Introducing Kids to Programming: 2 or 3?

Marco Gallotta marco at
Mon Sep 27 17:48:06 CEST 2010

Hi there

I'm sure you get a lot of "2 or 3" questions, but here's another.
Umonya [1] uses Python to introduce school kids to programming. The
initiative is only 15 months old and up till now we've been using
existing notes and exercises and thus Python 2. But we're at the stage
where we can either stick with 2 for the next few years, or go to 3

We received a grant from Google to reach 1,000 kids in South Africa
with our course in 2011. People have also shown interest in running
the course in Croatia, Poland and Egypt. We're also eyeing developing
African countries in the long-term. As such, we're taking the time now
to write our very own specialised course notes and exercises, and we
this is why we need to decide *now* which path to take: 2 or 3? As we
will be translating the notes we'll probably stick with out choice for
the next few years.

Since these are kids, we feel the nice changes in 3 such as removing
integer division will help in teaching. It will also remove confusion
when they go to download Python and grab the latest version. Since
they're just starting, chances are almost none will be hit by the
limited library support for at least a year or two. They will,
however, be hit by the confusion of seeing Python 2 code all over the

We're tending towards 3, but I am a little cautious myself.



Marco Gallotta
MSc Student
Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town |
marco AT gallotta DOT co DOT za | 073 170 4444 | 021 552 2731

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