PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 3

(part 1, part 2)

A “Closing” Reflection

PyCon logoIt’s always hard to leave a good conference, and PyCon 2012 was an amazing conference in so many ways. I am sad to see my first PyCon come to an end, but I have been to enough conferences to know that what really matters is how you follow up on a good conference. It’s time to put to use what we have learned over the last week or so.

I went into this conference unsure what to expect, and unsure whether I would fit in here. I had no need to worry. The Python community is incredibly diverse, and it seems like everyone is working on an interesting problem. I met a guy tonight who is working on a project to improve the health of people all over South Africa by connecting people to health care resources through their mobile phones. Not everyone is working on something of this magnitude, but everyone is trying to do something important. People did not see me as a teacher here. Everyone I met assumed I was using Python to do something interesting, just like everyone else. So they listened to me and accepted me just like they listen to and accept everyone else in the Python community. My conversations this week have gone right to the heart of what each of us is trying to do, how we are doing it, and how we might do it more effectively. That’s the hacker culture.

I won’t revisit my goals for the conference here, except to say that everything I participated in this weekend was relevant to at least one of those goals. I will spend my last night here doing what we all want to be doing right now, hacking on our projects using what we’ve just learned. I called this a closing reflection just to be done with this series of posts, but I am in no way finished writing about PyCon. I will continue to reflect on what went on here, and write about some of the specific, concrete ways I want to follow up on ideas that came up here. One of the next posts will be a description of the current educational problem I am working on.

If you have been on the fence about whether to go to PyCon because you’re not sure you fit in, all I can say is please register for next year’s conference as soon as registration is open. If you are working on an interesting or meaningful problem, you will be accepted. If all you do is see the potential that Python and the Python community represent, come as well. You will be inspired, you will meet great people, and you will make good things happen.

PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 2
PyCon 2012: Side trip to the redwoods
PyCon 2012: Saying “Thank you” to Guido
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 3

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About ehmatthes

Teacher, hacker, new dad, outdoor guy
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