Wednesday, April 12, 2006

London Knowledge Lab

Logo turtle
LKL collection

I enjoyed my opportunity to present on Pythonic Mathematics to a skeletal LKL staff; most had escaped for the Easter weekend, or "bank holiday" as many prefer to think of it. No matter, the presentation was videotaped, plus was an education for me.

These UKers seemed genuinely cheered by the generous helping of memes I heaped on their plates, about young pre-college students using Python to cast "math objects" in object oriented code, including all these colorful polyhedra, pre-calibrated per the Fuller School's preferred design.

I had a live Internet connection plus a repurposed version of my most recent OSCON presentation.

Here in the UK, there's a top-down approach to maths which makes the teacher's role pretty much cut and dried. Bold experiments like mine just don't get tried. A dreary inertia prevails. Phillip expressed some nostalgia for bygone decades when people were more into trying new things.

Why do we think programming has to be "hard" anyway?

After the talk, Phillip (Dr. Kent) escorted me to Friends House, where I met Nancy Irving, general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), and family friend. We had dinner together (Italian). I'll be staying in her flat my last night in London, while she's on business in Scotland.

Nancy Irving next to Gandhi statue
(photo by K. Urner)