I’m a rails developer part time and a high school AP computer science
teacher full time.
I’ve thought about teaching Rails, but it is really a pretty big chunk
to bite off. Unless your students have a significant background in
computers/technology, a class has to start way farther back than a rails
app. My class starts with the idea of writing instructions. Most
students consider computers “magic” and you have to first break them of
that paradigm. Learn to give the machine instructions and compare what
it does versus what you want. This is the essential nature of computer
programming, and I believe it is best taught with a simplified package
like Karel the Robot (or JKarel, or the hundred other variants).
After they understand writing instructions they should begin to talk
about data; its usage, storage, typing, limitations, etc. From there
build into some basic data structures, maybe simple database concepts,
The only way Rails could be successfully taught is if the students
either have a year of AP-equivalent computer science training already or
have developed similar skills on their own.
If anyone would like to discuss this topic further, especially with the
concept of developing high-school Ruby curriculum, please contact me.
I’m somewhat pondering spending my summer on a ruby/Karel implementation
(“Karel R. Robot”?) and would love to build a team.
Teacher / Technology Coordinator
Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School, Capitol Hill Campus, Washington