What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this instruction-based application requires quite a bit of reading. KidsRuby is a download that runs on your computer, so it doesn't require an Internet connection. The application provides a decent overview of how programming works, although some of the information may be too complex or not explained in enough detail for kids to understand. Having a parent or teacher review the information and test out the coding examples with kids can help.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
- reading comprehension
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- digital creation
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
KidsRuby involves a lot of reading. Kids may enjoy trying to create a basic shape or write programming code to ask a question once or twice, but there aren't many additional activities to keep them coming back.
The content on how programming works is informative, but the Ruby programming instruction feels like it just skims the surface. Kids can see results if they test out a few examples but won't pick up too many programming specifics.
The Help section provides most of the information, but kids don't receive direct feedback or help if they make a programming mistake. KidsRuby also posts some information and updates on a blog and its Twitter account.
What's it about?
The Ruby programming language was created in 1995 in Japan by developer Yukihiro Matsumoto. The KIDSRUBY site features an application that kids can download and use to learn about this simplified coding system -- and programming in general. The application also lets them test out the programming examples included in the text; they just need to key them into the browser and click "Run" to view the result.
Is it any good?
KidsRuby gives some good background on programming and lets kids play and create using a fairly easy-to-understand coding language. Unfortunately, there's a lot of text to wade through, which might cause kids to quickly lose interest. Although the information doesn't offer a ton of programming instruction and can sometimes be a little unclear, KidsRuby can serve as a good jumping off point to help kids learn what programming is -- and try their hand at using it.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about breaking down complex procedures, like programming, to complete them. How can you divide a project into a series of tasks to make it easier?
What other actions can be automated or structured like programming code? Can you see any connections between writing code and other tasks?
Ask your kids if any of the instructions weren't clear and if trying out the code helped. How can testing things you're learning help you understand them?