Jim Leisy, who publishes John Zelle's Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science, invited me to come down to Willamette University last Friday to attend a presentation on Python as a first computer language for computer science (CS) majors, and for students fulfilling a programming requirement.
Jim and I were along the wall, and helped field questions. The main presentation was by a professor from a small college in Idaho, who had attended one of Zelle's workshops and is now quite satisfied that Python fits the bill, in terms of sparking student enthusiasm and retaining their interest.
Jim had free books for all those present -- a shrewd move, as if even just a couple of profs in that room decide to try it, he'll more than break even selling to their students. But of course it's shrewd only if Python really is well-suited for CS (it is), and if Zelle's book does a good job (it does).
As I wandered off toward lunch, I noticed headlines screaming about Iraqi terrorist literature targeting Salem schools. Wow! But I found myself not really believing it. It smelled like a scare tactic. Sure enough, I'm learning today from the blogosphere, that this was another scam.