SLurtles: Supporting constructionist learning in Second Life

Girvan, C., Tangney, B. and Savage, T. (2013) SLurtles: Supporting constructionist learning in Second Life. Computers & Education, 61. pp. 115-132.


Constructionism places an emphasis on the process of constructing shareable artefacts. Many virtual worlds, such as Second Life, provide learners with tools for the construction of objects and hence may facilitate in-world constructionist learning experiences. However, the construction tools available present learners with a significant barrier (or 'high-floor') for the novice to first master. To address this problem, this paper presents the design concepts, first implementation and analysis of SLurtles (programmable turtles in Second Life), easy-to-use, programmable construction tools for use in Second Life. During a pilot study 24 postgraduate learners in pairs and working at distance from one another, programmed SLurtles to create interactive installations in Second Life over four weeks. Open interviews were conducted, chat logs recorded and learners artefacts and reflections were collected and analysed using qualitative methods. Findings show that SLurtles provide learners with a programmable, low-floor, high-ceiling and wide-wall construction tool, which supported their construction of a wide range of complex artefacts as part of a constructionist learning experience in Second Life. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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