Archive for October 2013

Resources for Teachers and Learners

October 24th, 2013 — 12:13pm

Here is a set of resources that go with a presentation I am giving at the Luton CAS Hub. It’s a short piece extolling the virtues of Python as a grown-up language that is at once amazingly powerful and also manages to be readable and simple enough to be taught in schools.

Of course, a short presentation doesn’t contain nearly enough information, so here are some resources for further research.

  • Learning Python

    The Python tutorial is pretty good, but, naturally, it talks about Python rather than programming and may be best if you happen to be familiar with programming in some other language.

    Python beginner’s resources lists many resources, books, web sites, code snippets, training providers and so on. Some discrimination may be required as books and courses may be aimed at people who want to use Python in depth, or in specific technical areas.

    Think Python (How to Think Like a Computer Scientist) is a book that takes you through both programming as a skill and Python in particular. It is available as a pdf for free, as well.

    The Coders Liberation blog gives some useful pointers for newcomers.

  • Teaching Python

    It can always be useful to follow key people in an area of interest. Alan O’Donohoe is a dynamic and enthusiastic teacher working in Scratch and Python and is well worth a read. Carrie Anne Philbin is another (and her Geek Gurl Diaries site is particularly interesting).

    The main teaching resource resource is the Computing at School online site. Get registered and search for Python. There’s a lot there, for KS2 onwards. If you are especially interested in diversity and inclusion, the CAS #include initiative is the place to be.

  • Projects and Fun

    These are all based on the Raspberry Pi.

    Annabel and Andrew demonstrated their home-made robot at PyConUK (2013)

    There are a number of commercial robot kits out there. Orion Robots is just one.

    At PyConUK this year we were treated to demonstrations of a Quadcopter controlled through Python. The video here shows one such machine being controlled through Minecraft via a Python interface!

    And that leads me on to Minecraft on the Pi. A free version of Minecraft with a Python interface allowing you to build your own worlds.

This is a short list that skims over what is out there. I hope it is a good start.

(Edited 28/10/2013 to include Miss Philbin and related links.)

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Physical Turtle at PyCon UK

October 2nd, 2013 — 10:00pm

I really enjoyed PyCon UK this year. I saw/listened to some great talks on the Friday but had to miss most of Saturdays talks through being in the Education Track. This was really exciting and I learnt a little bit more about how the new ICT curriculum might pan out. Nicholas Tollervy has written this up with his usual verve – I suggest you go take a look.

I gave a talk on the Physical Turtle module and the main thing I
have to do here is to link to all the usefull things that back it up. So, here we are:

Enjoy reading, and get in touch: ‘mike at mikedeplume dot com’

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