Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jeff Elkner's python resources for school

Using Python in a High School Computer Science Program - Year 2 (2002 Python conference paper)
Part I: Reflections From the Classroom by Jeffrey Elkner

This paper is refreshingly frank and honest about the real difficulties (and also the real potential) involved in introducing python programming to a school environment

It's really very important that the kids have a smooth start in a consistent environment (and in practice this seems almost impossible to achieve)

You need good resources, such as a good textbook.

The students need to see that the skills they are developing are relevant to some close at hand real world situation

Even with a smooth start some of them are going to find it hard and so we need to be on the alert for new ways to retain them (such as the LiveWires materials)

It's hard to get girls involved

Great to see that Jeffrey Elkner understands and is systematically addressing these issues. As well as the above article see his Open Book Project, his GASP python course and his adaptation of the How to Think Like a Computer Scientist to python.

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