PyCon 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio

Thursday 1 p.m.–1:30 p.m. in

Reinventing education with Python in 2019

Samson Goddy, Vipul Gupta


The current education system of many developing and developed countries is facing two key problems. Linearity and Conformity. Linearity is defined as the progression of education from one stage to another whereas conformity is how we standardize every process involved with education. Students in schools are not able to express their creativity, grow their cognitive skills and their logic building skills because of stringent rules, arcane examination system and the endless process of rote-learning. We like to be different, we like to be the change. Reinventing how we look at education in 2019 is the aim of Sugar Labs. Sugar Labs has been revolutionizing the approach to code teaching methods and how we educate children all over the world. And with Sugar Labs, Python comes into the center of it all, with all Open-Source educational projects based on the Python programming language. You’ll be amazed at how educational projects like “Sugar” have changed the perception of how children actually learn. In this talk, we will be covering the main aspects of Sugar serving as a learning tool. We’ll take a tour of how the power of Python is being harnessed in the Sugar ecosystem to create hundreds of learning applications called activities that introduce children to programming, computational thinking and problem-solving with a special focus on learning by doing approach. Free/Libre Software Sugar is licensed under the General Public License. This ensures that the learner has permission to both use Sugar and modify it. This is very possible because Sugar has no black boxes: The learner sees what the software does and how it does it. Sugar is written in Python and comes with all of the tools necessary to modify Sugar applications and itself. Python was chosen because of its transparency and clarity. It is a very approachable language for inexperienced programmers. With just one keystroke or mouse click, the Sugar “View Source” feature allows the users to look at any program they are running. A second mouse click results in a copy of the application being saved to the Sugar Application (Activities) directory, where it immediately available for modification. We use a “copy on write” scheme in order to reduce the risk of breaking critical tools. If there is no penalty for breaking code, There is a better risk-reward for exploring and modifying the code. Activities Sugar comes with a lot of fun activities (Application) examples; Pippy allows the student to examine, execute and modify simple Python programs. A student can also write basic statements to play sounds, calculate expressions, or make simple text-based interactive games. Pippy allows you to create new Sugar activity and also create a library Turtle Blocks is an activity with a Logo-inspired graphical “turtle” that draws colorful art based on the snap-together visual programming elements. Its “low floor” provides an easy entry point for beginners. Turtle Blocks allow learners to export projects into python code and edit them more in Pippy activity. Our goal is to work towards reinventing education tools that help the student community and grow our platforms for it to reach more people that need it in 2019.