[Python-ideas] Non-English names in the turtle module.

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Sep 5 09:31:24 CEST 2015

On 4 September 2015 at 12:45, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> One argument against this proposal is that Python is not really designed
> as a kid-friendly learning language, and we should just abandon that
> space to languages that do it better, like Scratch. I'd hate to see that
> argument win, but given our limited resources perhaps we should know
> when we're beaten. Compared to what Scratch can do, turtle graphics are
> so very 1970s.

Block based languages are to text based ones as picture books are to
the written word - to get the combinatorial power of language into
play, you need to be learning systems that have the capacity to be
self hosting. You can write a Python interpreter in Python, but you
can't write a Scratch environment in Scratch.

This is reflected in the way primary schools digital environment
curricula are now being designed - initial concepts of algorithms and
flow control can be introduced without involving a computer at all
(e.g. through games like Robot Turtles), then block based programming
in environments like Scratch introduce the use of computers in a way
that doesn't require particularly fine motor control or spelling

However, a common aspect I've seen talking to teachers from Australia,
the US and the UK is that the aim is always to introduce kids to the
full combinatorial power of a text based programming environment like
Python, since that's what unlocks the ability to use computers to
manipulate real world data and interfaces, rather than just a local
constrained environment like the one in Scratch.


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

More information about the Python-ideas mailing list