<-- Back to schedule

Making Python More Fun for Everyone

Project: SingPath

We spent the first part of our careers developing products and managing software teams at IBM, Dell, and Texas Instruments. After moving to Singapore, we each found are way into the education space and found ourselves teaching Python to a variety of audiences. We developed our first Python game for a friend of ours who was teaching computer science in a local high school. Since then, it has been a continual journey to see how fun we could make learning python before our now 10-year old daughter was ready to pickup the keyboard and start helping out. In this talk, we will talk about where our journey started, where we are today, and where we hope to be in the near future. We will discuss the Tournament-based Teaching methodology that we developed to increase student preparation, in-class engagement, and peer-based learning. Then we will talk about our research in to using mobile devices such as the iPad to help students practice reading and working with python to gain confidence before moving on to writing code. We will discuss our latest family project where we have worked with our children to create a fun python quest to encourage learners around the world to practice their python for just a few minutes more each week. Then looking forward, we will talk about our latest research in to pair-based programming assignments, pair-programming tournaments, team-based logic competitions, encouraging more girls to try programming, and the goal to frame programming as a very healthy habit. Our hope is that this talk will be interesting for educators looking to increase student engagement and interest, for managers looking for fun ways to increase the productivity of their development teams, and for parents looking for additional ways to enable their children to experiment with python.

Chris Boesch

Sandra Boesch has more than 16 years experience working in the technology industry. Sandra worked at IBM for over 10 years serving in product management and corporate training roles. In 2010, Sandra founded Pivotal Expert in Singapore to develop games to help users practice high-tech skills. Sandra has considerable experience in interaction design, public relations, and corporate training. She received a Bachelors degree in Public Relations from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an MBA from Mary Hardin Baylor, and a PhD in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University. Sandra's research interests include user interaction design and applying game dynamics in the field of education.

Chris Boesch has more than 16 years experience working in the technology industry for companies such as Texas Instruments, Acer, and Dell. During his career, he has received numerous awards for business process innovation and has filed 16 patents for software and hardware innovations. Chris is currently an Associate Professor of Information Systems (Education) at Singapore Management University where he teaches courses on Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, and Architecture Analysis. Chris has considerable experience in the areas of architecture, design, and building globally scalable applications. Chris is a hands on pioneer who is passionate about the evolution of cloud computing and its potential to enhance the field of education. He received his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University. Chris' research interests include expert systems, cloud computing, and leveraging big data in the field of education.