Panel: Python in Schools: Teaching It and Teaching With It.
Panel with Joel Zachary Miller, Jeffrey Elkner, Vern Ceder, Brian C. Brumley, Maria Litvin
Educators discuss Python as both a subject and a tool in primary and secondary (K12) education. Topics addressed include the distinction between teaching Python and teaching with Python, the benefits of Python in K12 and ways to demonstrate the value of Python to administrators. Panel includes private and public K12 educators and university faculty involved in instruction in the K12 setting.
Zac Miller will act as panel moderator.
Panel will open with a brief introduction of the origins of the panel and self introductions of panel members before addressing the following topics:
- The distinction between teaching Python and teaching with Python.
- Teaching Python
- Teaching Math with Python
- How does Teaching with Python complement Teaching Python?
- Do tensions between the two exist?
- What keeps Python out of schools? What can be done to encourage more schools to teach tools like Python?
- What is the biggest benefit teaching Python brings to your school and students? What is the biggest benefit in general, beyond your school?
- Can teaching Python help spark creativity in those students who have
trouble exercising it?
- When teaching Python a creativity divide becomes readily apparent among students. Students with a high level of curiosity and creativity constantly try new things on their own, while other students are focused solely on completing the assignments for grades. How can an instructor handle this?
- What tangible steps can an instructor take to encourage creativity?
- What does the future look like for Python in K12 education, both at our own schools and in general?
- Audience Questions
Vern Ceder, Director of Technology, Canterbury School, Ft Wayne, Indiana. The Canterbury School has been teaching at least a little Python to every single 8th and 9th grader in the school since 2001, as well as offering electives in Python, Java, C, etc. Vern also teaches Python through Northwestern's Gifted Learning Links program (http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/gll/) and is the author of The Quick Python Book, 2nd ed (http://www.manning.com/ceder)
Maria Litvin. Maria teaches Math and Computer Science at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, including "Introduction to Discrete Mathematics and Programming in Python." She also taught Python to Boston-area high school teachers and to middle schoolers in Google's CAPE program. She's co-author of several Computer Science textbooks, most recently Mathematics for the Digital Age and Programming in Python (www.skylit.com/mathandpython.html).
Jeffrey Elkner, teaches computer programming and information technology at the Governor's Career and Technical Academy in Arlington, Virginia. He has been teaching with Python since 1999, and is co-author of a free on-line textbook: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python. He also maintains the Open Book Project (http://openbookproject.net), which contains several Python resources. Jeff has attended each PyCon held thus far, often bringing students along with him.
Brian Brumley teaches Python (and lots of other stuff) to grades 6-8 at Porter-Gaud school in Charleston, SC. Brian is a regular presenter at state and regional conferences on technology and programming in schools.
Zac Miller is adjunct instructor in the STEM school at Gainesville State College and a faculty member at the Da Vinci Academy at South Hall Middle School in Gainesville, Georgia. Zac is currently teaching Python programming and Python programming for Geographic Information Systems to K12 and college- level students.