A4 Article in conference proceedings
Breaking the programming language barrier: Using program visualizations to transfer programming knowledge in one programming language to another




List of Authors: Holvitie Johannes, Rajala Teemu, Haavisto Riku, Kaila Erkki, Laakso Mikko-Jussi, Salakoski Tapio
Publication year: 2012
Journal name in source: Proceedings of the 12th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, ICALT 2012
Number of pages: -103
ISBN: 978-1-4673-1642-2

Abstract


The transition from one programming language to another is an issue, which usually needs to be addressed in programming curricula, as the learning is typically started with syntactically easier languages. This study explores the possibility to use a short interactive tutorial with visualization exercises to ease the transition from Python to Java. In the experiment, the students first took a pre-test to measure their earlier programming knowledge with Python. After that, they used the tutorial with visualization exercises for 45 minutes. The tutorial and the exercises were designed to underline the syntactical and structural differences between Python and Java. Finally, the students answered to post-test, which contained questions similar to pre-test, but in Java. The results indicate, that the students were able to obtain similar program comprehension skills in Java that they previously had with Python. Moreover, the students seem to think that using such tutorials is highly beneficial in the transition. Hence, we conclude, that ViLLE can be effectively used to ease the transition from one language to another. © 2012 IEEE.


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