Helping Teacher's Bring Python Into The Classroom With Nicholas Tollervey


August 6th, 2018

59 mins 19 secs

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About this Episode


There are a number of resources available for teaching beginners to code in Python and many other languages, and numerous endeavors to introduce programming to educational environments. Sometimes those efforts yield success and others can simply lead to frustration on the part of the teacher and the student. In this episode Nicholas Tollervey discusses his work as a teacher and a programmer, his work on the micro:bit project and the PyCon UK education summit, as well as his thoughts on the place that Python holds in educational programs for teaching the next generation.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Nicholas Tollervey about his efforts to improve the accessibility of Python for educators


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • How has your experience as a teacher influenced your work as a software engineer?
  • What are some of the ways that practicing software engineers can be most effective in supporting the efforts teachers and students to become computationally literate?
    • What are your views on the reasons that computational literacy is important for students?

  • What are some of the most difficult barriers that need to be overcome for students to engage with Python?

    • How important is it, in your opinion, to expose students to text-based programming, as opposed to the block-based environment of tools such as Scratch?
    • At what age range do you think we should be trying to engage students with programming?

  • When the teacher’s day was introduced as part of the education summit for PyCon UK what was the initial reception from the educators who attended?

    • How has the format for the teacher’s portion of the conference changed in the subsequent years?
    • What have been some of the most useful or beneficial aspects for the teacher’s and how much engagement occurs between the conferences?

  • What was your involvement in the initiative that brought the BBC micro:bit to UK classrooms?

    • What kinds of feedback have you gotten from students who have had an opportunity to use them?
    • What are some of the most interesting or unexpected uses of the micro:bit that you have seen?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA