Natural language and programming: designing effective environments for novices

Good, Judith and Howland, Kate (2015) Natural language and programming: designing effective environments for novices. Visual Languages and Human Centric Computing, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 18-22 Oct 2015. Published in: 2015 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC). 73-77. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ISBN 978146737456-9

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Given the current drive to teach computational concepts to all from an early age, we consider whether traditional programming languages are truly necessary, or whether natural language might be a suitable medium for program generation and comprehension, given its familiarity and ubiquity. We conducted an empirical study on the use of natural language for computation, and found that, although it provides support for understanding computational concepts, it introduces additional difficulties when used for coding. Following a design study with target users, we distilled our findings into a series of design guidelines for novice programming environments that incorporate natural language. These guidelines drove the design of Flip, a bimodal programming language for young people's game creation activities. Two empirical studies examined the extent to which these embodied design guidelines support ease of use and an understanding of computation. The guidelines have potential both for analysing the usability of existing novice programming environments, and for designing new ones.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Additional Information: Published in: Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), 2015 IEEE Symposium on; ISBN: 9781467374576.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
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Depositing User: Kate Howland
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2016 09:09
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2018 14:59

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Flip: A concurrent bi-modal programming language for computational thinkingG0307EPSRC-ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCILEP/G006989/1