Version 1 (modified by Simon Cross, 11 years ago) (diff)


Minutes 2010/06/05

Python in Schools

Notes from Robert's talk on the recent proposal to the Western Cape education to consider Python as the primary language for use in high school IT studies.

  • Robert and Marco know Western Cape IT curriculum advisor, Mr Brock.
  • Current curriculum:
    • Western Cape and 3 others use Delphi
    • Other five use Java
    • Have to set two exams, two sets of examples
    • Interaction with Delphi very GUI orientated
    • Tension between the two groups
      • Language flamewars
  • New proposal:
    • Everyone switches to Python
    • Disadvantages all students equally. :)
  • Different cases:
    • Students continuing on to other languages.
    • Students who will only do school computer studies.
  • Teachers need / want an IDE for students.
  • Current status after meeting:
    • Western Cape people seem fairly convinced that Python is a good choice.
    • Western Cape IT people will now try convince Delphi users.
    • Need final proposal early September.
    • Will make decision in early November and start training teachers.
    • Curriculum to be deployed in 2012.
  • Should curriculum be moving to web GUIs?
    • Django?
  • Teachers themselves don't agree about what should be taught.
  • Specific skills become rapidly outdated.
    • Need to select skills that won't become outdated easily.
  • Lots of things are scriptable with Python:
    • Mayavi
    • VPython
    • PyGame
    • Turtle
  • Learning by exploration?
    • How many students would actually do this?
  • How can CTPUG help out?
    • Robert will ask Mr Brock how CTPUG can contribute.
  • Marco and UCT are running another weekend Python course in August:
    • Perhaps CTPUG people could help out as tutors.
    • Perhaps invite teachers involved in language decisions to come help / observe.
    • Handily this is just before the September decision.
  • What is the current curriculum?
    • Would be useful to get a copy.

PiCloud Talk

Links to things discussed:

  • PiCloud
    • High-level cloud computing interface using Python.
    • Provides call(func, *args) and map(func, sequence) functions.
    • Built on top of Amazon's EC2 and S3.
    • Code that can be run pretty much unrestricted (NumPy? and SciPy? provided, can upload own modules, can read and write to filesystem).
    • Can't listen for incoming connections.
    • PiCloud service currently in beta and free. Later will be charged at approximately Amazon EC2 / S3 rates.
  • Boto
    • Lower-level interface to EC2, S3 and other Amazon Web Services.
    • Allows control and creation of EC2 instances, load balancers, etc.
  • Google App Engine
    • Code than can be run tightly restricted (data must be stored via BigTable?, no access to custom C extensions)
    • Some ways for running GAE apps on your own hardware:
  • Execnet
    • A library for setting up your own distributed Python computing environment.