PPIG 2022 - 33rd Annual Workshop
The construction of knowledge about programs
Federico Gómez, Sylvia da Rosa
Abstract: This paper presents an empirical study that uses the linear search problem to investigate the process of construction of knowledge about programs.
The study was carried out in an introductory programming course of a Computer Engineering Undergraduate Program, using two imperative programming languages (Pascal and C++) in two different groups of students.
Building on the theory of Genetic Epistemology of Jean Piaget and his understanding of the construction of scientic knowledge, the study applies Piaget’s principles of a triad of intra, inter and trans stages, and the general law of cognition, in order to analyse the passage from the intra stage into the inter and trans stages. The passage involves the actions students undertake as they design an algorithm to solve the proposed problem, and the reections needed for them to implement and execute a program on a computer.
The study describes several steps in which students carried out different activities. In order to encourage them to conceptualise and formalise their solutions, individual interviews were conducted with thirteen students, of approximately an hour each. The paper includes selected excerpts of students’ responses, our analysis of the results, and some conclusions and future work.