Is Python what I need?

Discussion in 'Python' started by newbie, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. newbie

    newbie Guest

    Hi all
    I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
    students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
    I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    develop these programs?
    newbie, Aug 23, 2009
    #1
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  2. newbie

    Peter Otten Guest

    newbie wrote:

    > I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
    > students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
    > I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    > needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    > students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    > across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    > therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    > users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    > develop these programs?


    From the distance it looks like these children need a good teacher rather
    than a bad (or just starting) programmer. They need goals they can
    understand and share, not yet another tool.

    But it's interactive? Yeah, three canned answers instead of just one...

    That said, Python is a good language for the casual developer. You can whack
    together something pretty quickly. It may not be perfect, but you don't
    waste time on administrative overhead either.

    Peter
    Peter Otten, Aug 23, 2009
    #2
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  3. newbie

    Tomasz Rola Guest

    On Sun, 23 Aug 2009, newbie wrote:

    > Hi all
    > I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
    > students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
    > I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    > needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    > students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    > across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    > therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    > users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    > develop these programs?


    Perhaps, maybe, yes.

    Python has simple syntax and it can be grasped quite fast. It is also
    quite easy IMHO to go from easy interactive, calculator-like stuff to
    bigger things. It also has quite big library of specialized functions, to
    be used in bigger programs.

    So if this is what you are looking for, it seems you are in the right
    place.

    You may also have a look at Squeak. It is an implementation of Smalltalk
    language. As far as I can tell, it is targeted for kid users or young
    students, who are interested in programming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smalltalk
    http://www.squeak.org/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeak

    Or, I mean, Smalltalk is a general purpose language, just as Python. It is
    not a "kid language". Squeak, however, seems to be a bit easier for new
    users. After tinkering with it a little, I think it has few batteries not
    only included (like Python has) but connected to few toys as well. This
    makes it more playable than Python after unpacking the box.

    Wrt languages, their "goodness" or differences between them - I am pretty
    much sure a number of people will start pointing them out to you. But I
    don't think this is really that much important. All languages are more or
    less similar because they serve the same purpose. Just try and do not use
    (Visual) Basic :) and you should be ok. Well, maybe this is just me, but
    I consider VB to be a dead-end. Besides, if this is going to be "let's
    show them how interesting it is", you should stay away from languages more
    complicated, like Java. Those who are going to learn Java, will learn it
    anyway. Knowing something different and cool first should not kill them.
    Quite the contrary, it can be an eye opener.

    Regards
    Tomasz Rola

    --
    ** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature. **
    ** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home **
    ** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened... **
    ** **
    ** Tomasz Rola mailto: **
    Tomasz Rola, Aug 23, 2009
    #3
  4. newbie

    Dave Angel Guest

    newbie wrote:
    > Hi all
    > I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
    > students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
    > I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    > needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    > students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    > across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    > therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    > users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    > develop these programs?
    >
    >

    I think I'm a bit confused as to just what you're intending, and what
    your background is. So if this response doesn't fit, please don't be
    offended.

    I'm guessing you don't want these special students to do any
    programming, but instead you just want to find/develop inexpensive
    applications for their use. You have some specific ideas, but haven't
    found anything already available within your budget.

    I'm also guessing that you're a total beginner at programming. If so, I
    claim that most programs are much, much harder to write than you can
    imagine. Python is one of the easiest languages to learn and to write
    things in, but even so, most GUI programs take hundreds of hours to
    develop. And I've been doing it for forty years, in about 30 languages.

    DaveA
    Dave Angel, Aug 24, 2009
    #4
  5. newbie

    c Guest

    > I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs

    That is so open-ended it could mean anything. If you give a much
    more specified idea of what you are imagining creating, people could
    be helpful.

    > for students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.


    <academic aside>
    Aversion? Why? Is it that they have such bad penmanship that
    writing
    is too frustrating? I've taught such students in college, and
    suspect
    (but do not know) that what would be good is to get them young and
    really put in the remedial time to train their penmanship up to
    sustained
    legibility and speed. Eventually society might go 100% electronic;
    for now, being able to write notes on paper is very helpful, and
    paper
    is still such a great technology aside from renewable concerns, but
    they can be greatly improved. (I even suspect rigorous and successful
    penmanship training might pay off in "general intelligence" gains)
    </academic aside>

    > I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    > needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    > students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    > across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    > therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    > users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    > develop these programs?


    I agree with Dave A that writing a useful program is often far harder
    than a beginner might imagine. That said, much would depend on what
    you would need the program to do. Python, in my limited experience
    as a hobbyist, strikes me as fairly easy to get started with in
    programming, and yet can do a great deal, too. So, as I said, more
    details about the intended program would help people guide your
    choice.

    Che
    c, Aug 24, 2009
    #5
  6. On Sun, 23 Aug 2009 22:09:45 -0700 (PDT), c <>
    declaimed the following in gmane.comp.python.general:

    > legibility and speed. Eventually society might go 100% electronic;
    > for now, being able to write notes on paper is very helpful, and
    > paper


    And most PDAs and tablets with touch screens still need fairly
    legible strokes...

    Or are these students surgically grafted to a messaging phone such
    that they can only manipulate a micro key-board with their thumbs? <G>
    --
    Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber KD6MOG
    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Aug 24, 2009
    #6
  7. Peter Otten wrote:
    > newbie wrote:
    >
    >
    >> I'm interested in developing computer based, interactive programs for
    >> students in a special school who have an aversion to pen and paper.
    >> I've searched the net to find ready made software that will meet my
    >> needs but it is either written to a level much higher than these
    >> students can cope with or priced beyond our school budget. I came
    >> across a blog of someone singing the praises of Python. My question is
    >> therefore aimed at those that know what they are talking about (ie
    >> users in this group). Is Python the language I need to learn to
    >> develop these programs?
    >>

    >
    > >From the distance it looks like these children need a good teacher rather

    > than a bad (or just starting) programmer.

    Wow, that is rude. Let's keep this list friendly, won't we ?

    JM
    Jean-Michel Pichavant, Aug 24, 2009
    #7
  8. newbie

    Peter Otten Guest

    Jean-Michel Pichavant wrote:

    >> >From the distance it looks like these children need a good teacher
    >> >rather than a bad (or just starting) programmer.


    > Wow, that is rude. Let's keep this list friendly, won't we ?


    I may have been too blunt, and if my message has come across as an insult I
    apologize for that. Let me try again:

    If you are trying to teach children that are unwilling to use pen and paper
    putting them in front of a computer doesn't help you and them one bit. As a
    starting programmer you'll have to spend a lot of time in front of your
    computer that may be better spent with your students.

    Better?

    Peter
    Peter Otten, Aug 24, 2009
    #8
  9. On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 9:32 AM, Peter Otten<> wrote:
    > If you are trying to teach children that are unwilling to use pen and paper
    > putting them in front of a computer doesn't help you and them one bit. As a
    > starting programmer you'll have to spend a lot of time in front of your
    > computer that may be better spent with your students.

    I don't think you were rude at all, but I like your second answer
    even more than the first.
    Nevertheless, I'd still like to hear from the Original Poster.

    What are you trying to accomplish?
    What software have you found that is too expensive?

    Given more information, somebody might be able to help.
    David Robinow, Aug 24, 2009
    #9
  10. newbie

    Robert Kern Guest

    On 2009-08-24 08:32 AM, Peter Otten wrote:
    > Jean-Michel Pichavant wrote:
    >
    >>> > From the distance it looks like these children need a good teacher
    >>>> rather than a bad (or just starting) programmer.

    >
    >> Wow, that is rude. Let's keep this list friendly, won't we ?

    >
    > I may have been too blunt, and if my message has come across as an insult I
    > apologize for that. Let me try again:
    >
    > If you are trying to teach children that are unwilling to use pen and paper
    > putting them in front of a computer doesn't help you and them one bit. As a
    > starting programmer you'll have to spend a lot of time in front of your
    > computer that may be better spent with your students.


    I suspect everyone is reading too much into the word "aversion". There may be
    physical or mental handicaps involved, not the personal preference of the
    students. In such a case, the OP's word choice is not ideal, but the readers
    here should give a little more thought before assuming the most ludicrous
    interpretation.

    --
    Robert Kern

    "I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
    that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
    an underlying truth."
    -- Umberto Eco
    Robert Kern, Aug 24, 2009
    #10
  11. On Mon, 24 Aug 2009 00:01:52 -0700, Dennis Lee Bieber
    <> declaimed the following in
    gmane.comp.python.general:

    >
    > And most PDAs and tablets with touch screens still need fairly
    > legible strokes...
    >

    Heh... talking to myself again...

    Call me when someone programs an input device to transcribe Gregg
    shorthand... I'll dig up my old textbook and see if I can relearn 35
    year old skills (I used to take it at 100WPM, but the typing dragged me
    down to 30WPM)
    --
    Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber KD6MOG
    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Aug 25, 2009
    #11
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