[Edu-sig] another edu-sig page textbook (suggesting to AR)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Apr 30 23:16:31 CEST 2009

On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 1:04 PM, Jeff Rush <jeff at taupro.com> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> I was thinking of regional events, 3-4 a year, to make them more convenient to
> teachers and students who often lack a budget to travel.  With a focus on the
> use of Python programming in education, both K-12 and University level, both
> for CS and definitely non-CS subjects.  It would take place on a weekend,
> perhaps just Saturday to be considerate of those who cannot take time off from
> school.

Some of the thinking over hear is Cubespace could host Barcamps
specific to visiting schools, say a combined 11-12th grade coming in
for a day and doing the self organize thing, with teachers having
their legal role of adult guardians but otherwise not trying to
distort this already well-developed model.

Part of our thinking is FOSS subculture doesn't easily survive when
narrowed to one language, showcases like Pycon a large billboard
advertising the few exceptions, though we don't rival ESRI's I
understand (on the other hand, there's Python there too).

So if attempting to bring students into an experience of our "way of
life", we have Perl, PHP, Apache... very long list of tools, not
wanting to "fall below threshold".  Basically, there's no "world
domination" with "just Python" so we're not really able to talk like
pirates er geeks unless we have a complete ecosystems to return home
to (at Pycons, we do).

An alternative is "Barcamp in a Box" where we take it into the
schools, more realistic in some cases, less realistic in others.  Plus
I'm not sure Cubespace really wants to be overrun with "yellow bus
people", so even better would be ESD sets aside a repurposed facility,
some warehouse in ToonTown maybe (east side, near Produce Row?).

Once you're all grown up and well versed in geek culture, going to
Pycon doesn't risk stripping you of your memepool, i.e. you already
know all this other stuff besides Python.  But when still in high
school, you need to follow various rules about not mixing the students
with strangers on school time, plus not falling below threshold in
terms of keeping the content believable.

I think a big problem with contemporary "classroom math" is it has, in
fact, "fallen below threshold", fails to meet the relevance test.  The
only thing that keeps it in place is the relentless pressure to pass
ETS-administered screening tests.  Those who control the obstacle
course control the shape of recruiting.

However, we have a long history of pioneering and experimenting in
this country, are getting official encouragement to keep at it from on
high.  I'm feeling pretty upbeat about FOSS having a bright future in
our schools, but it'll take a lot more than a few dedicated
Pythonistas to keep the flame alive.  Good thing we've got GNU, EFF,
all the rest of 'em.


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