[Q] Ruby for educational purposes and localization

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Laurent Julliard, May 23, 2004.

  1. All,

    I have been thinking for some time now about the right way to teach
    the basic of computer languages and programming to young children that
    are roughly 11/12 years old.

    In my first experiments I found them extremelly good at picking the
    basic ideas of object oriented programming. Creating objects which
    answers messages is something they understand almost instantly.

    After telling them about the first basic OOP conmcepts came the
    question of what environment to use to let them implement their first
    program. After some trial and errors sessions it looks like Ruby is
    easy enough to understand for them and they were able to implement a
    few things very quickly.

    The problem is that for non english speaking children, all programming
    languages add the burden of learning the reserved keywords of the
    language (Class, method, for, each, while,etc...) which are all in
    English and not in their mother tongue.

    So I started to think about a way by which one could define "synonyms"
    for all Ruby reserved keywords in another language (e.g in French
    "while" would be "tantque", "do" becomes "faire", etc...). All this
    should be done while preserving the ability to require any existing
    Ruby module written in plain english.

    I would be happy to start a discussion on that topic and welcome any
    input on what the alternatives would be to do this?



    PS: I am now convinced that Ruby is ideal for teaching computer
    programming to children, the next step is to have something similar to
    the Squeak Environment (http://www.squeak.org).
    Laurent Julliard, May 23, 2004
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  2. Hi Laurent,

    This has been my interest for the past year or so and my 12 yr old son
    and I have been working on it for a while. In fact, if selected, we will be
    presenting our work at RubyConf 2004. I will definitely like to collaborate
    on writing an environment that is similar to the Etoys component of Squeak.
    One of the ways to do this, I think, is to build a bridge between Squeak
    and Ruby. There are quite a few experts who are well versed in both these
    langs and I am sure they can help us through it. I think Ruby fits well
    into the "Constructivist" model of learning and I will be dedicating my
    to support this claim. I have some other projects which are on my plate
    right now, so I will be able to contribute only after July.

    Let me know what you think.
    -- shanko
    Shashank Date, May 23, 2004
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  3. il Sun, 23 May 2004 13:53:59 +0200, Laurent Julliard
    have you thought about writing a dumb wrapper around ruby that just
    does a gsub!(/word/,'mot') of the script and then pipes it into the
    real ruby?
    gabriele renzi, May 23, 2004
  4. This is one possible scenario although there is always the risk of
    changing words that are in normal strings. Another point is that
    ideally this should be made transparent and the "localized" ruby file
    should first require a specific module which does the processing
    before ruby evaluates the rest of the file. Is this possible?

    e.g. something like

    require 'french_ruby'

    i = 0
    tantque i < 5
    affiche i
    Laurent Julliard, May 23, 2004
  5. Laurent Julliard

    Hal Fulton Guest

    That sounds like a possibility. Another would be to build a "custom"
    Ruby by editing the source and translating the keywords. I don't
    think this is as hard as it sounds.

    Hal Fulton, May 23, 2004
  6. That's really easy, just edit file "keywords" and rebuild the Ruby
    interpreter. I quickly tried this out by germanizing some keywords as
    shown below (note that it wasn't possible to build the full "ruby"
    executable easily this way, only miniruby):

    % miniruby
    wenn 1 == 1 dann
    puts "okay"
    puts "falsch"

    BUT: Mixing different keyword languages is not possible in this way.


    Michael Neumann, May 23, 2004
  7. I'd suggest to just teach them the few words they need. Kids are quick
    to pick things up, and it'll save them having to 'relearn' the
    programming language later.
    Thomas Fini Hansen, May 23, 2004
  8. I don't actually suggest to translate the keywords into german or any
    other language. It was just a test to see whether it works or not.

    But maybe for very very small scripts where you know all the libraries
    which are available in advance this makes sense. Imagine something like
    Logo, but actually using Ruby.

    To solve the each/jeden problem:

    module Enumerable
    def jeden(*args, &b)
    each(*args, &b)


    Michael Neumann, May 23, 2004
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