[Edu-sig] PyCon Education Summit Update

Vern Ceder vceder at gmail.com
Wed Aug 22 17:06:41 CEST 2012

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to bring you uptodate on where we're at with the Education
Summit at the upcoming PyCon. This will be a "by invitation only" event, so
if you are interested (and I haven't contacted you already) or know of
someone who would be really good for and interested in this event, please
let me know about that interest off list. One of our reasons for going with
invitations is that we want to be sure that we get a fair balance between
the various education constituencies in space available, so I can't
guarantee that absolutely everyone who wants to come will be invited....
But I'll try.

Also we're looking for a keynote and panelists for the topics below, so if
you know of anyone that you think would be good, please email me off list.
Also if you have any other suggestions or questions, please let me know.

There is also a google group for announcements about the summit, so if
you're interested, you should join that group -

First of all, the summit blurb is the following:

"In 2013, for the first time ever, PyCon will be holding a Python Education
Summit. This summit will be a gathering of teachers and educators from the
many venues that support the teaching of programming in Python - schools,
colleges and universities, community based workshops, online programs and
government. These constituencies differ widely  in resources and
constraints, in methods, and in goals and aspirations, yet are all working
to address the same issue - a lack of coding literacy - with the same
belief - that teaching programming is needed and that Python is an
excellent way to do that.

The goal of the summit is to bring together leaders from those diverse
constituencies to learn more about each other's efforts and gain useful
insight from them, to form connections that might foster future
collaboration, to identify common issues and begin discussing ways to
attack them, and to create an enhanced sense of unity, purpose and
community among teachers of Python, wherever they might be. It is also our
hope that the summit will serve as catalyst for the rest of PyCon to
encourage even more interaction - hallway discussions, open spaces,
lightning talks, and sprints.

Anyone attending this conference will gain a broader understanding of
approaches and issues in teaching Python, will have the opportunity to
contribute to their discussion, and will make contacts with other teachers
of Python from across the community. A high school teacher might make
contacts that allow her to enlist the support of a community based program
while a community volunteer might gain useful guidance on curriculum design.

In addition to active involvement in the process of teaching Python, the
only requirement of attendees is engagement. The morning sessions will
include panel discussions that encourage participation and the afternoon
will consist of unconference style breakout sessions that demand it. So
please come willing to learn, to teach, and to participate."

Also, I've developed a basic statement of the topics we'll be covering:

"As I see it there are the three core issues that most impact Python
education today: engagement, curriculum and teaching. So I'm proposing that
we frame the topics for the summit accordingly.

Engagement -  By "engagement" I mean getting people involved - attracting
learners and letting them know why they should be eager to learn Python,
recruiting teachers, sponsors and supporters with the skills needed to
facilitate that learning, and then keeping everyone involved in the
community. You could also call this "outreach" or even "marketing".
Whatever  you call it, we need to attract people who want to learn Python
and the people and the people to help satisfy that need.

Topics: How are the various education communities attracting people to
their programs? What things can each learn from other programs,
particularly in terms of increasing interest and involvement in the Python
language and community?

Curriculum - The need for uptodate, accessible and appropriate curriculum
is felt in all aspects of Python education. Community programs need free
and flexible lesson plans and teaching materials, schools are often
reluctant to offer a program without an established curriculum, and
teachers in all areas are often desperate for curricula that can be
leveraged with minimal time and effort.

Topics: What curriculum materials are currently freely available for
teaching Python? What means can be used to increase their quality, coverage
and availablity?

Teaching - Again, teaching is a universal issue. Schools often have
experienced teachers, but ones who don't know Python. Community programs
can find Python experts, but they frequently have little teaching
experience or knowledge.

Topics: what best practices might community programs follow to help
volunteer teachers do a better job? Are there any teaching guildes or hints
available now? What strategies might help schools qualify their current
experienced teachers to teach Python? How might we increase the number of
qualified teachers generally?

Underlying themes: The two underlying and unifying themes for the summit
are communication and collaboration."



Vern Ceder
vceder at gmail.com, vceder at dogsinmotion.com
The Quick Python Book, 2nd Ed - http://bit.ly/bRsWDW
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