Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


Hedy: A gradual and multi-lingual programming language for education

When kids learn to program they often use either a visual language like Scratch, or a textual language like Python. While visual languages are great for the first steps, children and educators often want to move on to a textual language. However early on, a textual language and its error messages can be scary and frustrating.

Hedy aims bridge this gap with a programming language that is gradual, using different language levels. In level 1, there is hardly any syntax at all; printing is done with: print hello! At every level, new syntax and concepts are added, so learners do not have to master everything at once. Hedy builds up to a subset of Python including conditions, loops, variables and lists.

To make learning as accessible as possible, Hedy allows for the use of localized keywords, f.e in Spanish:

imprimir Hello!

This talk will discuss the pedagogy of Hedy as well as its technical aspects, since a set of changing and localized complex grammars poses several interesting challenges for parsing, and a small language offers a lot of potential from improved error messages.


Photo of Mark Giesen Mark Giesen