[IAEP] Nice tool for learning Python

Steve Thomas sthomas1 at gosargon.com
Sun Jan 29 15:50:10 EST 2012


So what activity would you like to create.  Let me know and I will be glad
to spend time teaching you how to create it in Etoys.


As to learning Python, you need multiple tools and multiple course syllabus
depending on the learner and the content.  This would definitely be one of
the tools I use as Alan said "it makes the invisible visible" and the
ability to step forward and *backward* at your own pace over and over,
would be a great aide for many learners.

For books/resources besides the one's Caryl mentioned:

   1. *Think Python*: How to Think Like a Computer
   2. The Python tutorial <http://docs.python.org/tutorial/index.html>
   3. Google's Python

It would be great if we could put together some of these ideas and lessons,
combined with a tool like The Online Python
Tutor<http://people.csail.mit.edu/pgbovine/python/> for
kids to get started learning Python on the XO.  We could even put Think
Python and the Python documentation on school servers for those kids
interested in learning more.


On Sun, Jan 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com>wrote:

>  Hi All…
> I took a look at this last night and agree with Tabitha that it is
> definitely not a stand-alone way to learn Python.  I have also looked at,
> Pippy, and the ebook "Byte of Python" (among others), and the the Khan
> Academy videos for learning Python.
> It would be great if some master teacher of CS could put together a course
> syllabus using these free online resources that we could use to learn this
> handy, popular language.
> My programming days ended in the 80s with Pascal. I would love to learn
> Python and be able to create Activities for Sugar.  But with my busy
> schedule (and adult ADHD) I really need someone to give structure to my
> efforts.
> I'll bet there are lots of other folks out there in the same boat… well…
> maybe without the ADHD!
> Caryl
> ------------------------------
> From: itprofjacobs at gmail.com
> Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 10:08:31 -0500
> To: alan.nemo at yahoo.com
> CC: tabitha at tabitha.net.nz; iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org;
> sthomas1 at gosargon.com
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] Nice tool for learning Python
> If you haven't seen Teagueduino yet, it's worth a look as a system that
> does a good job of making the invisible visible, especially parts of the
> programming interface that show you the signals/voltages in the chip being
> set high or low when things run.  The two pictures of the editor in the
> article below show some of this.
> http://www.open-electronics.org/teagueduino-making-things-really-simple/
> On Jan 29, 2012, at 8:55 AM, Alan Kay wrote:
> Hi Tabitha
> I don't think the premise of this system is for Python programming to be
> "discovered" while doing it, and I didn't see any claims for this.
> It simple "makes the invisible more visible" when manipulating computer
> entities and invoking processes that are usually shrouded at best.
> Systems like Etoys and Scratch need this particular visualization less
> because they have mostly visible objects that are being given behaviors
> (and which also in Etoys' case have visible data structures -- e.g.
> "Holders" etc -- as well). The programmers can see the changes in the
> already visible objects. (That is partly the point in how they are designed
> for beginners.)
> But these systems use a lot of parallel invocations, so one could imagine
> a facility like Bob Balzer's EXDAMS (in the 60s!) that captured all of the
> behavior for a stretch and allow it to be played forward and backward
> deterministically to help the programmer understand what was going on and
> the communications between objects.
> I think the main point here is that it really helps any programmer, and
> especially beginners, when the computer can be used to aid both their short
> term memories and abilities in visualizing the consequences of their code.
> A system like the Python visualizer is especially useful for low-level
> imperative-type data structure munging programming (and Python is often
> learned in this way).
> Cheers,
> Alan
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* Tabitha Roder <tabitha at tabitha.net.nz>
> *To:* Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com>
> *Cc:* iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 29, 2012 1:29 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [IAEP] Nice tool for learning Python
> On 28 January 2012 17:28, Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com> wrote:
> Just found this: http://people.csail.mit.edu/pgbovine/python/
> This tool looks like an amazing tool for someone who already understands
> programming concepts to teach with but it seems a stretch for someone to
> learn on their own with this tool by itself.
> The first example code is "aliasing" but doesn't explain what a variable
> is, or a function, or a list. It might be possible to discover these
> concepts using the simulator but it is probably better explained in words.
> Does anyone know of a suitable ebook or tutorial which the simulator could
> be used with? Thinking of the cases where there is no one to guide the
> student.
> Thanks
> Tabitha
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