CS Lectures

Prof. Felienne Hermans

Prof. Felienne Hermans / Non-English Programming with Hedy

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Hedy is a gradual programming language to make learning programming easier, using different language levels. In level 1, there is hardly any syntax at all, for example printing is done with:

print hello Copenhagen!

In every level, new syntax and concepts are added, until kids are doing a subset of Python in level 18 with conditions, loops, functions, variables, and lists. Hedy is open source, runs in the browser, is free to use, and is available in 47 different languages (Including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi).

In this talk, Hedy's creator Felienne will take you through all changes that were necessary to make Hedy work multilingually, with a special emphasis on right to left languages which included extensive changes to the parser and transpiler. The talk will help you understand the technical and cultural implications of inclusive programming (language) design.

About the Speaker

Felienne is a professor of Computer Science Education at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She also works as a high-school Computer Science teacher one day a week at Lyceum Kralingen in the Codasium program. Felienne is the creator of the Hedy programming language, a gradual and multi-lingual programming language designed for teaching. She is the author of “The Programmer’s Brain“, a book that helps programmers understand how their brain works and how to use it more effectively. In 2021, Felienne was awarded the Dutch Prize for ICT research. She also has a biweekly tech column on BNR, a Dutch radio station. Felienne blogs at felienne.com.