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PointerViz - Towards Visualizing Pointers for Novice Programmers

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Title:PointerViz - Towards Visualizing Pointers for Novice Programmers
Authors:Venigalla, Akhila Sri Manasa
Lakkundi, Chaitanya S.
Chimalakonda, Sridhar
Keywords:Advances in Teaching and Learning Technologies
interactive visualization
novice programmers
programming support
show 1 moresimplify learning
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Date Issued:07 Jan 2020
Abstract:Pointers are considered as one of the key concepts in learning programming and are extensively used for implementing several data structures. They lay the foundation for handling dynamic aspects of a program, increase execution speed and handle data types with more efficiency. This makes it critical for budding programmers to be well versed with using pointers. However, most of the novice programmers find it difficult and tricky to understand concepts such as address allocations, pointers referring pointers and data structures containing pointers. Hence, drawing the physical structure and flow of pointers is considered to be a common learning practice to gain better clarity and avoid confusion when learning pointers. But, it is time consuming and tedious to draw the flow of pointers on paper while programming. To help programmers understand these variations in pointers, we propose PointerViz as a Google Chrome extension that displays the pictorial representation of selected code with pointers. We conducted a preliminary survey with 40 students from various universities and 83% of the users reported positive experience with the plugin.
Pages/Duration:9 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections: Advances in Teaching and Learning Technologies

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