Concrete and Other Neo-Piagetian Forms of Reasoning in the Novice Programmer

Australian Computer Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Thirteenth Australasian Computing Education Conference, 2011, pp. 9 - 18
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Abstract This paper brings together a number of empirical research results on novice programmers, using a neo-Piagetian theoretical framework. While there already exists literature connecting programming with classical Piagetian theory, in this paper we apply neo-Piagetian theory. Using that neo-Piagetian perspective, we offer an explanation as to why attempts to predict ability for programming via classical Piagetian tests have yielded mixed results. We offer a neo-Piagetian explanation of some of the previously puzzling observations about novice programmers, such as why many of them make little use of diagrams, and why they often manifest a non-systematic approach to writing programs. We also develop the relatively unexplored relationship between concrete operational reasoning and programming, by exploring concepts such as conservation and reversibility.
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