Hi Linda;


  As Huw noted, it does depend on what you are trying to teach with the
programming language.


  Martin Carlisle at the US Air Force Academy put together an environment
called RAPTOR (http://raptor.martincarlisle.com/) a few years ago. It
requires Windows and .NET but it is a powerful and yet friendly programming
environment. Most of the Air Force Academy students are not CS majors but
they are all required to take a rigorous programming class, and RAPTOR was
invented for this.


  I have seen a respectable PAC-MAN program, music and all, run on this, and
I myself use it for a friendly University-level introduction in parallel
with foundational discrete structures activities ("Crossing the River with
Dogs"). I would also note that I have taught High School, grades 9 - 12, and
I think this would work fine for them. You can measure out how far you take
them with it (although the hardest thing is holding them back once they get


  That might be a solution if "normal" languages - and their compilers and
error messages - are not your friends :).





Michael Leverington, Lecturer

Dept of Computer Science & Engineering

University of Nevada, Reno

 <http://www.cse.unr.edu/~michael> www.cse.unr.edu/~michael - 775-784-1414


"There they go and I must hasten to catch up with them for I am their



On 6 April 2016 at 00:18, Linda McIver <linda.mci...@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello PPIGers,

I am trying to design a data science course for year 10 students that will
be taught to, and in some cases *by* beginners. We'll be using Python both
for its data science credentials and its user friendliness, but the error
messages are a big barrier to success. Students hit one incomprehensible
error message and run screaming in the opposite direction.

I recall some research on error messages and their user friendliness, but I
still can't find any interpreters with beginner friendly error messages,
which surprises me. 

Am I missing something? Is there a treasure trove somewhere? If not, is
there at least some solid research on which we could base the design of a
beginner friendly Python interpreter?

Any and all clues gratefully received.



Exploring Life, Parenting and Social Justice:

Computational Science Education: http://computeitsimple.wordpress.com/

Dr Linda McIver
Teacher & Freelance Writer
Buy Fair Trade - Change the world one coffee at a time


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