I write software. I use a programming language called Python. As well as being very easy to learn and fun to use Python is an amazingly powerful language that's used by thousands of organisations the world over - from the likes of Google, Bank of America / Merrill Lynch, and NASA to small start-ups and scrappy little websites such as this one. Every day, you inadvertently encounter thousands of digital creations made with Python. By any measure of technical success Python, it seems, is a triumph.
For all Python's technical prestige, I believe the most important aspect of Python is the community that has evolved around the language. Perhaps Guido's desire for computer programming for everyone set the seeds for the growth of such a community. Of course, the development of Python is an entirely voluntary affair and inevitably attracts the sort of person who likely wants to contribute to the wider public good. Maybe it's because the Python Software Foundation (the charitable organisation that promotes Python and coordinates its development) is not just sympathetic to but proactive in encouraging engagement in Python programming no matter your background and especially if you belong to an underrepresented group of nascent programmers.
Happily, the UK's Python community are a diverse bunch who maintain a reputation as a friendly, welcoming and dynamic group. Every year we meet for our community organised PyconUK conference. We come together in a way that reflects the widely held view that diversity and friendliness are strengths of our community to be celebrated and fostered (to paraphrase PyconUK's statement on diversity and conduct).
For the past three years we have welcomed colleagues who are teachers of Python in UK schools. For the past two years we have put on a special education track to promote programmer / teacher collaboration and mutual learning. Last year we ran a kids' day where the proto-programmers of tomorrow explored Python with the technologists of today. The following videos give you a flavour of what we got up to:
We are delighted to be running an education track at this year's PyconUK (to be held on 19th-22nd September in Coventry).
The philosophy of the education track is simple: wonderful things happen when diverse groups of people come together to learn about and explore empowering technology such as Python.
If you are a teacher, parent, programmer or young person interested in exploring technology then the education track has something for you. We have secured some very generous support for teachers, parents and young people to attend at little or no cost. Kudos to Bank of America, The Python Software Foundation, Hewlett Packard, The Raspberry Pi Foundation and our very own PyconUK Society for their extraordinarily abundant support.
Full details can be found here:
Book now because places are limited!