Report on Python workshop at St. Thomas college

2009-11-05T15:59:19

The workshop is over ... and I believe at least a few teachers found it useful. The lab where it was conducted was full of Windows machines - there were only one or two systems with CD drives - so running the class on Phoenix Live CD's was also out of the question - that was it - I did perhaps my first public workshop on Windows! And boy, that was interesting! We had to copy one or two files from the thumb drive to the lab machines - the admin was horrified - if you come from the Windows world, you know that thumb drives are *evil* -- full of viruses, worms, trojans and all kinds of nasty creatures ready to pounce upon the poor little Windblows kid - we couldn't convince her that our thumb was as pure as snow, untouched as yet by the villains of the Microsoft wilderness ..... Compared to the previous workshop at CKGM college, I was able to cover more stuff. The `functional first' approach was once again found to be the most effective as teachers had no difficulty manipulating Numpy arrays, generating plots etc. The afternoon session was dedicated to the `imperative' world of loops - writing while loops to compute factorials is not exactly something which you might call attention-grabbing - I tried my old Tkinter based cat-and-mouse game of Neko - the teachers had a good time (I believe) defining functions and writing loops to make Neko move around the screen! Unfortunately, there was very little time to explore things in finer detail. Anyway, motivating people to learn something new is the first step .... Implementing a syllabus properly is a hard thing - one senior professor told me that many people like him had absolutely no experience *using* the computer - let alone writing code. Same is the case with students in small towns and villages. In many cases, students are going to be "taught" all the above stuff from an "exam-point-of-view" (meaning: mugging up). But then, there will always be some teachers (and students) who are willing to go a few extra steps to create a meaningful learning experience. They are our only hope in an educational system which has become something of a mockery. (While I was waiting for the workshop to start, I watched school kids standing in "assembly" outside - a teacher was exhorting them how important the coming exams were to their future - I wonder, when will adults stop preaching to kids, when will they stop telling kids that they live primarily to "study" and write exams?)


Sreejith K

Fri Nov 6 13:02:19 2009

>And boy, that was interesting! We had to copy one >or two files from the thumb drive to the lab >machines - the admin was horrified - if you come >from the Windows world, you know that thumb >drives are *evil* — full of viruses, worms, trojans >and all kinds of nasty creatures ready to pounce >upon the poor little Windblows kid - we couldn’t >convince her that our thumb was as pure as snow, >untouched as yet by the villains of the Microsoft >wilderness ….. Back in my college days, most of us used Linux *as an AntiVirus* for removing viruses from thumb drives so that we could use them in our Seminar Labs. But the good thing was that our Programming lab was running Linux eventhough MSW was installed.


Rohit Arondekar

Fri Nov 6 06:37:26 2009

Educate and ignore. That's the best you can do.

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