[Edu-sig] What version of Python to teach ....

Scott David Daniels Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org
Mon Apr 20 06:49:23 CEST 2009

Laura Creighton wrote:
> One note:
> It is very important to teach your students how to read code.  I think that
> this is even more important that teaching them how to write code -- not
> only will they spend more time reading code than writing code in their
> lives, but it is through reading other people's code that you can learn
> any technique for writing code.  (Well, that, and a whole lot of practice,
> but a certain amount of reading of code every day can cut down on the
> number of things that you have to learn by doing.)
> There isn't a lot of Python 3.0 code out there to read.  So even if you
> are only teaching your students how to write 3.0, you will still have to
> teach them how to read 2.x.

But here is a learning opportunity as well -- too many students are
used to received wisdom, and assume there is nothing to discover.
To say that Python is in motion, that we have learned from our mistakes,
that we are forging a new way forward, and that they can be a part of
how to say things well in this new language is to begin to explain that
things are moving and they can be a part of that movement.

One of the great disappointments from teaching my first computer science
class (operating systems) came after a lecture where I discussed some
of the publications going on about these new-fangled RAID systems.  I
had students explain to me that a new way of organizing file systems
could not be as efficient as I described, because Microsoft and IBM
would be using such designs if they really worked.  Students need to
know that not everything has been done.

--Scott David Daniels
Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org

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