Thursday, January 08, 2015

Where are the edu-sig folks at the Python Education Summit?

After many years of being unable to attend Pycon, I look forward to this year's Pycon to be held (for the second time) in my favourite city, Montreal.  In the past, one of the highlights of that conference was meeting face to face other educators, many of whom I knew only through emails sent to edu-sig. At that time, there was no such thing as an official education summit.  Now there is.

According to the official description of the Education Summit,   We are taking proposals for talks from educators from all venues: authors; schools, colleges, universities; community-based workshops; online programs and government.

When I look at the current list of talk proposals, I see a list where very none of the proposals (other than my own) are from people who have contributee to edu-sig.  My own talk proposal (whose description is a little terse, I'll admit) has the dubious distinction of having been downvoted the most at this time! Unlike a few years ago, when I attended Pycon, there seems to be a huge disconnect between the people that contribute to edu-sig and who write books/tutorials/tools widely used in teaching Python, and the people currently interested in and submitting proposal to the Education Summit at Pycon.

(I would love to attend talks by people who subscribe to edu-sig and who have written books and/or tutorials about Python or created useful tools, like Naomi Ceder, Andrew Harrington, John Zelle or, probably the one I'd like to see the most, Philip Guo, who created the fantastic online python tutor.  One non-edu-sig contributor (as far as I know) who would be most interesting to hear from is Albert Sweigart who, in addition to writing many interesting books on Python is also thinking about making IDLE a better tool.)

There is one other talk that focus on a specific "tool" created to teach Python ("Python birds") in a postsecondary setting which has (and rightly so) seen an upsurge in votes in the past day or so.   While I do find some talks about teaching Python in non-traditional environments potentially interesting (and I have upvoted quite a few of the proposals for such talks), I don't think I would consider attending the Education Summit if that's all that there was.  However, the "Python birds" talk, if it gets accepted, would likely tip the balance for me and have me wish that I could be invited to attend, since it seems that participation is by invitation only.


Chalmer Lowe said...

I am glad to see that you are interested in the Education Summit and hope that you will be able to make it.

In the past two years, we limited the Education Summit to invite only... but this year, we have removed that restriction. Anyone can go directly to the invite page: to sign up. Regrettably, our online documentation still has the caveat about 'invite only' - we will get that fixed!

Some of the folks you mention in your email are already on the list to attend and/or I have been in communication with regarding support for the Summit.

We are anxious to engage with others in the community, especially in terms of keynote talks, etc.

I would love to talk to with about your comments here, so please feel free to reach out:

André Roberge said...

I've already sent a quick email to the edu-sig list, pointing to this blog post. I just wanted to raise awareness about the Education Summit in a group of people for whom I have a tremendous respect and who have not given any public sign of their interest in this year's Pycon.

Chalmer Lowe said...

Please check your email...
I sent a private note... I would like to engage your help with communications out to the edu-sig.

Thus far, my attempts have been for naught. It is a long story. Full details in my email.