The Python Podcast.__init__

The Python Podcast.__init__

The podcast about Python and the people who make it great

12 August 2019

Learning To Program In Python With CodeGrades - E224

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With the increasing role of software in our world there has been an accompanying focus on teaching people to program. There are numerous approaches that have been attempted to achieve this goal with varying levels of success. Nicholas Tollervey has begun a new effort that blends the approach adopted by musicians and martial artists that uses a series of grades to provide recognition for the achievements of students. In this episode he explains how he has structured the study groups, syllabus, and evaluations to help learners build projects based on their interests and guide their own education while incorporating useful skills that are necessary for a career in software. If you are interested in learning to program, teach others, or act as a mentor then give this a listen and then get in touch with Nicholas to help make this endeavor a success.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today Nicholas Tollervey is back to talk about his work on CodeGrades, a new effort that he is building to blend his backgrounds in music, education, and software to help teach kids of all ages how to program.


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by describing what CodeGrades is and what motivated you to start this project?
    • How does it differ from other approaches to teaching software development that you have encountered?
    • Is there a particular age or level of background knowledge that you are targeting with the curriculum that you are developing?
  • What are the criteria that you are measuring against and how does that criteria change as you progress in grade levels?
  • For someone who completes the full set of levels, what level of capability would you expect them to have as a developer?
  • Given your affiliation with the Python community it is understandable that you would target that language initially. What would be involved in adapting the curriculum, mentorship, and assessments to other languages?
    • In what other ways can this idea and platform be adapted to accomodate other engineering skills? (e.g. system administration, statistics, graphic design, etc.)
  • What interesting/exciting/unexpected outcomes and lessons have you found while iterating on this idea?
  • For engineers who would like to be involved in the CodeGrades platform, how can they contribute?
  • What challenges do you anticipate as you continue to develop the curriculum and mentor networks?
  • How do you envision the future of CodeGrades taking ship in the medium to long term?

Keep In Touch



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

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