A hundred thousand programmes with Hedy!
How can I teach children programming in a playful way? That's the question Felienne Hermans asked herself when she gave programming lessons to children on Saturdays. In March 2020 she launched the Hedy programming language, and with success: 100,000 programs have already been made with Hedy worldwide.
Step by step
Hedy is a programming language that teaches children to program step by step. This skill is becoming increasingly important in the digital age, especially for children. Hermans: 'The biggest problem is that programming languages, such as the popular language Python, are not easy to learn. There are a lot of syntax rules that you have to know to get results. For example, to make the simple phrase 'Hello all' appear on the screen, you need to enter the code print(“Hello all”). Do you make a punctuation error, for example by forgetting a parenthesis or a quotation mark? Then the code freezes and you get an error message.'
Like a video game
Hedy doesn't have that problem, because it's a gradual programming language. Just like with a computer game, you get to know all the rules step by step. ‘The first levels are simple, with only a few rules,' says Hermans. The phrase 'Hello all' appears in the beginning by only entering print hello all, without punctuation. As you progress, more rules are added, until you finally know all the rules needed to program in Python.'
The 100,000th program
Meanwhile Hedy is a worldwide success. The open source character of the program ensures that everyone can contribute to the code. Many people helped to translate Hedy into French, Spanish or Portuguese and to increase the reach of Hedy. In addition, the great media attention and even the Corona crisis contributed to its success: Hedy was launched just after schools were forced to close in March 2020. Supported by instruction videos that Hermans shot in her living room, Hedy was an excellent way to combat boredom. It is clear that it was used eagerly. Barely 9 months later, at the beginning of December, someone in England made the 100,000th program with Hedy and received a prize for it.
Try it yourself? Visit the website of Hedy.
Text: Chris Flinterman