December 13 – 18 , 2020, Dagstuhl Seminar 20512

CANCELLED Educational Programming Languages and Systems

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this seminar was cancelled. A related Dagstuhl Seminar was scheduled to July 24 – 29 , 2022 – Seminar 22302.


Neil Brown (King's College London, GB)
Mark J. Guzdial (University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, US)
Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University – Providence, US)
Jens Mönig (SAP SE – Walldorf, DE)

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Programming languages and environments designed for educating beginners are typically different from those designed for professionals. Professionals expect more features and can build upon sophisticated concepts (in the semantics, compiler, run-time system, and more). In contrast, languages for beginners should lean the opposite way to minimize complexity, surprise, and frustration.

Designing such languages and environments requires a mix of skills. Some knowledge of programming language issues (semantics and implementation) is essential. But the designer must also take into account human-factors aspects (in the syntax and error messages), cognitive aspects (in picking features, reducing cognitive load, and staging learning), and educational aspects (making the language match the pedagogy). In short, this is a broad and interdisciplinary problem.

Due to peculiarities of existing venues (there is no conference on this topic) and the broad inter-disciplinarity of this topic, there have been few events – and none in recent memory – that focus on the learner’s experience of programming. This Dagstuhl Seminar brings together experts in building programming languages and environment for beginners. We place a special emphasis on demonstrations and inviting each other to try our languages and environments, with a goal of exchanging ideas and setting an agenda for future work.

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Neil C. C. Brown, Mark Guzdial, Shriram Krishnamurthi, and Jens Mönig

Related Dagstuhl Seminar


  • Computers And Society
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Programming Languages


  • Programming environments
  • Errors
  • Learning progressions
  • Computer science education research


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

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