Notes for Python Meetup

April 11, 2011

Allen Downey

How I started teaching with Python

1) Wrote a Java book (what’s wrong with textbooks!)

2) Free license -> Jeff translated it into Python.

3) Adopted the book, learned Python.  Lesson: a free book is not the same product with a different license; it’s a different product.

4) Moved to Olin, finally got to use my own book.

Why I teach with Python

1) Lower failure rate: cognitive capacity limits.

2) Get from zero to interesting faster: barrier to CS is the escalating cool threshold.

3) Good use of student time: Maximum ratio of long lifespan knowledge to rapidly obsolete; generally applicable to specific and detailed.

Where we use it

1) Intro class with Think Python / Python for Software Design.

2) Computational modeling with Computational Modeling and Complexity Science.

3) Computational prob stat with Think Stats.

4) Software synchronization with The Little Book of Semaphores.

Links

allendowney.com

greenteapress.com

allendowney.blogspot.com