Change the future

Friday 4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.

EduPsych Theory for Python Hackers: A Whirlwind Overview

Mel Chua

Audience level:


I've taken two years of graduate courses in engineering education. I save you $50k in tuition and hundreds of hours of reading and give you the short version for Pythonistas who care about education and outreach.


As an open source hacker who's mid-PhD in engineering education, I've long wished other hackers in mentorship roles knew more about how brains develop, how people are motivated, and how students learn. What cues can we in the Python world take from hackers of the mind, such as...

  • Bandura (how do people learn from watching those around them, what most affects someone's belief that they can/can't do something, and how do we put the best possible cues into our environment?)
  • Lave (what does a good cognitive apprenticeship in an open source project look like, and what makes lurking such a valuable skill?)
  • Dweck (what beliefs do successful learners have about themselves, and how can we give feedback so that newcomers to our domain are likely to develop those beliefs?)
  • Dreyfus (what differentiates the thinking of a novice from an expert, and how should our documentation change in response?)
  • ...and more?

This is a companion piece to the workshop "EduPsych Theory for Python Hackers: Bootcamp o' Implementation" which will walk attendees through actually implementing changes in a learning community they care about (be it a classroom, user group, or FOSS project). Workshop attendees who subsequently go to this talk will get a deeper look at the "why" behind some of the things they implemented, but workshop attendance is not a prerequisite for having an excellent time. [Citation Needed] signs will be passed out to the audience to ensure all statements about Python and learning are backed up with empirical evidence.