PyCon 2010: Saturday Session 3 (late afternoon) – Think Globally, Hack Locally

I only attended one of the two talks in the last session of the day. It was presented by Ms. Leigh Honeywell and called Think Globally, Hack Locally – Teaching Python in Your Community.

She started “Python Newbie Night” in Toronto, Canada. It was an informal, peer-taught class which often put code up on the wall with a projector. They would work through the Python book, “How to Think Like a Computer Scientist” which has chapter exercises (the book is online for free at She was in a hackerspace (her local one was and seemed to recommend them. She gave a list of venues for teaching programming such as Community centres, churches, retirement homes, schools, jails and more. She also mentioned that the University of Toronto has switched to teaching Python from Java (I think).

She spoke on what worked for these classes and what didn’t work so well. For the most part, the talk was just general purpose tips for teaching Python. I do most of the stuff that she talks about for Pyowa (local python users group) and completely agree that doing it alone sucks. I also agree that teaching others about Python can be very rewarding. I thought this was a nice informal talk that would be informative to people who have never done this before. If you plan to start a user’s group, watching her talk or reading her slides would be a step in the right direction.