Common Sense Media says

Download gives good background on coding, so-so instruction.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Learning, tech skills, and creating are encouraged.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A few other programs and applications are mentioned in connection with use of the application, but they're free to download.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The instruction-based application doesn't put users directly in contact with each other.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • functions
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • strategy

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • functions
  • sequences

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • strategy

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn how programming works and how to code a few basic instructions using Ruby Programming language. Kids can create shapes, set up simple Q&A responses, and create basic math equations. Learning about sequential order could potentially build logic and critical thinking skills, and kids get a subtle lesson in communication when programming is compared to explaining yourself to a computer. Kids can test some examples, but if they get lost, there's no direct feedback. KidsRuby would benefit from visual examples to illustrate each concept and more programming instructions.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of KidsRuby was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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