[TriZPUG] TriZPUG Digest, Vol 22, Issue 4

Dr. John M. Morrison morrison at ncssm.edu
Sat Feb 6 17:42:57 CET 2010


We have been teaching Python at the North Carolina School of Science and 
Mathematics for six years. I know Gary Bishop, a faculty member at UNC 
who started the new intro programming course using numpy, matplotlib and 
the ipython interface. Gary and I have had quite a few discussions about 
using Python as a first language for new programmers. We at NCSSM have 
been quite successful with it. I attended the Friday morning lab 
sessions for Gary's new class during August, September, October and 
November, until
my schedule changed with the new trimester. I think both UNC and NCSSM 
are on to some good things.

My website is

http://www.ncssm.edu/~morrison

and my colleague Dennis Yeh's website is

http://www.ncssm.edu/~yeh

On that page, click on the School link in the navigation area. Then a 
page will appear on the right with Block D Intro programming linked to 
it. Click on that. Quite a few of the class proceedings are on the web. 
We use an unpublished manuscript called Computing in Python which I have 
been writing as the course has developed.

John M. Morrison
Chief Wizard of Computing
NCSSM

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> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: NC jQuery & JavaScript Camp Rescheduled (Chris Calloway)
>    2. Re: NC jQuery & JavaScript Camp Rescheduled (Joseph Mack NA3T)
>    3. Planet Updates (Chris Calloway)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 19:20:57 -0500
> From: Chris Calloway <cbc at unc.edu>
> To: "Triangle (North Carolina) Zope and Python Users Group"
>         <trizpug at python.org>
> Subject: Re: [TriZPUG] NC jQuery & JavaScript Camp Rescheduled
> Message-ID: <4B6CB5E9.9000403 at unc.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> On 2/4/2010 9:35 PM, Joseph Mack NA3T wrote:
>   
>> you reply to everything else here.
>>     
>
> Almost everything. I hope you know it's because I care. :)
>
>   
>> I get mail OK from trizpug at python.org
>> so I'll reply on-list this time.
>>     
>
> That's good procedure.
>
>   
>>> There is a Python course taught at UNC now.
>>>       
>> I was looking for something for a high school student. Presumably this
>> course you mention is a regular credit course?
>>     
>
> Yes. Tom Roche knows more about it than I do. Tom?
>
> Joseph, I thought you taught the high school students?
>
> That's a great thing, what you do. There was a whole PyCon about that. A
> panel at UNC also concluded that the best thing you can do to spread
> FOSS is enlist FOSS soldiers while they're young. The advice: go forth
> and teach high school kids how to program Python.
>
> I think you and I talked about materials to teach kids Python in the past.
>
> We first have to mention TriZPUGer David Handy's specific course for
> teaching Python to kids:
>
> http://www.handysoftware.com/cpif/
>
> Although younger kids use it, from what I've seen, it would be fine for
> high schoolers.
>
> A few high school students came to a TriZPUG meeting once with their
> parents. This is what they were using and they rather liked it:
>
> http://www.amazon.com/dp/1598631128
>
> Sorry for all the Amazon links. It was just easy. Buy books wherever you
> will.
>
> Basically, games seem to be the ticket with kids, according to the
> conventional wisdom. So maybe this one as well:
>
> http://www.amazon.com/dp/1590598725
>
> This is the new latest super strong mind warp for very, very beginner
> programmers using Python:
>
> http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596802374
>
> It has some game things in it, but not to the degree of PyGame. And
> there's a lot of business-y kind of stuff in it which people who study
> how to teach programming to kids have told me will just turn them off.
> However, it really does assume that you know absolutely nothing about
> how to program.
>
> Now, the ironic thing is that book was supposed to have originally been
> written by someone else (the book was at least two years late being
> published from when it was originally announced). The first author
> signed to write it was Dr. Vern Ceder from Canterbury School in Fort
> Wayne, Indiana. He gave this awesome talk at PyCon 2007 about teaching
> Python to high school students:
>
> http://us.pycon.org/zope/talks/2007/fri/track4/025/talkDetails
>
> He had a class where out of twenty students, only one student really
> liked it. So he used student feedback to rewrite his course. What he
> found was he could increase the number of kids in the class who really
> liked it to six by throwing out the shell and teaching only from a
> graphic package. That's why the talk is called "Goodbye Hello World."
>
> Dr. Ceder's MoinMoin page is here:
>
> http://tech.canterburyschool.org/tech/VernCeder
>
> He's reported to be amenable to sharing his curriculum with other
> teachers. He just released this new book:
>
> http://www.manning.com/ceder/
>
> Anyway, he based his graphic Python in the classroom approach using this
> rather old PyGame package:
>
> http://www.livewires.org.uk/python
>
> which is used in at an annual and inexpensive Python kids summer
> programming camp in the UK. They seem to get more girls than boys at
> that camp. I don't know if that had to do with being faith-based camp or
> not. But good work!
>
> When it comes to low-entry Python graphics packages, I think of:
>
> http://vpython.org/
>
> I don't know of any high school level courses built around it. But there
> are two college physics books built around it:
>
> http://matterandinteractions.org/
>
> The author teaches with those books at NCSU and was the featured speaker
> at the March 19, 2009 TriZPUG meeting.
>
> You might get some traction from this email list:
>
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/edu-sig
>
> A lot of people there are using the standard library turtle.py module.
> You have to be careful with turtle. It was completely rewritten for
> Python 2.6.
>
> The Python EduSIG page on the Python.org wiki is a voluminous list of
> resources, some of which are suitable, some of which, of course, are not:
>
> http://www.python.org/community/sigs/current/edu-sig/
>
> Check this out:
>
> http://www.briggs.net.nz/log/writing/snake-wrangling-for-kids/
>
> It has two boring chapters and then Chapter 3 jumps straight into
> turtle.py. Then it goes back to boring for four chapters. Then back to
> turtles. And then into Tkinter.
>
> Of course, you really can't talk about teaching Python to kids without
> talking about Rurple:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RUR-PLE
>
> and I highly encourage you to look at that. It's very cool and much like
> other robot war programming environments.
>
>   
>>> And there are short Python workshops taught on campus by others.
>>>       
>> where should I look for them?
>>     
>
> Well, campus workshops are for campus people, pretty much. This groups
> has been giving Python workshops:
>
> http://opentraining.unc.edu/
>
> This one is coming up:
>
> http://opentraining.unc.edu/groups/its/python-an-introduction-4-8-2010-2-00-pm-4-00-pm
>
> But I'm pretty sure that's for people in the College of Arts and
> Sciences only.
>
> I wish Mr. Jeff who is teaching these things would come to TriZPUG
> meetings. Mr. Stephan, would you please see if Mr. Jeff would subscribe
> to the TriZPUG email list? I don't want to be the only one inviting
> folks to church.
>
>   
>>> "There may or not be a local Plone Boot Camp, depending on what Joel
>>> Burton decides. He decides in his own time and lets me know when he is
>>> ready."
>>>       
>> I'll watch here for it
>>     
>
> That's the thing to do. This email exists pretty much for each of us to
> let the others know what we are doing, python-wise, when it is time to
> let people know.
>
> I want Mr. Frank to talk about the Sauce Labs open space coming up at
> PyCon in two weeks.
>
> The new Active Python includes pip and distribute instead of setuptools:
>
> http://www.activestate.com/activepython/
>
> BTW, here's how to win a free pass to PyCon:
>
> http://blogs.activestate.com/2010/02/two-more-weeks-until-pycon-2010-and-were-giving-away-a-pass/
>
> --
> Sincerely,
>
> Chris Calloway
> http://www.secoora.org
> office: 332 Chapman Hall   phone: (919) 599-3530
> mail: Campus Box #3300, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 17:24:30 -0800 (PST)
> From: Joseph Mack NA3T <jmack at wm7d.net>
> To: cbc at unc.edu, "Triangle (North Carolina) Zope and Python Users
>         Group"  <trizpug at python.org>
> Subject: Re: [TriZPUG] NC jQuery & JavaScript Camp Rescheduled
> Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1002051638580.29033 at wm7d.net>
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>
> On Fri, 5 Feb 2010, Chris Calloway wrote:
>
>   
>> On 2/4/2010 9:35 PM, Joseph Mack NA3T wrote:
>>     
>>> you reply to everything else here.
>>>       
>> Almost everything. I hope you know it's because I care. :)
>>     
>
> yes I know. You straighten everything out on this list.
>
>   
>>> I was looking for something for a high school student.
>>> Presumably this course you mention is a regular credit
>>> course?
>>>       
>> Yes. Tom Roche knows more about it than I do. Tom?
>>
>> Joseph, I thought you taught the high school students?
>>     
>
> yes I do, but I want them to hear from other people as well
> and I don't know plone or zope.
>
>   
>> That's a great thing, what you do. There was a whole PyCon
>> about that. A panel at UNC also concluded that the best
>> thing you can do to spread FOSS is enlist FOSS soldiers
>> while they're young. The advice: go forth and teach high
>> school kids how to program Python.
>>     
>
> exactly what I'm doing.
>
>   
>> I think you and I talked about materials to teach kids
>> Python in the past.
>>     
>
> yes
>
>   
>> We first have to mention TriZPUGer David Handy's specific
>> course for teaching Python to kids:
>>
>> http://www.handysoftware.com/cpif/
>>     
>
> got it first thing about 2yrs ago to see whether teaching
> python was practical. After reading his book, I knew that it
> was possible and went right ahead.
>
>   
>> Basically, games seem to be the ticket with kids,
>>     
>
> I've got a kid that's happy with classical programming, bit
> banging etc and not interested in games. He's onto C now and
> wants to build an adder from discrete parts. He's entering
> the python competition in Charleston at the end of Feb and
> is currently doing practice problems from other python
> competitions (the Charleston people don't give out past
> competition questions).
>
> I've got another one that's not interested in classical
> programming - he did the Alice course at Duke 18mo ago and
> he's still doing Alice programming (but not python anymore).
>
>   
>> He had a class where out of twenty students, only one
>> student really liked it. So he used student feedback to
>> rewrite his course. What he found was he could increase
>> the number of kids in the class who really liked it to six
>> by throwing out the shell and teaching only from a graphic
>> package. That's why the talk is called "Goodbye Hello
>> World."
>>     
>
> how about that. I took the Alice course myself, and wasn't
> that impressed with it as a language. But I was impressed to
> see this student, the one that was having trouble with
> classic programming, picked up Alice and is still running
> with it now. So I've seen that a wide range of teaching
> approaches is needed to get all the kids.
>
>   
>> Anyway, he based his graphic Python in the classroom
>> approach using this rather old PyGame package:
>>
>> http://www.livewires.org.uk/python
>>     
>
> know it well
>
>   
>> You might get some traction from this email list:
>>
>> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/edu-sig
>>     
>
> Didn't know about it. Have just joined.
>
>   
>> A lot of people there are using the standard library
>> turtle.py module. You have to be careful with turtle. It
>> was completely rewritten for Python 2.6.
>>     
>
> I'm really not into games I'm afraid and I don't attempt to
> teach them. My heart isn't in it and even if I did it, I'm
> sure the kids would see my attitude shining through. Kids
> who want games are going to have to get them from someone
> else.
>
>   
>> The Python EduSIG page on the Python.org wiki is a
>> voluminous list of resources, some of which are suitable,
>> some of which, of course, are not:
>>
>> http://www.python.org/community/sigs/current/edu-sig/
>>
>> Check this out:
>>
>> http://www.briggs.net.nz/log/writing/snake-wrangling-for-kids/
>>     
>
> know it thanks.
>
>   
>> Then it goes back to boring for four chapters. Then back
>> to turtles. And then into Tkinter.
>>     
>
> am using Tkinter in my course.
>
>   
>> Of course, you really can't talk about teaching Python to
>> kids without talking about Rurple:
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RUR-PLE
>>     
>
> didn't know about this. My main student is happy with vi.
> Neither of us can stand IDLE.
>
>   
>>>> And there are short Python workshops taught on campus by others.
>>>>         
>>> where should I look for them?
>>>       
>> Well, campus workshops are for campus people, pretty much.
>>     
>
> that's what I need to know. No sense pestering people whose
> job it is to help someone else.
>
>   
>>>> "There may or not be a local Plone Boot Camp, depending
>>>> on what Joel Burton decides. He decides in his own time
>>>> and lets me know when he is ready."
>>>>         
>>> I'll watch here for it
>>>       
>> That's the thing to do. This email exists pretty much for
>> each of us to let the others know what we are doing,
>> python-wise, when it is time to let people know.
>>     
>
> I've pretty much got standard python covered for my
> class. I've popped up here and asked questions when I needed
> help and I've always got straightened out very quickly and
> courteously.
>
> I don't know javascript or jQuery myself, so I jumped at
> Feb 20.
>
> My student is looking for summer camps and would be
> interested in any week-long camps (local preferred) for
> someone who already has a passing aquaintance with python
>
>   
>> The new Active Python includes pip and distribute instead
>> of setuptools:
>>
>> http://www.activestate.com/activepython/
>>     
>
> sounds interesting. I'm not ecstatic about setuptools
> (haven't found a way to do `make clean`)
>
> Thanks for all the pointers
>
> Joe
> --
> Joseph Mack NA3T EME(B,D), FM05lw North Carolina
> jmack (at) wm7d (dot) net - azimuthal equidistant map
> generator at http://www.wm7d.net/azproj.shtml
> Homepage http://www.austintek.com/ It's GNU/Linux!
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 23:26:41 -0500
> From: Chris Calloway <cbc at unc.edu>
> To: "Triangle (North Carolina) Zope and Python Users Group"
>         <trizpug at python.org>
> Subject: [TriZPUG] Planet Updates
> Message-ID: <4B6CEF81.5060803 at unc.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> http://planet.trizpug.org/
>
> has been updated such that TriZPUG Events now list at their start time
> instead of modification date for fewer misunderstandings.
>
> http://events.trizpug.org/
>
> has been updated such that <dc:date> is the event start time instead of
> the effective time. This will feed future events by default.
>
> http://trizpug.org/events
>
> has been updated such that event summaries highlight the start date
> instead of the publication date.
>
> Events older than April 2009 have some timezone issues due to a server
> relocation across time zones. These are being fixed on a time available
> basis.
>
> --
> Sincerely,
>
> Chris Calloway
> http://www.secoora.org
> office: 332 Chapman Hall   phone: (919) 599-3530
> mail: Campus Box #3300, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> TriZPUG mailing list
> TriZPUG at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/trizpug
>
>
> End of TriZPUG Digest, Vol 22, Issue 4
> **************************************
>   


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