Creative Coding in Python

I ran into Sheena Vaidyanathan at the recently CSTA Conference. (See my interview with her here. It includes links to resources that she’s created.)

Now, running into Sheena isn’t strange; she’s a regular at this conference. It was the circumstance that was strange. Just five minutes before I saw her, I had cleaned up the check-in desk and saw that someone had left a book on the counter. It was called “Creative Coding in Python” and written by Sheena with a 2019 Copyright.

I had a quick flip through the book, noting all the colourful pages and then put it on the back shelf for the owner to claim it.

When I saw Sheena, I figured she had to be the owner and was showing it off. I had a quick discussion about it, thinking that she was selling them at the conference but no, she wasn’t. And, this copy wasn’t hers. She told me to take it if nobody came looking for it.

Fortunately for me, I guess, nobody came to ask about it so it came home with me and provided me with the chance to read it cover to cover on the flight home. Now, I did have a couple of other books on my iPad to read that would be considered more recreational but I’ve given up being worried about looking geeky long ago!

I was nicely surprised with the format. I’ll admit, your typical Computer Science book isn’t exactly a page turner! But this one was. I didn’t have Python on my computer to try the examples but I did them in my head and it wasn’t long before I was at the end of the book.

I found the content a nice combination of old and new school content. I wondered to myself if you actually had to be old school to recognize the old school content.

There are five chapters, each devoted to a specific content that introduced and expanded on the concepts.

  • Chapter 1 – Create your own chatbots
  • Chapter 2 – Create your own art masterpieces
  • Chapter 3 – Create your own adventure games
  • Chapter 4 – Create your own dice games
  • Chapter 5 – Create your own apps and games

As to be expected, new concepts are added as you go along and the programs become more sophisticated as you work your way through the book. In the side columns, Sheena introduces and fleshes our computer concepts along the way.

So, who is the audience? Sheena teaches middle school and the writing level and activities would fit very nicely there. Of course, there are all kinds of tools for development of code in Python; she goes conservative and talks about using IDLE. I could see this book being used as a reference for a teacher learning and using Python with students. I could also see it being in the Resource Centre for students to check out if their regular classes are using a block based application for those who want to go further.

Of course, keeping with tradition, the first program is a “Hello world”.

The book is available through Amazon here. Click the cover and explore things.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

4 thoughts on “Creative Coding in Python

  1. Hi Doug!

    Yesterday I followed the link to a Python Masterclass deal that was shared by Peter Beens on the ACSE list:

    The pay-what-you-want suggested price for the entire course was up to $13.74 from the referenced ~$11 average in the blog post. I followed Alice down the rabbit hole and found a nice, lesson-by-lesson video based series of courses. The first course in the series starts with the basics — I was putting the usual inside the parentheses in the first line of code seconds before the instructor actually suggested it, but
    print (“Hello World!”)
    functioned just as one would expect.

    Python doesn’t ask for semicolons. Nice!

    I know that everything is available on the Internet (and in text, which can be a lot faster than sitting through videos that run at the pace of someone else), and all you have to do is search for it, but Peter had suggested this as something that might be useful, and I have come to learn that some students are supported much better by video learning than text.

    Once you’re past the basics, the course continues subsequent learning within a bunch of interesting contexts, not dissimilar to the list in Sheena’s book.

    • Making graphs in python
    • Pygame
    • Web scraping in python
    • Machine Learning with Python
    • Scientific computing with python
    • Python web programming
    • Python object oriented programming

    All told, there are 14 courses incorporating something like 60 hours of video.

    Just what I needed, another list of things to learn (this summer, and on into the coming months/years beyond!) !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Doug
    I’ve been learning self-teaching myself Python since my last job ended and I’ve been on disability. Best thing for me was to have multiple platforms for convenience plus ability to do cross platform testing. So I primarily use Pythonista 3 on iPad, Anaconda for Windows 10, and for web.

    Most interesting learning projects are replicating code I’ve written in other languages. Try the Rosetta Code, and other python example sites. Ive tried a couple automated code learning apps, and YouTube videos.

    So far some of the PyCon videos have been instructive, but so far Michael Kennedy’s Talk Python to Me podcast and there’s a young guy with a channel called “sentdex” who’s very sharp & good with instructive videos.

    I’ve been in IT for over 20 yrs so my attention span not too good but I’ve learned a lot so far. Let me know if you want more info.

    I have my own WordPress site and working on a couple more.


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