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Karel is a programming language and an educational tool for learning the basics of programming. It was inspired by Czech playwright Karel Čapek's R.U.R., where "robots" helped humans with tasks. In Karel, students program a robot named Karel to complete tasks within a simple grid world environment. The language typically includes commands for moving and turning Karel, as well as functions like placing or picking up beepers (the equivalent of objects) scattered around the grid. Through this environment, beginners can understand fundamental concepts such as sequence, iteration (loops), selection (if-else statements), and decomposition of problems into smaller parts using functions/methods.