Python in "math through programming" curriculum

Kirby Urner urner at alumni.princeton.edu
Wed Dec 20 22:04:34 CET 2000


"Clifford J. Nelson" <cnelson9 at gte.net> wrote:

>I don't think Python should be a standard at all, because of
>my experience with it on the Mac. Keep the options open for
>computer programming languages.
>
>Here are two:
>
>Clean at: http://www.cs.kun.nl/~clean/

I went to this website.  It doesn't work for the Mac at all --
Windows only.  So what's your beef with Python on the Mac?  
At least it exists for the Mac.

Also:  "Allthough Clean is not easy to learn (it's very 
different from imperative languages, such as Pascal and C), 
once you can program in Clean, you can easily create games 
with the Clean Game Library."

Do you think this emphasis on game programming is better
than my "math through programming" approach?  It seems to
me that writing games is (a) a rather specialized goal
(vs. learning generic math ideas) and (b) a domain in 
which it's difficult to compete with already-existing 
commercial products (i.e. if your goal is to become a
game programmer, vs. competent in basic math, you have a 
long road ahead of you).

That being said, I'm intrigued by Clean and might tackle
it.  This looks like a more user-friendly environment for
kids than Hugs (a free Haskell).

>Caml at:  http://pauillac.inria.fr/caml/
>
>Both of those languages are OOP too, and easier to use than Python.

What do you base this "easier to use" verdict on?  Personal
experience (see below)?  I've been studying the docs and 
don't, off hand, see anything to suggest that either Caml
or Clean are "easier" than Python.  The websites in question
make no such claims, that I can find.

Your post doesn't make it clear the Caml is actually a 
"dialect of ML".

To me, OCaml looks like a research language for computer 
science majors to study, not a "first language" for 8th 
graders (see my initial post to this thread).  You'd have
to make some pretty persuasive arguments for me to want to
switch gears and do my curriculum writing in such a language.
So far, you've offered none.

My guess is you've done approximately zero using any of
the languages under discussion (Python, Clean, Caml).  If
I'm wrong, I hope you will show me otherwise.  I don't
have a lot of time for completely uninformed discussion.

Kirby




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