Adventures with Neko

Published on: 2008-1-6

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Adventures with Neko


Snake Wrangling for kids, by Jason Briggs is a book for teaching elementary computer programming (through Python) to school kids. Recently, a few of us had a discussion about translating the book to Malayalam. GNU/Linux is now available in a lot of schools - and a local language version would be a boon to many smart kids who are capable of learning things by themselves. I suggested that we have a go at writing an `orignal' book - mostly because I was having this pet idea of writing a book for kids for a long time. Now, writing a good book for kids is not childs play - especially if the book tries to present some technical stuff. Showing them a `hello, world' program won't be a very smart idea. We need something *interesting*. There are plenty of cool things in Python which can form the basis of an exciting course - these include stuff like, xturtle, RUR-PLE, VPython etc. As I visit the python edu-sig list occassionally, I am aware of the work of a handful of other amazing educators (Kirby Urner is one of them) who are trying out novel approaches to education (not just computer programming) using computers and programming as a tool. I liked the `RUR-PLE' approach a lot. You have a `world' with a `robot' in it and you write code to control the bot - simple, and fun! Won't it be nice if the `robot' is a bit more life-like? What about a cute cat? Check out my PyNeko PyNeko is currently just a few dozen lines of Python code - with little functionality. I will be adding more stuff - and writing about it. Quiz: From where did I get those cute bitmaps?


Mon Jan 7 08:06:42 2008

I think bitmaps are generated using code only. Very nice move. I was also at the initial stage of preparing a book in malayalam for school student during my PG final days... but that didn't work :( ..

Pramode C.E

Mon Jan 7 09:27:53 2008

Tinku: Wrong! Bitmaps are not `generated'! I got it from a classic X windows program. What is the name of that program?


Mon Jan 7 17:25:48 2008

I have see this some where...Ahh.. Then it can be the Xneko (/oneko) program where one kitty chases the mouse cursor... Right?


Mon Jan 7 19:47:11 2008

Oneko. The name contains the answer :)

Pramode C.E

Tue Jan 8 04:35:44 2008

Yes - it is xneko/oneko!


Tue Jan 8 07:38:02 2008

I have not much idea of Python, still the possibility of *sleeping* interests me. With some help from sujith: justin@thinkpad:~/pramode/gnuvision$ cat neko_run_and_sleep_patch 183a184,205 > def run_left(): > global grid > while grid.neko.left(): > pass > > def run_left_and_sleep(): > global grid > while grid.neko.left(): > pass > grid.neko.sleep() > > def run_right(): > global grid > while grid.neko.right(): > pass > > def run_right_and_sleep(): > global grid > while grid.neko.right(): > pass > grid.neko.sleep() > justin@thinkpad:~/pramode/gnuvision$

Pramode C.E

Tue Jan 8 07:56:13 2008

Justin: It is exactly stuff like this which we can give as `exercises' to school kids!

Jason R Briggs

Tue Jan 8 21:21:48 2008

If you decide to translate rather than writing your own, please let me know, so I can link to your work... :-)

Pramode C.E

Wed Jan 9 06:33:15 2008

Hi Jason, Thanks for writing a great book! I am sure there will be a lot of translations of SWFK! We shall definitely let you know if we start working on some Indian language translations!

Al Sweigart

Fri Aug 29 06:15:03 2008

I'd like to recommend a book I wrote on computer game programming for kids in the Python programming language. The book is available for free under a Creative Commons license. Each chapter in the book shows the complete source code for an entire game, and then teaches programming concepts from the examples. I wrote this book because most programming books read like bland mathematics textbooks; principles first, with practical application and examples second. The book's website is

Computer teachers need training in Computer ? « Wait For A Moment

Tue May 26 07:54:00 2009

[...] age, but authorities are not at all considering them. I have my teacher Pramode C.E. who designed Neko, an interactive Python learning game for High School students. He went to NIT, Calicut for FOSS [...]