SLurtle Soup: a conceptual mash up of constructionist ideas and virtual worlds

TitleSLurtle Soup: a conceptual mash up of constructionist ideas and virtual worlds
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGirvan, C., Tangney B., and Savage T.
EditorClayson, James, and Kalas Ivan
Conference NameConstructionism 2010
Date Published08/2010
PublisherComenius University, Bratislava
Conference LocationParis
ISBN Number978-80-89186-66-2
KeywordsConstructionism, Mindstorms, Scratch for Second Life, Second Life, Turtle geometry, Virtual worlds
AbstractIn Mindstorms, Papert (1980) advocated “the construction of educationally powerful computational environments that will provide alternatives to traditional classrooms and traditional instruction.” (p. 182). At the same time he identified that the technology of the day was limited in its capabilities and functionality. Since then considerable work has been done to create tools ranging from Logo, Mindstorms, Scratch, ToonTalk, etc which embody a constructionist approach to learning. In this paper we introduce a new embodiment of constructionist theory, SLurtles (programmable Turtles in Second Life). The virtual world Second Life provides a high floor high ceiling building and programming interface difficult for the novice to master. To address this problem, SLurtles leverage concepts from Turtle and Turtle geometry; Mindstorms; and Lego, and combines them with Scratch for Second Life (a low floor, high ceiling programming environment for Second Life), to create a low floor, high ceiling programmable building tool for Second Life. This paper presents a use case example and description of ideas which underpin the SLurtle conceptual mash up. This is followed by an outline of our initial trial with learners using SLurtles to experience constructionist learning in a virtual world, with an overview of our research aims.