[Edu-sig] Edu-sig Digest, Vol 63, Issue 11

John Posner jjposner at snet.net
Wed Oct 8 22:14:00 CEST 2008


> Python 2.6, which was released one week ago, comes with a new turtle
> module. Perhaps this is something, you and your kids would like as it
> is pure educational Python software based on Tkinter. One of it's design
> goals was to provide easy access to graphics ...

Gregor's new Turtle module is, indeed, terrific. If some students need a
gentler introduction, take a look at the point-and-click front end that I
added ("ClixTur" at http://www.geocities.com/jjphoogrp).

Students can begin by creating drawings pretty much as they would in KidPix
or Paint or Visio. (OK, it's a bit more primitive, because there are no
dragging operations). As they click, a transcript of the Python code being
executed appears in a separate window. The students can use this code to:

* "play back" the transcript, to recreate their drawings

This is very simple, but it gets across the idea of a stored program. And
the high speed of the playback will be fun for younger students.

* make revisions to the Python/Turtle code, and see what differences they
produce in the drawing

This kind of introduction to programming is much less intimidating than
starting with a blank page. And it's just about as satisfying, especially if
you generated the original code yourself with the point-and-click interface.

Best of luck,
John Posner

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