[Edu-sig] a non-rhetorical question

Jeff Rush jeff at taupro.com
Sat Jul 7 16:31:26 CEST 2007

Michael Tobis wrote:
> I have had great success starting with ascii art, drawing boxes and
> triangles out of blanks and punctuation characters. By the time the
> kite figure is drawn, the utility of input() is obvious. I think you
> and Guzdial (and Andy Harrington who uses your book) are right to
> proceed to graphics fairly quickly. Guzdial and hackety also stress
> music.
> It's necessary to demonstrate the power and joy of the tool to get
> people interested.

An interesting idea - teaching with ascii art.  Some teach with pixel art and 
some with games.  You know, it'd be useful to have a wiki page on 
www.python.org under the educational section that collected the various 
educational ideas for a teacher to consider when designing a new course.

Another cool thing would be if some of the instructors could record some 
screencasts for www.showmedo.com where they demonstrated their approach 
on-screen, and talked over explaining why and what they were trying to achieve 
and what results they've seen with it.  I'm curious to see how ascii art can 
be applied here, and such screencasts would let other instructors get involved 
and encourage discussion.  Classrooms so often seem like little islands, with 
only messages-in-a-bottle between them.

> As a Python loyalist I see Python instruction as a way to strengthen
> the language and the community, but I'm getting the impression that
> the community won't be able to manage it.

Could you expand on your phase "the community won't be able to manage it"?  Do 
you mean people won't come forward with instructional materials, or that they 
won't offer the classes, or that certain features are missing in the language? 
  Basically are you saying it is a lack of will or a lack of collective 
ability or community size/maturity?  I'd like to help, as advocacy 
coordinator, if we can identify problem areas.


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