29th June, 2005 (with minor updates 11th January, 2009)
An introduction to computer programming using Python. Suitable for all ages, but some of the exercises assume high school/secondary school maths.
You are free to modify or distribute the text under the terms of the DSL. This website is no longer actively maintained. I welcome questions and comments, although I should warn you that I’m out of the Python loop, and you’ll probably get a quicker and more useful reply from the appropriate mailing list. If you’re stuck with a Python programming problem, tutor is the list for you, while EDU-sig is for discussion of teaching techniques, usually specific to Python.
The above notes are the result of a Masters project to assess the suitability of Python as a language to teach computer programming. The victims were a group of physics undergraduates at the University of Oxford. An overview of the project is provided by this article, which appeared in issue 3 of Pyzine.
The handbook is designed to be used by students as a textbook. It has much local information (in particular chapter 1 and some of chapter 2) which is probably of no interest. Chapter 3 and chapter 4 are generally applicable and form an introduction to procedural programming. The handbook assumes no programming experience but does assume some mathematical aptitude. It is probably suitable for secondary/high school and above.
The report was submitted as my Masters dissertation in 2002. It’s very badly written and I stand by almost none of the statements I make in it, but it may be useful to someone.