Howdy list,

I'm a highschool student with a very high chance of ending up 
student-teaching the Programming I course during the 07-08 schoolyear.

This year was the first year for the course, and Scheme was used. 
However, I've been talking to the teacher about Ruby, suggesting that 
she should try it for one of the programming courses next year. 
(Unfortunately, there's no ready-made curriculum for Ruby available to 
her, and she is not really a techie, so that idea was shot down.)

If I end up teaching it, I think it would be cool to cover Ruby instead 
of Scheme. I'd have to develop my own curriculum, but whatever.

The goal of the course is to teach programming concepts in half of a 
school year. The things that were covered during this year's course were 
writing functions to do a simple calculation, using variables, and using 
cond/booleans. Many students struggled during the beginning of the year 
with writing basic functions. Our teacher kind of blamed herself for 
that, because this was her first year teaching programming, and she had 
never been trained on Scheme.

I think that teaching students Ruby might be a bit less...arcane. It 
looks friendlier, for one. It would also open the course up to more 
concepts than Scheme offers, like automagic testing, manipulating files, 
object orientation, etc. Teaching OO during this course would probably 
also benefit the kids later on for Java during Programming II...

So, given all of that, I have two questions for ya, list. One, do you 
think there's any merit from teaching pretty non-technical sophomores in 
highschool Ruby over Scheme? And two - Is there a DrScheme-eqsue 
environment available for Ruby (screencap: 
http://www.plt-scheme.org/software/drscheme/tour/images/editor-repl.gif)?

The DrScheme-esque thing is a big deal. The computer labs are *all* 
Windows labs, and nothing will change this. The program serves as a sort 
of incredibly simple IDE. In the top pane, you can put in your code, and 
the bottom pane displays results and lets you use an irb-for-scheme type 
thinggy.

I appreciate any comments you can give me, list.

Regards,
Nick Evans