Thursday, February 25, 2010

Scenes from LA Ruby Conference - 2010 -Teaching Ruby to Kids

Take Away

It's great to see Sarah evangelizing software training to kids. I've thought about it for a long time and her presentation will spur me to do it. Very good hints on how to do it so that both you and your students both thoroughly enjoy it and become better practitioners.


Sarah Mei - Teaching Ruby to Kids

Teaching is her hobby.


Most programming instructors = FAIL
Teacher needs to be a coder.
Programming is becoming part of basic literacy.
Why should you teach?
  • Rewarding
  • Teaching leads to learning by the teacher.
  • Teaching not rocket science.
Agile teaching
  • set goals
  • form a plan but expect to adapt
  • keep iterations short
Set goals
  • specific
  • imediate,
  • measurable
Form a plan
  • What do I start with?
  • Keep your goals in mind.
  • Software Teaching Tools:
    • Shoes
    • Hackety Hack
    • Small Ruby
  • Kids love anything visual
  • Anything interactive
  • irb: compelling for kids (maybe)
  • Install all the tools you might use on all the computers the kids have access to.
  • start small
  • Use the internet.
Short iterations
  • Your "lesson plan" should be a series of very small steps.
  • 15 minutes or less
Listen to the customer
  • Follow tangents!
  • don't stick to a plan because it's the plan.
  • Don't worry about "finishing"
  • Look for teachable moments.
  • Look for signs they've turned off

"Ruby: the programming language for extroverts"

Deploy continuously
  • Do it often, practice
  • Teaching is a learned skill.
  • Take all opportunities you can to teach.
  • talks at your local meetup
  • pair programming
  • summer camps, etc, need volunteers
  • National Lab Day
  • In SF, I always need teachers for intro workshops.
Expect some things you try to fall flat.
  • Some students won't engage
  • Keep at it.

  • You should teach
  • You can teach
  • Agile is form more than just development.
  • Practice.
Ruby is a great first language.

For really young kids:
  • Scratch
  • Kodu (Microsoft)
  • ISTE has curriculum for elementary school.
  • cs-unplugged (a web site)

web-kit and javascript.

These are drag-and-drop environments.

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