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Constructionism is one of the major contemporary dogma in education theory. As the basis for learning, it is a well-established methodology[Papert, 1991, Resnick, 1991]. It deals with the ways children assimilate knowledge, accomplished through constructive tasks. In our virtual constructionist playground, kids can pick up objects, hand them to other characters, combine them to build new objects, and use them to solve problems. The goal is to foster creativity, and to motivate learning through activity. The case has been made that learning is more effective when approached as situated in activity rather than received passively[Brown et al,1989].

The experience should result in a virtual or tangible artifact. No one enjoys creating something in the knowledge that it will be quickly discarded. Artifacts allow the student and others to reconstruct and evaluate the learning process. In addition they add enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment. Constructionism asserts that people learn with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in creating personally meaningful artifacts[Papert, 1991]. The artifact can be anything from a written, illustrated version of the narrative, a video of the experience itself, or the persistence of constructed objects in a virtual space. The artifact that is currently generated by our system is an electronic version of the scene, saved as an object that can be shared over the Internet.

Maria Roussos
Wed May 29 17:35:53 CDT 1996