In the afternoon of the first day of the official PyCon conference days (Friday, 3/11/2011), I went to a panel about teaching Python in Schools. It was led by Zac Miller who was the one who came up with doing the panel in the first place. He introduced Brian Brumley who went through what he did with Python in school.
Next up was Maria Litvin, a teach of math and computer science. Currently she teaches Python in public school. She mentioned various ideas she tried with her students to teach them programming. Then we jumped to Jeffrey Elkner from Arlington, VA who teaches Python in high school there. He has also advocated Python so much that he’s gotten it into 5 high schools in his area and even middle school. He also mentioned that someone was teaching with Scratch in the elementary schools there.
Finally they introduced Vern Ceder, director of Technology at the Canterbury School in Indiana. He teaches Python using Scribbler robots. He also mentioned some people using turtle to teach programming too.
After everyone was introduced, they allowed the audience to ask the panel questions. One good question was “What is the hardest things for kids to learn?” The answers were loops, conditionals and syntax.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty interesting panel. I wish I had learned programming in high school. The audience thought that programming should be offered in school too. You can check it out here.