Introducing Kids to Programming: 2 or 3?

Andreas Waldenburger usenot at geekmail.INVALID
Mon Sep 27 18:45:44 CEST 2010

On Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:48:06 +0200 Marco Gallotta
<marco at> wrote:

> 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.

That's your answer right there.

> They will, however, be hit by the confusion of seeing Python 2 code
> all over the web.

Good point. Here is may suggestion: Make the kids aware of the 2/3
issue as early as possible, but don't go into detail. Maybe start with
the obligatory "Hello world" program, and a few other simple things.
Then, when you get to the "how do help myself on the net" part of the
course (you're including that, right?), you make strong distinction
between Py2 and Py3 and tell them to make absolutely certain that it's
Python 3 code they're looking at. Maybe give the "print()" syntax as a
hint, but have them rely on more explicit descriptions that come with
the code. Later on (once they know more programming constructs to
appreciate the differences), include another lecture, specifically on
the difference between Python 2 and Python 3.

Disclaimer: I'm not an educator. Maybe this is horrible advice. Someone
with a better understanding of kids' and learner's minds please debunk
any nonsense I may have spouted here. I just like to go by the general
rule that, unlike adults, most kids aren't idiots.



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