Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World

By Yasmin Kafai; Mitchel Resnick | Go to book overview

dancers. They were intrigued by the idea and asked for more detail. I must have gotten carried away because I could see a certain anxiousness in the dancers' eyes. It then occurred to me that these dancers had devoted many years of their lives to movement and, in their own way, understood these issues much better than I did. I remembered contact improvisation, a kind of dancing in which dancers interact physically through a process of give and take and, through these interactions, produce a spontaneously choreographed dance. I then mentioned to the dancers that when programming autonomous robots, it is necessary to make the rules of interaction more explicit than they are among the dancers during a contact improvisation. There are also far fewer rules and kinds of movement. I then asked whether the kinds of interaction among dancers change because each contact improvisation produces a different dance, a different emergent effect. This question led to a rich discussion in which the dancers felt perfectly comfortable talking about "mechanism," "parallelism" and "emergence," but in a culturally meaningful way. My error was in giving the impression that "robotics" is an idea that comes from outer space. In fact, "robotics" was a part of the daily experience of these dancers. If I had been Vivet the anthropologist, I would have avoided the technology transfer mind-set I had used at the start.

Discovery Village could be thought of in different ways depending on how it is used. After reading about the problems in reskilling labor, I imagined Discovery Village as an environment installed within factories. After talking with a media company about the "textbook of the future," I began to think of Discovery Village as a learning environment where publishers could explore design-based learning. In seeing the favelas in Brazil, I imagined Discovery Village as a community square maintained by teenagers. After the riots in Los Angeles ( 1992), I imagined Discovery Village as a new kind of hangout that combined both physical and cognitive aerobics.

For Discovery Village to be an experiment in institutional redesign, it needs subjects operating within a social context. This is why it is a "living laboratory" and not just a research laboratory. Discovery Village experiments could facilitate the development of a variety of installations populated with a variety of microworlds, each with designing as the core activity. Discovery Village could serve as a resocialization mechanism through which the artificial barriers that separate science from art, school from play, or work from life are gradually dismantled. In place of these barriers one would find the growth of a commonwealth of skills. This is constructive revolution.


REFERENCES

Ackermann E. ( 1991). "From decontextualized to situated knowledge: Revisiting Piaget's water-level experiment". In Idit Harel & Seymour Papert (Eds.) Constructionism (pp. 269-294). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Alexander C. R. ( 1964). Notes on the synthesis of form. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Apel W. ( 1972). Harvard dictionary of music. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

-158-

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Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Contributors xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Acknowledgments 8
  • Part I - Perspectives in Constructionism 8a
  • 1 - A Word for Learning 9
  • References 24
  • 2 - Perspective-Taking and Object Construction 25
  • Conclusion 32
  • Acknowledgments 34
  • References 34
  • 3 - Elementary School Children's Images of Science 37
  • Introduction 37
  • Conclusions 62
  • Acknowledgments 64
  • Acknowledgments 65
  • Appendix B - Image of Science Interview Guideline 65
  • Part II - Learning Through Design 70a
  • 4 - Learning Design by Making Games Children's Development of Design Strategies in the Creation of a Complex Computational Artifact 71
  • Conclusion 93
  • Acknowledgments 94
  • References 94
  • 5 - Electronic Play Worlds 97
  • Conclusions 119
  • Acknowledgments 121
  • References 121
  • 6 - The Art of Design 125
  • Foreword 125
  • References 158
  • 7 - Building and Learning with Programmable Bricks 161
  • Introduction 161
  • References 172
  • Part III - Learning in Communities *
  • 8 - Social Constructionism and the Inner City Designing Environments for Social Development and Urban Renewal 175
  • Introduction 175
  • Acknowledgments 204
  • Appendix - Statistical Data About the Four Corners Neighborhood 204
  • References 205
  • 9 - The MediaMOO Project Constructionism and Professional Community 207
  • Conclusion - Constructionism and Virtual Reality 220
  • Acknowledgments 221
  • References 221
  • 10 - A Community of Designers Learning Through Exchanging Questions and Answers 223
  • Introduction 223
  • References 239
  • 11 - They Have Their Own Thoughts 241
  • Introduction 241
  • Conclusion 251
  • Acknowledgments 252
  • References 253
  • Part IV - Learning About Systems 254a
  • 12 - New Paradigms for Computing, New Paradigms for Thinking 255
  • Introduction 255
  • Acknowledgments 266
  • References 267
  • 13 - Making Sense of Probability Through Paradox and Programming A Case Study in a Connected Mathematics Framework 269
  • Introduction 269
  • Concluding Remarks 290
  • Acknowledgments 292
  • References 293
  • 14 - Ideal and Real Systems 297
  • Introduction 297
  • Analysis and Conclusions 318
  • Acknowledgments 322
  • References 322
  • Author Index 323
  • Subject Index 329
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