Python in High School

Bruno Desthuilliers bruno.42.desthuilliers at websiteburo.invalid
Tue Apr 1 20:09:54 CEST 2008

sprad a écrit :
> I'm a high school computer teacher, and I'm starting a series of
> programming courses next year (disguised as "game development" classes
> to capture more interest). The first year will be a gentle
> introduction to programming, leading to two more years of advanced
> topics.
> I was initially thinking about doing the first year in Flash/
> ActionScript, and the later years in Java. My reasoning is that Flash
> has the advantage of giving a quick payoff to keep the students
> interested while I sneak in some OOP concepts through ActionScript.
> Once they've gotten a decent grounding there, they move on to Java for
> some more heavy-duty programming.
> I've never used Python, but I keep hearing enough good stuff about it
> to make me curious.
> So -- would Python be a good fit for these classes? 

IMHO, yes, definitively - except that it won't introduce concepts like 
static typing and primitive types, since it's dynamically typed and 100% 
object. OTHO, it'll let you introduce quite a lot of more advanced 
topics (operator overloading, metaclasses, higher-order functions, 
closures, partial application etc) that you're less likely to grasp 
using Java.

> Could it equal
> Java as the later heavy-duty language?

If you mean "is it possible to use Python to write real-world, 
non-trivial applications", then the answer is obviously yes. Python's 
use range from Q&D admin script to full-blown web application server 
including vector graphic GUI apps, scientific data analysis and plotting 
and game developpment and/or scripting.

> Does it have enough quickly-
> accessible sparklies to unseat Flash?

Since you plan to lure poor schoolboys in by pretending to teach them 
game programming, you may want to have a look at pygame:

> I want to believe. Evangelize away.

"Then I saw Pygame, now I'm a believer".... !-)

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