Programming: Reading, writing and reversing

Teague, Donna & Lister, Raymond (2014) Programming: Reading, writing and reversing. In Clear, Tony & Pears, Arnold (Eds.) Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, Association for Computing Machinery, Uppsala, Sweden, pp. 285-290.

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In this paper, we look at the concept of reversibility, that is, negating opposites, counterbalances, and actions that can be reversed. Piaget identified reversibility as an indicator of the ability to reason at a concrete operational level. We investigate to what degree novice programmers manifest the ability to work with this concept of reversibility by providing them with a small piece of code and then asking them to write code that undoes the effect of that code. On testing entire cohorts of students in their first year of learning to program, we found an overwhelming majority of them could not cope with such a concept. We then conducted think aloud studies of novices where we observed them working on this task and analyzed their contrasting abilities to deal with it. The results of this study demonstrate the need for better understanding our students' reasoning abilities, and a teaching model aimed at that level of reality.

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9 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 88754
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Neo-Piagetian theory, programming, novice programmers, think aloud, reversibility
DOI: 10.1145/2591708.2591712
ISBN: 9781450328333
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 ACM
Deposited On: 20 Oct 2015 04:42
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2015 04:42

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