Programming for Fun : MUDs as a Context for Collaborative Learning
In text-based virtual reality environments on the Internet called "MUDs," participants meet people from all over the world. They can not only explore the virtual world, but extend it, creating new objects and places. MUDs are Constructionist environments in which people build personally meaningful artifacts. But unlike many Constructionist environments, MUDs place special emphasis on collaboration, encouraging construction within a social setting.
This paper presents a case study of the experiences of a 43-year-old building contractor named Jim. It is one of an ongoing series of interviews I have conducted with people who learned to program for the first time in a MUD called MediaMOO. Salient features of their learning experiences include ease of collaboration, availability of technical assistance from peers, playfulness, availability of an audience for completed work, and community spirit. The success of MUDs as a learning environment for adults points to its potential as a learning environment for children.
Bruckman, Amy (1994). "Programming for Fun: MUDs as a Context for Collaborative Learning." Proceedings of the National Educational Computing Conference 94 (NECC94). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.