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Programming 4 Girls - Progirling!

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I'm involved in a research project at university to create a programming language designed for women. One of the problems with women entering the field is that programming languages today are all designed around how men think. Our research involves taking existing programs, asking women what they think it does, and find ways to make it more clear to women's way of thinking. We started with the Python language since it's considered easy for beginners. Participants in the study were in the 14-20 age group with no previous programming experience.

The first thing we noticed was that the print function was confusing. Participants were turning on the printers and waiting for the paper to come out with text on it. We found that changing the vocabulary to something they were more familiar with greatly helped. Well over 90% identified the verb "tweet" as the sending of text, eliminating the confusion about the print function.

Before: print("Hello World!")
After: tweet "Hello World!"

Variables were the next challenge. Participants were confused about how the first and second lines were related in the following program. Many believed the program would simply print "x" to the terminal and wondered why the first line was there.
x = 5
tweet x

Despite being slightly more verbose, adding additional keywords proved more helpful. First, we added the "pretend" keyword and we changed the equal sign to "is".
pretend x is 5
tweet x