[Edu-sig] thoughts on edu-sig HTML page

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 07:43:17 CEST 2009

Here's some of my thinking re the edu-sig page, which I managed up to
the time python.org converted from cvs to svn.

For those not at Pycon, a core theme was a plan to shift the tectonic
plate (platform) yet again, to either bzr or hg.  Perhaps the decision
has been made by now, as Guido was encouraging.  I favor hg but for
reasons unrelated to software so probably not relevant.

Regarding the page itself:  I hope it will continue serving as a
recruiting tool for bringing "fresh blood" to edu-sig this discussion
group.  Drawing more people into the conversation, the threads, is a
worthy end in itself.

I hope Andre will *not* feel he's been tasked with managing some
infernal list of "all schools using Python" because:

(a) that quickly becomes one of those thankless "list management jobs" and

(b) it actually backfires if you're trying to spread Python, because a
static list implies we know everything that's going on, whereas a
truly dynamic spread pattern will leave us clueless and in the dust a
lot of the time (how many schools in China, clued about FOSS...).**

(c) many of these schooling functions are internal to a company in
some private sector context i.e. edu-sig should stay friendly to
engineer trainers tasked with andragogy within a more corporate
setting, so are we going to track those schools as well? (O'Reilly
School of Technology comes to mind, a hybrid in offering academic
certification -- let's call it the University of Phoenix demographic
for shorthand perhaps?).

I'm wondering if (c) is the more controversial point in that it's (i)
adult-centric (there's maybe a bias on edu-sig to think we're bound by
a shared interest in "computer programming for children" as if adults
aren't our business) and (ii) not exclusively academic (there's maybe
a bias on edu-sig that academia has some automatic edge when it comes
to teaching (whereas the circus has always competed with skool)).

But fortunately, (a) and (b) build my case irrespective of (c), so we
can shelve those points for backstage discussion.

I just don't want Andre to get stuck with some onerous janitorial duty
that's unnecessary to our growth and ongoing prosperity as a

Finally, I think it's really cool that a whole PhD thesis was done on
this very mail list, and I hope we keep a link to it (back to the
opening "recuiting for edu-sig" meme).

In terms of where to find on-line resources that will help you learn
Python really effectively and quickly, I'd say lets point to trade
book sites, text book sites, and some places like ShowMeDo e.g. I've
got my six 'Python for Math Teachers' etc.,


** Given how students come up to me because I'm wearing some Python
decal and say they've been exposed through there school, respect the
language, I'd say realistically speaking there's too much going on to
pretend to track.  edu-sig is not air traffic control.

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list