A Pedagogical Environment to Teach Formal Languages, Automata and Compiler Construction

R.L. de Azevedo da Rocha, D.P. Shibata, and J.J. Neto (Brazil)


Advanced Technology in Education and Training, Interactive Learning Environments, Educational Software, Simulators, Automata, Formal Languages.


A major problem when we teach formal languages and automata is the motivation of the students to study con cepts, to apply mathematical skills to formal problems. Frequently the student is not able to breach the gap be tween the formal concepts and the applications, specially the younger generation, called “Nintendo” generation [2]. In order to motivate our students we propose an environ ment and a methodology to teach the concepts involved that is highly experimental, based on operational models (au tomata). So students can be motivated through challenges, projects, which can be solved using the environment but cannot be solved without understanding the concepts. Our goal is to establish a teaching methodology for the younger generation that fits better and motivates them to study the principles of computing [1]. We have used this method ology also in compiler construction courses with good re sponse from the students. This paper describes the method ology, the environment proposed and finishes with some examples of use.

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