But wait, if you know much about my ministry, you'll be asking, "What language? You're trying to reach a whole continent where hundreds of languages are spoken!" Or maybe you're remembering I mentioned about a year ago that I'm working on French. Most sub-Saharan African countries list English and/or French as an official language. Well, yes, I still am working on Francais (slowly), but I am learning a new language too. One that can help me reach people of any people group.
What language is that?
Ok, most of you are probably asking, "What the heck do you mean by Python?" It's a programming language - a way of designing programs on the computer. Rice University is actually offering a free online course (not for credit, of course, but legit if you just want to learn it) in Python, so I've been taking that for a few reasons:
- The Lord gave Anthony a breakthrough in training school administrators while he was in Cameroon last summer. We had been frustrating ourselves and our trainees by aiming a fire hose of information at them, trying to get them to absorb a new educational paradigm in two weeks of lecture and reading. One attendee pointed out, "You're not using your own model! If you were, you would be having us learn it by doing it and applying it to our current work." In Cameroon, Anthony realized a way he could teach them our educational model, get them excited about it, and at the same time teach them how to apply it in their schools by teaching them how to schedule and budget for the program using our model. He built a massive, complex spreadsheet for them to use for this. But that spreadsheet is problematic, so we really need to build a computer program designed specifically for this.
- We are going to want to develop courses on how to program. This will be useful for those who want jobs in IT or even certain administrative assistants. It can give us an attractive educational package by which we can share the gospel and disciple people while giving them the knowledge to use it powerfully in the business world, the church, the government, or wherever the Lord puts them. Now, it would be easier just to find someone else who can do this, but good programmers who would be available for this, and have the pedagogical giftset to write TEN3 materials, are scarce. So it would be good for me to know enough programming to contribute.
- It's beneficial to me personally. It's really fun, albeit sometimes frustrating. Granted, right now all my projects are designing games (see http://www.codeskulptor.org/#user5-qdFBY4LmKL-13.py for the latest one I did--just click the "play" triangle icon in the upper left-hand corner). But really, it is sharpening my logic/mathematics skills, which have been waning since I haven't taken anything requiring advanced math in four years. And I'm going to need to hang onto that if I'm going to help develop physics courses in a few years!