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

By Yasmin Kafai; Mitchel Resnick | Go to book overview

Virtual reality applications in the fields of scientific visualization and training simulation often promote more meaningful user interaction, but are typically not situated within a virtual community. The chemist's walk-through molecular model would be more useful if placed in his or her virtual office where colleagues could come to visit. Current research in text-based virtual communities points to the importance of developing tools to allow the chemist to build his or her own virtual office. The chemist could fill the office with objects that are both useful and an expression of personal taste, some personally designed and some designed by others, just like those in a real office.

If the power of this technology is to be unleashed, users need to be the creators and not merely the consumers of virtual worlds. We believe that constructionist principles are of central importance to the design of virtual reality systems. MediaMOO is an exploration of this idea.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This chapter originally appeared in Convergence, 1 (1). An earlier version of this chapter was presented at the third International Conference on Cyberspace in Austin, Texas, on May 15th, 1993. The authors would like to thank the National Science Foundation (Grants 9153719-MDR, 9358519-RED), the LEGO Group, Interval Research, and AT&T for their support of this research. Thanks also are due to Pavel Curtis for his wonderful software. The authors thank the janitors and membership advisory committee of MediaMOO for volunteering their time to help make the project a success. Most of all, we thank MediaMOO's members.


REFERENCES

Bruckman A. ( 1992). Identity workshop: Social and psychological phenomena in text-based virtual reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Available via anonymous ftp from media.mit.edu in pub/ash/papers/identity-workshop.{ps.Z,rtf.Z}.)

Bruckman A. ( 1994). Programming for fun: MUDs as a context for collaborative learning. Boston, MA: International Society for Technology in Education. Available via anonymous ftp from media.mit.edu in pub/asb/papers/necc94.{ps.Z,rtf.Z,txt}.)

Curtis P. ( 1993). Mudding: Social phenomena in text-based virtual realities. Paper presented at the Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing, Berkeley, CA. (Available via anonymous ftp from parcftp.xerox.com in pub/MOO/papers/DIAC92.{ps,txt}.)

Curtis P., & Nichols D. ( 1993). MUDs grow up: Social virtual reality in the real world. Paper presented at the third International Conference on Cyberspace, Austin, TX. (Available via anonymous ftp from parcftp.xerox.com in pub/MOO/papers/MUDsGrowUp.{ps,txt}.)

Curtis P., & White S. ( 1994). MOO. Palo Alto, CA: Xerox PARC. (Available via anonymous ftp from parcftp.xerox.com in pub/MOO/LambdaMOO1.7.8p4.tar.Z.)

Oldenburg R. ( 1989). The great good place. New York: Paragon House.

Papert S. ( 1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York: Basic Books.

Papert S. ( 1991). "Situating constructionism". In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism (pp. 1- 11). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

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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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