleasant surprise to hear that CS1 with Python enhances student's
math background. Why and how? - I can only speculate (as Norbert Wiener
put it, a professor is someone who can talk on any subject - for exactly
50 minutes :-)

> So, I'm glad to have found Python and this new educational culture.

You will be glad when you see real results after a while. Python can be
very rewarding.

> Peace,
>
> Michel Paul

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