OpenTechSchool Python tutorials begin in Melbourne

28 February 2013, 23:06

Last Saturday I spent a warm afternoon at the Electron Workshop coworking space in North Melbourne, volunteering as a Python tutor for the first OpenTechSchool workshop in Melbourne. About 25 students came and there was about 10 tutors. It was a lot of fun!

Does this look familiar? Before the workshop started I reminisced with other tutors, fond memories of using Logo in primary school. I used it in grade 4, I’m pretty sure, in a Victorian primary school. That and “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” are all I remember of computers before age 10.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking, but it seems incredibly sad that kids at school today won’t have fond memories of using Logo. OK so Logo looks pretty old-school now. Why is Scratch not its replacement?

Anyway I digress. Python has a Turtle module that lets you relive those glory days in a whitespace sensitive context. My pro-tip from the weekend is: don’t try to use it with IDLE on a Mac, stick to running it from a Python shell in the plain terminal.

OpenTechSchool have their tutorial notes published on github under the CC-BY-SA license, which is pretty great, so you can feel free to learn by yourself at home – but that’s not as much fun as coming to a workshop, right? :)

It amused me to see that one of the OTS team is Duana Stanley, who I knew through Girl Geek Dinner / MXUG things when she was living in Melbourne and working at ThoughtWorks. Small world…

Talking to the attendees about why they wanted to learn programming and how they heard about the event was really interesting. One just found it as a randomly advertised event whilst browsing Meetup! If you know someone who would be interested in this, make sure they join the OpenTechSchool Melbourne Meetup group or the Melbourne Python users group mailing list to hear about future events.

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