[Edu-sig] Suggestion for python learning

David MacQuigg macquigg at ece.arizona.edu
Fri Jul 11 16:41:58 CEST 2008

At 03:37 AM 7/11/2008 -0500, Jeff Rush wrote:

>>On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 11:48 AM, David MacQuigg
>>If you are stuck in a car for an hour each day and you want to listen
>>to such an audio book, then it's a 0,1 proposition.  You could at
>>least learn about object-oriented thinking, and qualitative features
>>of the language.  It would be a good challenge to attempt to make
>>programming understandable, to a degree, through an audiobook.

Please be careful about quoting.  The above words are not mine.

>This is an interesting challenge so I may try to put something together.  I've been wanting to do something anyway that focuses on the philosophy and meaning of programming, as opposed to the specific syntax, and I've got the programming background to do that.  An elegant program sings to me.

There is certainly much to be done that would fit nicely into an audio format, and not require syntax details - philosophy, opinion, experiences, comparisons (different web frameworks, for example).  Even an experienced programmer would enjoy hearing, for example, on how to chose a relational database from the many available in Python.

I see three levels of interaction - casual listening (music, news, etc.), concentrated listening (maybe with frequent pauses and replays), and full interaction (viewing code, working exercises, etc.).  I would focus on the first two levels, and avoid any need for visual interaction.  Although it is possible to display snippets of code with the new iPods, that would limit the audience too much, and would be inappropriate while driving, which is the biggest chunk of "free time" for most of us.

>It also fits into the keynote of PyCon 2007 by Robert "r0ml" Lefkowitz re programming literacy, whether you can ever "speak" a program or is it only a written form of communication.  I took that as a challenge. ;-)  It may require the development of a certain vocabulary specific to programming, similar to how graphic symbols like flowchart blocks and other diagramming elements have arisen.

Your counting too much on the listener's ability to visualize, and retain a mental image despite interruptions and distractions.  If you need code, make it a separate module, to be used later at a computer.  The audio could provide the motivation for the later, more concentrated effort.

-- Dave

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