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Do any of you recommend Python as a first programming language?

 
 
jmDesktop
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      03-22-2008
For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
programming languages and principles.

Thank you.
 
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André
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      03-22-2008
On Mar 22, 1:40 pm, jmDesktop <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> programming languages and principles.
>
> Thank you.

Yes.

You'll probably get 100 positive answers!

Check out the edu-sig mailing list for discussions on the topic. And
you may want to check out rur-ple.sourceforge.net, where "ple" stands
for "Python Learning Environment".

André
 
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Jeff Schwab
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      03-22-2008
jmDesktop wrote:
> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> programming languages and principles.


Linux and Python are a nearly ideal combination for this. Be aware that
at some point, you will likely have to dig into C, the primary language
used to implement both Linux and Python.
 
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Arnaud Delobelle
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      03-22-2008
jmDesktop <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> programming languages and principles.


I'm not from the US and I'm not sure what 9th/12th grade are, but if
you want to use programming to explore maths, er I mean math, have a
look at the sage project:

http://www.sagemath.org/

--
Arnaud
 
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Brian Lane
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      03-22-2008
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Jeff Schwab wrote:
> jmDesktop wrote:
>> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
>> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
>> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
>> programming languages and principles.

>
> Linux and Python are a nearly ideal combination for this. Be aware that
> at some point, you will likely have to dig into C, the primary language
> used to implement both Linux and Python.


At that level I don't see why they would need to hit 'C' at all. Maybe
some of the APIs, but not syntax at all.

I would consider Python an ideal language for HS students to learn. The
teacher who hosts our KPLUG meetings has had good luck using Python in
her classes.

Brian

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Larry Bates
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      03-22-2008
jmDesktop wrote:
> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> programming languages and principles.
>
> Thank you.


ABSOLUTELY. Get them started with a REAL programming language that will
teach them proper fundamentals. I wish Python would have been around 25
years ago when I taught incoming Freshmen at local University. To get
students to understand about variable references, etc. I always started
them with Assembler so they could understand what was actually going on.
I see so may on this forum that have the wrong ideas about variable names/
storage.

Good Luck,
Larry Bates
 
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Jeff Schwab
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      03-22-2008
Larry Bates wrote:
> jmDesktop wrote:
>> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
>> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
>> programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
>> programming languages and principles.
>>
>> Thank you.

>
> ABSOLUTELY. Get them started with a REAL programming language that will
> teach them proper fundamentals. I wish Python would have been around 25
> years ago when I taught incoming Freshmen at local University. To get
> students to understand about variable references, etc.


What do you mean by "variable references," and how are they used in Python?
 
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André
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      03-22-2008
On Mar 22, 3:48 pm, Arnaud Delobelle <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> jmDesktop <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> > Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> > programming experience? Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> > programming languages and principles.

>
> I'm not from the US and I'm not sure what 9th/12th grade are, but if
> you want to use programming to explore maths, er I mean math, have a
> look at the sage project:
>


9th grade roughly corresponds to 3e collège and 10th/12th grade
roughly correspond to the first three years of "le lycée" - although
from my past teaching experience (as a physicist) in French, I have
concluded that mathematics is taught at a higher level in France than
it is in North America - simply looking at the various books available
on given topics.

> http://www.sagemath.org/


Sage is great. However, I think it is much too advanced for 9th/12th
grade. Furthermore, the OP was looking for suggestion teaching
*programming*, not math.

André
>
> --
> Arnaud


 
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Paul Rubin
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      03-22-2008
jmDesktop <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. Do you think
> Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> programming experience?


It's at least pretty good. It's not ideal, but nothing ever is.

What I mean is: it's the best suggestion I can think of, but I can't
say with confidence that there's nothing better out there.
Alternatives would probably be more esoteric languages like Logo.

Chris Okasaki (of functional data structures fame) has an interesting
blog post about why indentation-based structuring is a big help for
teaching:

http://okasaki.blogspot.com/2008/02/...ation-for.html
 
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Arnaud Delobelle
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      03-22-2008
On Mar 22, 7:00*pm, Larry Bates <(E-Mail Removed)`> wrote:
> jmDesktop wrote:
> > For students 9th - 12th grade, with at least Algebra I. *Do you think
> > Python is a good first programming language for someone with zero
> > programming experience? *Using Linux and Python for first exposure to
> > programming languages and principles.

>
> > Thank you.

>
> ABSOLUTELY. *Get them started with a REAL programming language that will
> teach them proper fundamentals. *I wish Python would have been around 25
> years ago when I taught incoming Freshmen at local University. *To get
> students to understand about variable references, etc. I always started
> them with Assembler so they could understand what was actually going on.
> I see so may on this forum that have the wrong ideas about variable names/
> storage.


It's funny, 25 years ago - I was 10 then - I got my first computer
from my cousin (a Sinclair ZX81, I think it had a different name in
the US) as he was getting a brand new C64. In those days BASIC was
very slow so if you wanted to do anything demanding with a computer
you had to learn 'machine language' (I didn't have an assembler...).
I wrote my little programs in a notebook, then POKEd them into
memory! I learnt so much then. Years later, when I got my first C
compiler, it was a liberation.

My other 'coming of age' was when I took a lambda-calculus course at
university. I felt like a man who's had a black and white TV set all
his life and watches colour TV for the first time. What if computers
had been designed as 'lambda-calculus machines' from the start rather
than Turing machines?

Anyway, here the conclusion that I draw: learn lambda-calculus and
Turing machines. The rest is syntactic sugar.

Not quite seriously but still'ly yours
--
Arnaud

 
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