[Edu-sig] Python for math teachers (Google videos)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Fri Jan 26 23:26:27 CET 2007

On 1/26/07, Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.net> wrote:
> kirby urner wrote:
> > Plus you want to start exposure young enough to see if you have some
> > child prodigies.  You can't have child prodigies if you keep the computer
> > locked up until they have beards.
> I am not proposing keeping it locked up.  I am making the modest
> proposal that we keep it in perspective.

The *sounds* modest, yes, plus leaves you free to critique any actual
implementation of a perspective as immodest.  Calling for perspective
isn't really doing any work, is just being modest.  *Providing* perspectives
is the name of the game.

> Do I have a problem with Squeak??  Not in the least.  It would be
> inconsistent with everything I am trying to say to have a problem with a
>  piece of software, especially one that is technically interesting by
> just about everyone's assessment.  I have a problem with overreaching,
> Millennialist ideas and claims, Grand Fallooning and etc and etc.  It
> happens, for whatever reason, that happens a lot surrounding Squeak.
> But it is not Squeak.

And I have a problem with the status quo, 15-18 year olds getting practically
zero exposure to geek culture in high school, to where by the time it's time
to choose a career, so many are already turned off on that possibility, having
absorbed lots of stereotypes, but never any Python.

Yet when I teach kids in this age group this stuff, mixed with a lot of math,
they often clamor for more (as do their parents, others guardians -- one of
the dads sat through much of my last class actually).

Geek culture is like a missing ingredient in their diet.  Geek culture seems
*good* in at least *small* doses.  But right now, it's still *no* doses, pretty
much across the board.  Just a lot of stereotyping, misleading TV and movies.

> I like it just as little when it happens surrounding Python, BTW.
> Art

And I dislike it surrounding the pontificating used to justify Algebra
I, Algebra II,
Geometry, Pre-calc, Calc (in whatever order), all undisturbed fossils
for the ages,
no chance of any Python unless we jump through stupid hoops proving over and
over we're not just full of snake oil (got some __ribs__ in here too).

No, I prefer to go on the offensive.  If we're talking hype,
hollowness, stoopid
waste of time, it's what's being rammed down their defenseless little throats
day in and day out as a matter of unthinking routine.  *Un*acceptable to not
at least have a real *choice*.  As a geek, I'm somewhat militant about it.  My
ethnicity deserves a place in the sun too.


PS:  http://www.4dsolutions.net/ocn/stickworks.html video has definite sound
problems (gets quieter half way through).

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