Mark Sobkowicz has been teaching physics and programming at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School since 1995, and started using Ruby (and Rails) in 2007. He has taught students programming using Logo, Java, RealBasic, Objective C, and Ruby. He lives in Maynard, MA and spends as much time as he can in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where he worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club when he was a younger man.
Ruby: The Next Generation
Introducing programming to young people is a balancing act. What language to use? Bore the quickest students, or leave some behind? Teach them style, or let them discover their own? At Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School, Ruby has helped us bring our Intro to Programming course to a new sweet spot, where students leave the one semester course with a bit of knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm, filling our upper level programming courses and learning more on their own.
As Rubyists we often pride ourselves on our elegant, terse, clever code. When we teach our students, we keep it simple. Simple conditionals, simple loops and iterators. This allows us to get more quickly to a place where students can express their creativity. And thats what gets them hooked.