[Edu-sig] education as Python killer app

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu May 24 00:53:43 CEST 2007

> The part that makes me especially queasy is the CP4E section on pages
> 10-11. I wish I had more to say there. It's fairly clear to those of
> us who weren't there that there were some problems, but it's not
> especially clear what they were or what we should learn from them. I'd
> very much appreciate input from those who were actually there!

Where is "there" exactly?

Interesting paper, though of necessity you leave a lot out,
such as how the Scheme people made tremendous strides
in their CP4E mode, setting high standards with SICP.

We hope Pythoneers don't dumb it all down by encouraging
sloppy habits (the Schemers' worst fear).

http://lemonodor.com/archives/001497.html (tangentially related)

As to "losing focus" and/or "herding cats" on edu-sig, I'm
not sure if that's what happened, or if we're simply seeing
from different perspectives.

I see edu-sig like a water cooler (a watering hole) where people
of diverse backgrounds come of their own volition to compare
notes, shoot the breeze.  That doesn't make it a management
hub or anything -- we all go back to our respective meetings
and decision-making processes.

For example, the Jesuits, with hundreds of years of pedagogy
to their credit, thousands of mostly-man hours designing curriculum,
aren't necessarily interested in vetting their proposals to
teach Python in some trademarked Jesuitical way via some
organ within Python.org.  They'll work within the Vatican or
whatever it is that they do.

Just a random example.  Schools aren't obligated to be public
with their planning is my point.  The fact that Python itself is
open source doesn't change that fact.

So whereas I'm hopeful that edu-sig will continue to be a source
of interesting filings (your paper and drafting process a case in
point), I'm not expecting it to be much more than that, at least
not for the many faculties with already semi-set ways of working

Lots of proprietary stuff goes on that we only learn about on
edu-sig long after the fact -- and that's OK (not a problem).

On the other hand, some of us *are* committed to a more open
source approach even w/r to curriculum design, at least in some

I would encourage us to keep edu-sig a welcoming environment
for such posters, which doesn't mean holding back all negative
feedback (it's possible for curricula to suck, as well as to be
wonderfully brilliant -- sometimes both at the same time).

We shouldn't devolve into a mutual admiration society where
"I'll just say good stuff about your stuff if you'll just say good
stuff about my stuff" agreements dominate -- a recipe for
lowering overall quality whenever and wherever.  Fortunately,
I see little danger of that happening here.


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