Microcontrollers, web development, data science and machine learning – with Python you really can do it all, and soon every teacher and student in the ACT will have the curriculum, resources and support they need to do amazing things with a great programming language!
In 2020 the ACT will become the only educational jurisdiction in Australia to offer four unique computer science/programming courses to students studying in their final years of secondary school. These courses – Data Science, Digital Technologies, Networking and Security, and Robotics and Mechatronics – allow for both specialisation and exploration, with options to combine them in various ways or spend two years learning a single topic in depth.
This year experienced educators and local experts are working together to create open source resources that teachers can use for both their own professional learning and as the basis of their teaching programs. These resources will be written for the ACT courses, but will be made freely available to anyone, anywhere – published under a creative commons license and managed via github repositories.
Python is well regarded as a teaching language – it’s easy for beginner programmers to learn, it’s flexible thanks to the wide variety of libraries available, and powerful due to the variety of contexts and domains in which it can be used.
For robotics, Micropython can be run on a BBC micro:bit, or more powerful microcontrollers like the Pyboard or ESP32. Frameworks such as Flask provide everything you need to get a web application up and running quickly and securely using modern web development techniques. Pandas makes doing data science easy, and combining it with scikit-learn gets you started with machine learning faster than you can say tiny occult pandas can do it all!
See examples of the learning materials, classroom activities, projects and assessment that will be published in each of the learning modules, and hear about some of the Python libraries being used to make these topics accessible to all students, regardless of their prior experience.
Watch 'Teaching Python with tiny, occult pandas' on PyCon AU's YouTube account
Prior to his role as a Computing Education Specialist at the Australian Computing Academy, Bruce was acting as Associate Principal of a government college in the ACT with a population of around 1200 students in Years 11 and 12.
Bruce has 13 years experience working in secondary schools, teaching all years levels from Year 6 through 12.
He was a member of the advisory group for the writing of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, and later joined the writing team during the consultation and review process.
He was the 2016 ACCE/ACS Australian ICT Educator of the Year, and founding President of Information Technology Educators ACT.