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In this paper we study two different approaches to using program animations with educational aims: their construction by students -a constructivist and active approach- and their vision -a less active approach. In addition, we compare both approaches to a traditional teaching methodology where animations are not used. We have conducted a long-term evaluation with functional program animations using an existing IDE with visualization features called WinHIPE. Our results are mixed. Students have a positive opinion about the animations, either viewing or constructing them. While the viewing approach improves some aspect of knowledge acquisition, both approaches decrease the fail-rate. Finally, the construction approach improves the students' attitude towards the subject. Therefore, both uses of program animations should be integrated in the teaching methodology.
Date of Conference: 4-6 July 2012