Gas station without pumps

2011 March 5

Online Python Tutor

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:33
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I have previously posted in Computer Languages for Kids and What should high-school computer education be? about my fondness for Python as an early teaching language (after Scratch).

I was recently pointed to a moderately handy teaching tool for Python: a single-stepper that works on the web: Online Python Tutor.

I’ve never found single-stepping to be a big win in teaching (I never used it even when teaching Scratch to complete novices).  It is sometimes useful for debugging, but only for expert users who can figure out what all the intermediate states are supposed to be, and notice a discrepancy.

Generally, I find it more useful when working with new programmers to get them to build tiny things first and understand them well, then use them as building blocks without having to tear them apart one step at a time.  But I’ve not worked with that many new programmers, so it may indeed be useful for some to have a single-stepper to watch what happens.

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