[Edu-sig] Call to Action (PyCon)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Nov 14 05:25:32 CET 2009

On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Vern Ceder <vceder at canterburyschool.org> wrote:
> Thanks a lot, Kirby. That's the sort of boost we need. I hope some of the
> Portland folks will participate, virtually if they can't make the journey
> across the country.
> Cheers,
> Vern

Thanks to you as well Vern, for keeping this ball rolling.

I dropped something into the Chipy list as well, expect a few
subscribers will reminisce about last year's action (promotion).

Speaking of which, I've found occasion to promote Python as a
community to groups who might benefit from lessons learned.

Two examples:

(i) the Lightning Talk meme is worth sharing.

A group, say a bunch of anarchists, hears how Pythonistas sometimes
get kinda fascist about that time limit, which gives them respect for
the discipline but maybe without thinking they have really think like
a  computer scientist (tends to mean "strict and precise" in the
popular mindset).

Here's a way to do Show & Tell without surrendering the floor to some
guy who knows how to avoid being interrupted, plays King of the Hill
with that microphone.

Of course Karaoke has already helped reinforce this "sharing the
limelight" ethic, other brands of open mic, but it's good to know the
Python people have their own ethic and aesthetic, proves engineers are
likewise human.

(ii) the structure of the Python community contains many worthwhile ideas.

Like the WikiEducator group is trying to juggle the puzzle pieces of
having the Wiki itself, a governing structure, a Google group.

What about a communal blog, do we need one?  -- a recent question.

Well, why not check out how the Python community does it with that PSF blog etc.

There's something to be said for having those blogospheric links, as
the Wiki concept is still not that familiar to those not getting open
source through their schooling, let alone hearing anything about
specific implementations, e.g. MoinMoin (believe it or not).

Wikipedia is understood more as a read-only encyclopedia than a
co-authoring system i.e. many who consult it for homework assignments
don't understand what a Wiki is or what that has to do with how
Wikipedia pages come to be.  This means they might come to
Wikieducator with similar preconceptions, more as consumers than as
producers of content (which is fine, so far as it goes, but represents
a loss of freedom, promotes passivity where more activity is probably
what's needed).

We have a long way to go, when it comes to passing on free and open
source concepts.  I continue to mine the Python infrastructure for
good ideas (PEPs, clear notion of namespaces, a willingess to adapt
but not gratuitously (Django's "no astronauts" meme...).

It's a two way street of course, e.g. this idea of a "poster session"
as a part of Pycon is already very much a part of many successful
conferences (including GIS in Action (where I spoke right after Pycon
this year, mentioned our wanting to copy this **).  I still remember
Chalmers, the NanoTech conference going on in tandem with EuroPython.
For some of our keynotes, we had to wander through a poster session on
buckyballs and nanotubes.  It's around then that I launched something
called HP4E, echoes of CP4E, trying to promote more geometric
awareness (HP = hexapents &&).


**  http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2009/04/gis-2009.html (with pictures)

&& http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2007/07/connecting-dots.html (see links)

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