Thursday 3:10 p.m.–3:40 p.m. in Room 25A

Python for N00bs: A cognitive and educational approach

Meg Ray


This talk will put a new spin on helping complete beginners to use Python. We all tend to teach Python the way that we learned it. However, by applying lessons learned from cognitive science and educational psychology, we can better help a wide range of beginners and open up Python to new audiences. The speaker will share examples of successes and failures in teaching Python in several contexts including high school classrooms, the Young Coders program, as well as online and printed curricula. Topics covered will include teaching the command line, helping new programming concepts to “stick,” increasing engagement with abstract concepts, and supporting the independence of new programmers. The Python community is an ecosystem built on learning from others and giving back to others. The strategies covered in this talk are useful for creating documentation for new users, writing a book or tutorial, teaching a child or adult, running a workshop, or teaching a class.