Teaching python (programming) to children

David Andreas Alderud aaldv97 at student.remove-this-part.vxu.se
Tue Nov 13 14:25:12 CET 2001

> I think we were talking about *children*, who are definitely not
> in writing efficient programs...  Don't mix first-year students who might
> want to learn about the guts of a PC with the audience which was targetted
> by this discussion.

You're underestimating children, don't do that, please. I've been teaching
everything from 7 year olds to university students, the 7 to 9 year olds are
by far the most powerful students, they are like vacuum cleaners, absorbing
every piece of knowledge presented to them.

> Uh, yeah, so teachers are just there to serve cookies?  And would
> you seriously prefer Ada over Python for teaching *children*?

You can't force someone to learn somthing, but by providing them with an
environment that provides them with sound rules they absorb those rules too,
good or bad. Ada had great rules, declarations are an important rule.
And yes I would, but as I've said in previous posts, it's my preference and
there is no absolute truth.

> Neither do I; that was my point.  But likely we are talking apples
> and oranges...  I've been using Python to talk to instruments like
> oscilloscopes via a GPIB interface, to talk to various devices
> through serial or parallel ports, and to talk to a 16-bit processor
> through a dual-port RAM, and to twiddle the bits in a watchdog timer
> device on an embedded PC104 module.  The results have been
> uniformly superior to those I seen with other languages, thus
> my claim that Python would be quite effective at teaching "hardware
> programming" to first-year university students (allowing them
> to focus on the task at hand, not the language).
> So what do *you* mean by "hardware programming"?

Writing devicedrivers and accompanying APIs, for example.
Ada is great for hardware programming, one major reason is because PGAs and
FPGAs are, normally, coded in VHDL, which is a subset of Ada. So with Ada
knowledge one can with little extra knowledge design both hardware and
software for embedded devices; not for children, but it really shows how
powerful Ada really is.

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