Friday, May 22, 2015

Talk Python To Me podcast; Australia mandates text-based programming

By Vasudev Ram

Today, for a change, a different kind of Python post, but one that I think will be interesting to my readers:

From the horse's, er, snake's mouth :)

Talk Python to Me "is a weekly podcast hosted by Michael Kennedy. The show covers a wide array of Python topics as well as many related topics (e.g. MongoDB, AngularJS, DevOps)."

The format is a casual 30 minute conversation with industry experts.

I just came across it today, and am checking out the site a bit. The site itself looks good, visually, I mean.

Some of the podcasts also have text transcripts.

I'm reading one of the transcripts, Transcript for Episode #8, of the conversation with Dr. James Curran:

Teaching Python at Grok Learning and Classrooms


"James Curran is an associate professor in computer science at the University of Sidney and co-founder of Grok Learning, which you can find at James has been teaching computer science to students and teachers for over a decade. In 2010 he was named one of Sidney magazines top 100 influential people for his work in computer science education."

(I guess the 'Sidney' spelling is due to an error in the automated or manual transcription of the podcast.)

Anyway, the transcript is interesting, since is about Python and/in education / training, which are both among my interests.

An interesting point mentioned in the talk, is that Australia is mandating text-based computer programming in its schools, as opposed to only having visual programming with tools like Scratch. Methinks that is a good idea, since only being able to work with GUI's and no skill with text-based tools (such as text editors and the command line), is not a good thing, IMO. I've come across, and once interviewed (for a client), some Java "programmers" who could not write a simple Java program without reaching for Eclipse. What the hell. Not knocking Java. I'm sure there must be people like that for other languages too. [ Dons latest flame shield made of modern composites in advance ... :) ]

Dr. Curran on the topic:

"So we have done a lot of work with teaching students in seventh and eighth grade, and I think that that is the ideal zone in fact the Australian curriculum that I was just involved in writing has mandated that the kids will learn a text based programming language as opposed to something like visual language, like Scratch. So text based programming is mandated for year seventh and eighth, and Python I think is the ideal language to be teaching there."

- Vasudev Ram - Online Python training and programming

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