[Edu-sig] College Board Cuts CS AP

Greg Graham GGraham at cistercian.org
Mon Apr 7 18:22:42 CEST 2008

I already sent this to Kirby thinking it was going to the whole list...

I am new in education, coming out of the software development industry.
The school I'm at used to offer a Java programming class to prepare
students for taking the CS AP. I was asked to teach the class for this
semester, but it turned out that the class didn't make. It seems that a
combination of me being an unknown quantity (I started at the school
last October), and the course not sounding very exciting compared to the
other electives, led to no one registering for it. I'm somewhat glad
because I wasn't that excited by the material either. (Java is ok, but I
find it a little tedious and boring now that I'm using Python.)

Since we have a lot of freedom with our electives here, I'm going to
offer an elective for the fall that will be computer game programming
with Python and PyGame. I think the topic will not only encourage boys
to register for the class, but my hope is they will have a desire to
master programming so that they can create some good games, and will
learn a lot more than they would in the AP curriculum. They may not know
the Java syntax required to pass the AP, but I think they will have a
better conceptual knowledge of the computer and problem solving, which
will help them in Computer Science or most any other pursuit. Our
Headmaster likes the idea and thinks it will be a popular class.

I will let the group know how the class goes next year.


P. S. Kirby recommended I look at GameMaker because PyGame is rather
low-level, so I will check it out too.

-----Original Message-----
From: edu-sig-bounces at python.org [mailto:edu-sig-bounces at python.org] On
Behalf Of kirby urner
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2008 9:27 PM
To: edu-sig at python.org
Subject: Re: [Edu-sig] College Board Cuts CS AP


The courses being cut -- Italian, Latin literature, French literature
computer science AB -- are among the least popular in the AP portfolio.

Consider in light of presentations by Robert Lefkowitz (OSCON etc.)
re programming as part of the new rhetoric of the 21st century (the
logical part, subsumes boolean, becomes the lingua franca for sharing
anticipatory "what if" models (simulations), just as the I Ching
influenced Leibniz suggested might happen (Ada too).

Looking back, we just needed to get over Artificial Intelligence ("AI"),
the bogus dogma that human intelligence needed to be superseded
by supercomputers.

Vannevar Bush's MEMEX in reality turned out to be a cell-silicon hybrid,
not just Google-the-hardware (i.e. the networking effects of individual
humans remains critical, and not just to advertisers).

Anyway, I'm happy to see the old order crumbling, giving us some
more breathing room, a chance to start over from scratch in some

Portland public schools are even now forging new alliances with
state academies, AP or no AP (AP is out of ETS in New Jersey

Plus now that some of us are phasing in programming as a
standard math lab activity, it's hardly necessary to keep this
older approach to college prep alive.

Kids will be learning Python simply as a consequence of needing
to learn math concepts -- in some schools (we're not mandating,
just noting we already have that freedom under state law, in Alaska

Related blog post:


On Sat, Apr 5, 2008 at 7:04 PM, Vern Ceder <vceder at canterburyschool.org>
> The link as it came through on the list was broken - you need to add
> second line to finish it...
>  (Let's see if this one makes it through in one piece - if not
> manually. )
>  Vern
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