Teaching Ruby to High School Girls

Please post your comments here on my Teaching Kids article.

I wrote an article for the RailsBridge Teaching Kids site about my experience teaching Ruby to high school girls a few weeks ago. Go read it over there!

That site doesn’t have comments, though, so I’m linking back here because I’d like to hear your comments and suggestions for improving the program.

Thanks!

23 comments to Teaching Ruby to High School Girls

  • This is the greatest programming post I’ve read all week. You rock!

  • I think you’ve done a great job demonstrating some of the most important traits of a good instructor: not being afraid of the unexpected! Kids will have a natural inclination to explore, and it’s great that you let them go with the color exploration for a bit, and yet found a way to steer the class so that all of the main goals could still be achieved.

  • The comment about Shoes speaking Spanish – it’s kind of funny, but it also highlights the fact that everything is so English-centric.

  • Sarah, you absolutely rock. I’m thrilled that you were able to bring our line of work into focus for this group of young women. I hope many of them will pursue software development and enrich our profession in the years to come.

  • I constantly think about what it’s like to teach someone how to program, and how to convey the concepts in a fun, interesting way.

    Your post was inspiring!

  • Wow, phenomenal write-up! Inspirational and instructive in many ways.

    (I also can’t help when reading this but to grow nostalgic about my own first stabs at learning to program. Of course, I don’t think many of us had the benefit of such excellent guidance)

  • Totally amazing! FYI, I live in Santa Clara, and would love to help out next time you do this! — Dr. Ernie

  • Telemachus

    The course itself looks fun and a great way to introduce high school students to programming quickly. My only concern is not really your fault, but bad timing. As a depressing upshot of the whole _why business, all the links to Shoes are now no good. I know that there are various sites trying to mirror _why’s work, but does anyone have a quick suggestion for where to download Shoes itself? (I’ve found the docs mirrored but not the downloads.)

    @Sarah, if possible, it would be nice to update the links on the RailsBridge page. Otherwise, any would-be Ruby enthusiasts will immediately run into trouble getting started with this project.

  • @Telemachus you can find shoes here: http://github.com/whymirror/shoes/downloads

    Sarah, this is really cool. I’m very interested in this whole teaching topic, as I’m carrying on with Hackety Hack… I’ll be looking over everything in more detail later, I was going to be teaching a class of my own soon, and I might just have to follow your curriculum.

  • glaros

    Really good work!!!

  • In Germany there is a yearly event called Girl’s Day where young (10-15?) girls can visit different tech workplaces.

    I hosted a bunch of them and taught them the basics of programming using kara (http://www.swisseduc.ch/compscience/karatojava/kara/). Initially I just explained the finite state machines approach to “program” the bug. The girls were better than expected and I had some time left at the end so I quickly explained how to use Ruby instead of the state machines (http://www.swisseduc.ch/informatik/karatojava/rubykara/).

  • Ryan

    Nice work! One thing that might help if you do this again could be to use a simple syntax-highlighting editor (Notepad++, maybe? I usually use full-weight IDEs myself but I realize that that would be far too complicated in this case). That way, the students could more easily notice errors in their copying – at least ones that caused the colors to be different – and it could help with the indenting too.

  • That is so incredibly awesome. When I was in high school, I took a C++/DirectX game programming class…and years later I’m still making games :D You never know where they’ll carry their experience.

  • Excellent post :) You really talked it out in layman terms. That is a real art, not many developers can simplify it down to people that get completely lost when the word “code” is said.

  • [...] attended a talk by my friend Sarah Mei on “Teaching Ruby to High School Girls” at SF-Ruby Meet-up a month or so ago. There was a discussion afterwards that was very inspiring- [...]

  • felexmax

    One thing that might help if you do this again could be to use a simple syntax-highlighting editor Notepad++, maybe? I usually use full-weight IDEs myself but I realize that that would be far too complicated in this case.I was going to be teaching a class of my own soon, and I might just have to follow your curriculum.

  • You really talked it out in layman terms. That is a real art, not many developers can simplify it down to people that get completely lost when the word “code” is said.

  • Curious to see what all you intellectuals need to say about this……….

  • [...] Sarah Mei » Teaching Ruby to High School Girls 15 Aug 2009. 19 comments to Teaching Ruby to High School Girls.. That is a real art, not many developers can simplify it down to people that get Sarah Mei » Teaching Ruby to High School Girls [...]

  • Ed Jones

    Sarah, great article!! SOmeone finally got me to install Shoes!

    The main Shoes site is now: http://shoesrb.com/ (Maybe change it on the Railsbridge article?)

    Ed

  • [...] Sarah Mei » Teaching Ruby to High School Girls19 comments to Teaching Ruby to High School Girls … The course itself looks fun and a great way to introduce high school students to programming quickly. My only concern … I wrote an article for the RailsBridge Teaching Kids site about my experience teaching Ruby to high school girls a few weeks ago. Go read it over there! [...]