Ruby at School?

by pat eyler

There have been several threads on comp.lang.ruby about Ruby's suitability as a teaching language (most recently here), with people lining up on both sides of the discussion. I think I may have found a significant point in favor of using Ruby in a school setting.

While I was off looking at Computer Science materials different schools have put up on the web, I discovered that Ruby is being used in courses at Harvard. Their CS50 (introduction to computer Science) says:

To address [our] goals, we will attack interesting problems with the C programming language and the Ruby scripting language. These problems include algorithms for searching, sorting, and other useful, everyday tasks. To better understand these solutions, we cover techniques for the analysis of such algorithms and devices for structuring data and other interesting content, as well as the organization and security of computer systems and networks.


Sure, I'd like to see them lose the 'scripting language' monicker, but they are using the language. Anyone else know of a school using Ruby in their curriculum?

5 Comments

MrChucho
2006-02-23 08:49:15
I think Ruby is great for younger students, too. At our local Primary School, the kids are learning programming by using Python to control "robots" (ala LOGO).


To me, the "natural" feel to Ruby would be well-suited for young learners. Which would make more sense to a fifth-grader:


4.times do
robot.turn_right
end


or


for i in range(4):
robot.turn_right



(Not sure if the formatting works correctly...)

MrChucho
2006-02-23 08:54:39
Reposted the code w/ formatting...

4.times do
    robot.turn_right
end

versus

for i in range(4):
    robot.turn_right
Eric Knapp
2006-02-23 09:13:27
I am an instructor at a technical college and I will be teaching a course on Ruby and Ruby on Rails starting next fall. A 2-year technical college course has a different focus than a 4-year college computer science course. We focus on job skills for working professionals and students trying to get job skills. The interest in the course is very high. I'm really looking forward to teaching this course.
art gittleman
2006-02-24 17:47:32
I'm teaching Ruby in a senior programming languages course. See the course site for details.
Ian Waring
2006-02-25 03:33:34
It's a short trip from Harvard down to MIT - so how about seeing if Ruby could add significant value if it were on every one of the millions of "One Laptop per Child" machines.