[Texas] [dfwPython] brainstorming new ways to teach Python 101

Kevin Horn kevin.horn at gmail.com
Fri Aug 6 05:50:10 CEST 2010

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 10:33 PM, Brad Allen <bradallen137 at gmail.com> wrote:

> A couple of days ago we learned that our PyTexas 2010 volunteer teach
> Python 101 had to drop out. Since the event is on Aug 28, we don't
> have much time to find an instructor, or for that instructor to
> prepare. We know students and other beginners are coming, so how can
> we avert disaster?
> Maybe it's time to come up with a different approach. Having an
> instructor speak in front of a class has never sensationally
> effective, anyway. Students often have trouble paying attention and
> retaining lecture material, even when starting class with the best of
> intentions. So why not risk trying something different?
> I'd like to call for some new ideas, and to offer one for
> consideration. Here goes:
> Instead of burdening one volunteer to be the single teacher, let's
> schedule one or two hours at the beginning of the day for *all
> attendees* to be involved in the Python introduction for beginners.
> The entire lot of experienced PyTexas attendees could act as tutors
> simultaneously in an ad-hoc arrangement. Sound crazy, a recipe for
> chaos? Maybe...but if we could figure out the right structure to make
> it effective, everyone would be challenged and have fun.
> According to our survey, over half of the respondents are experienced
> Python developers, most of whom I think are capable of teaching, if
> asked to explain a particular topic or faced with a chance to answer
> specific student questions.  Those who can't be bothered to volunteer
> can just show up late, but I would expect most of the attendees to
> step up to the challenge.
> One idea for making this work would be to develop a strategy for
> pairing up the students with the teachers who can explain what the
> student needs to know. Here's how it might go:
> 0. We define a loose curricula in advance, listing all the core
> fundamentals a student needs to understand. We can reference the
> wealth of existing tutorials to build this curriculum.
> 1. This curriculum could be divided up into variously colored paper
> tickets, each representing important learning milestones (red tickets
> for installation basics, green tickets for how to run scripts, white
> tickets for language fundamentals, blue tickets for collections,
> etc.).
> 2. At the beginning of class, each student would pick up a ticket of
> each color for the part they needed to learn.
> 3. During class, students raise their hands waving a colored ticket in
> the air to attract a tutor to come by and help them learn that
> specific curriculum item.
> 4. When a student is satisfied they understand that item well enough,
> the ticket is given to the tutor to keep, like a trophy.
> 5. At the end of class, success is gauged by how many tickets the
> students still have. If any are left over, maybe time later in the day
> can be found to resolve the remaining tickets.
> This plan assumes that all the students bring a laptop, but I am not
> sure that is going to be possible. We might have to ask tutors to use
> their own laptops for teaching students who don't have one.

I think a lot will depend on what the ratio of beginners to experienced
pythoneers is.

Did the survey tell us that?

Kevin Horn
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/texas/attachments/20100805/16916e22/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Texas mailing list