[Edu-sig] creating an interface vs. using one (Michel Paul)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Sep 25 16:47:04 CEST 2006

On 9/25/06, Peter Chase <pchase at sulross.edu> wrote:
> I would be happy to raise a peep if I knew what the hell you and Kirby
> were talking about.
> Maybe someone in this group could explain it to a Bear of Very Little
> Brain, like me.
> In simple terms.  Without using abstractions any more than strictly
> necessary.

As I understand it, Arthur and I were arguing about how to best
leverage the educational asset known as VPython (vpython.org), used at
Carnegie Mellon, Saturday Academy etc., as a part of the physics
curriculum or whatever.

He advocates stuffing it in the Standard Library so anyone downloading
core Python from python.org (which includes said library -- cite
"batteries included" slogan) will automatically put VPython in the

I advocate focusing instead on the differences between schools willing
to excel, by experimenting with new ideas, vs. those choosing to march
in lockstep with the mediocres and just "get by".

I think schools should manage their own distros (i.e. valve and
control what goes on their servers and/or is available to faculty for
classroom use).  Python.org shouldn't have to lift a finger, is it
already plays its role perfectly, as a source of links and core

Here on edu-sig, we provide a resource to the bolder, more
experimental schools, in part by conspiring to show how Python might
be used to put kids on a fast track towards high level  mathematical
sophistication, including a better awareness of abstract algebra,
thanks to our snake's __rib__ syntax i.e. our ability to overload
operators with special names.

Many talented teachers contribute to this effort, including Arthur
when he's not pretending to some high level of business savvy or
fighting his MIT teddy bear.


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