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Teaching Children about Clean Code

Felienne Hermans | GOTO Amsterdam 2017

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In the future, everyone will be a programmer! Not just to fill the millions of software vacancies, but also as part of other jobs. A teacher performing some data analysis on their students results, a car mechanic updating a car's firmware, or an artist creating an interactive website as an art piece.

Now how are we going to prepare our children for such a future? This is what Felienne researches at Delft University of Technology.

She wants to understand how children are programming currently, and how they are learning to program. She is mainly interested in teaching children to code well: how to create source code that is easy to read and maintain.

Luckily, there is Scratch, a massively popular programming language for kids, made by MIT. There are over 18 million programs made by kids in their public repository!

So, kids are programming :) That is the good news. But do make pretty programs? Are their programs simple or complex? Do they apply programming concepts or do they just play with the blocks? Do kids develop good programming habits? Are there common code patterns?

To answer those questions, we scraped the Scratch repository, retrieved 250,000 projects and performed source code analysis on them. In this talk, Felienne will show the results of this analysis and the lessons learned.

About the speakers

Felienne Hermans
Felienne Hermans

Author of “The Programmer’s Brain”, Creator of the Hedy programming language