Python as a teaching (visualization) tool
ajsiegel at optonline.com
Sat Feb 14 15:04:14 CET 2004
On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 04:11:56 GMT, Kyler Laird <Kyler at news.Lairds.org>
>Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.com> writes:
>>My effort to give it realization is PyGeo
>>which uses VPython for 3d rendering - which I think deserves mention
>>on your list particularly because of its facility at the interactive
>I like it. I hope it becomes a Debian package soon.
>>One concrete thing I think would help spread the gospel as to Python's
>>usefulness in this area is a LiveCD - Knoppix based, let's say - that
>>would come pre-configured with a good amount of this good stuff.
>I'm quite dependent on Knoppix/Morphix these days. I appreciate
>what they allow.
The Morphix concept is wonderful. In lieu of a full-fledged LiveCD of
Python related visualization tools, would be a base Morphix
distribution of some of the key enabling infrastructure tools - let's
say wxPython, Numeric, pyOpenGL, pygame. And hopefully people will
morph from there as to their specific needs. I'll get to it,
>>Getting up and running with some of these tools can otherwise be a
>>chore that one cannot expect the merely curious to undertake.
>I need even more than that right now. I'd like to be able to run
>tools on the MS Windows-based computers that litter the classrooms
>on campus. That leaves me to either use pure Web-based apps like I
>usually make or perhaps Java applets.
As much as I believe Linux should be encouraged as the preferred
educational platfrom - for a number of reasons - I agree that it is
foolhardy to be reliigious on the issue. The fact is that my own
day-today desktop is Windows, and I have tried to see to it that some
key tools in the category you describe are available as easy Windows
This "service" tends to be of particular relevance shortly after a
major Python release.
>I haven't done anything with Jython in a long time but I was
>hoping to experiment with it again for building applets. That
>would make it easy to deliver some simple interactive apps.
Perhaps good for demos. But in the area in which I am most interested
- geometyry - I find interactive applets tend to be a bit glib - if
that word makes sense in this context - and don't provide an avenue
for the kind of involvment that scripting does. Unless what it is we
are doing is providing the student with the tools to be the creators
of the applets.
>I'm also hoping to figure out a good way to integrate SSH and VNC
>into a Java applet so that I can easily use a browser to run apps
>on a better platform. That'll give me a lot more flexibility to
>run things that Jython won't.
>A Knoppix-like solution doesn't work at all in many cases (locked
>BIOS) and is clumsy in others (where the instructor presents using
>PowerPoint). I think it would be a *great* thing to give to
>people who do control their presentation systems though.
Wouldn't it be.
> I can easily imagine a compelling demonstration to high school teachers
>followed by "Oh, and here's a CD you can use to do all of this.
>Grab one on your way out the door and feel free to make copies
>for your students and colleagues. No salesmen/lawyers will call."
>*That* could be very exciting.
And with Morphix, see how easy it might be to add you own matter to
the existing matter,
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