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O’Reilly.com: An Interview with Jeff Elkner

[ Thanks to S.Ramaswamy for this link.
]

“Jeff Elkner is a computer programming teacher at Yorktown High
School in Arlington, Virginia, USA. I met Jeff at the Python
Conference in January. I was inspired by his talk, entitled Using
Python in a High School Computer Science Program because it
demonstrated that a high school teacher had begun delivering on the
promise of Python as a first teaching language.
He brought
three of his high school students to the conference with him to
discuss the projects they were working on.”

“Frank:
Jeff, what led you to use Python in your first-year computer
programming class?”

“Jeff:
We had switched to teaching C++, from Pascal, when the College
Board switched to C++ for the AP exam. I was having a great deal of
difficulty with C++. I was turning off 50 percent of my students. I
found myself fighting with the syntax and I was really frustrated
trying to explain clearly what computer science was about while
using a language that seemed to get in the way.”

“So I went looking for something else. At that same time, there
was a high school Linux User’s Group discussion about which
language was best for teaching programming in a high school.
Someone on that list suggested Python, and over half of the people
on the list jumped in and concurred that it would be the ideal
choice for a first language. That’s what led me to investigate
it.”

Complete Story