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

Brad Allen bradallen137 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 6 17:20:09 CEST 2010

That ratio could change if we get the expected last minute student
signups. Most of the students won't be finding out about the PyTexas
till they return from summer vacation to see the flyers and
(hopefully) receive email announcements from their profs.

For those unfamiliar with the survey, "DK" is short for "don't know"
at the time of the survey. I'll follow up with them this weekend to
remind them to update their status on the wiki registration page.

On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 10:00 AM, Arthur Aguirre
<aguirre.arthur at gmail.com> wrote:
> I pulled the latest survey results - there are 41 confirmed attendees 28 of
> which are advanced/intermediate pythoneers - that is then 2:1 ratio.  There
> are 35 folks who are a DK to show but the ratio is the same.
> Arthur
> On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 9:50 PM, Kevin Horn <kevin.horn at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> Texas mailing list
>> Texas at python.org
>> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/texas
> _______________________________________________
> Texas mailing list
> Texas at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/texas

More information about the Texas mailing list