Using computers to learn logic: undergraduates' experiences

Abstract : Learning formal logic can be difficult for many students. This paper describes some ongoing research into a computer program designed to help computer science undergraduates learn the natural deduction style of formal reasoning. Data collection methods included observation and videotaping of workshops, interviews, written tests, surveys, and logging of program usage. The paper focuses on students' experiences using the program to assist proof construction. It was found that videotaping students provided interesting insights into the effectiveness of the program as a learning tool. In particular, it is noted that students made use of a number of rule-specific and global strategies to help them construct proofs; and that these were, for the most part, developed by students themselves. It is suggested that for those students adopting a reflective approach, the program was more effective than pencil-and-paper in encouraging the progressive refinement of proof strategies, not just because more proofs could be considered but also because inadequate proof attempts and incorrect rule applications were immediately challenged. The findings from the workshop videotapes inform the design of the next phase of the research.
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James Aczel, P. Fung, Richard Bornat, Martin Oliver, Tim O'Shea, et al.. Using computers to learn logic: undergraduates' experiences. Cumming, G., Okamoto, T. & Gomez, L. Advanced Research in Computers and Communications in Education, Amsterdam, IOS Press, pp.875-882, 1999. ⟨hal-00190200⟩

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