[MUD-Dev] Re: Real-world skills

Bruce Mitchener bruce at puremagic.com
Thu Jul 26 00:26:12 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Koster, Raph wrote:

> You mean MediaMOO.

MediaMOO was important in its time, but seems to be much less
importance today and overshadowed by other things.

Her work on MOOSE Crossing, using a MOO as a tool for collaborative
learning and having children program has lived much longer and may
have a larger impact in the long run.

 From http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fac/Amy.Bruckman/papers/convergence.html:

     9. Future Directions: A MUD for Kids The MediaMOO Project was
     conceived in part as preparation for a MUD for kids, "MOOSE
     Crossing," which is currently under development. We believe
     that this technology can provide an authentic context for
     children to learn reading, writing and programming. In these
     virtual worlds, writing and programming become means of
     self-expression to a community of peers. MUDs are a
     constructionist playground.

     Developing good MUD objects is as much creative writing as
     programming. One hypothesis of this research is that divisions
     between the humanities and the sciences are often too sharply
     drawn and counter-productive, and a more integrative approach
     has advantages for many children. A second hypothesis is that
     the social and contextual nature of these worlds may help young
     girls to be more comfortable with computers and programming.

     If kids are really to make good use of MUDs, however, it will
     be necessary to improve the programming language and the
     interface. We are currently developing a new programming
     language called MOOSE designed to make it easier for children
     to program new objects. ("MOOSE" stands for "MOO Scripting
     Environment." The MOOSE language is built on top of Pavel
     Curtis' MOO software.) We are also developing a multiple-window
     client program called MacMOOSE which we hope will make the
     system more usable. We hope to apply lessons learned in the
     development and use of the Logo language to make a MUD language
     more accessible to kids.

     At the conclusion of Mindstorms, Seymour Papert describes his
     vision of a technological samba school. In samba schools in
     Brazil, members of a community gather to prepare a performance
     for Carnival. Everyone is learning and teaching--even the leads
     need to learn their parts.  People of all ages learn and play
     together as a community.  Papert believes that computers can
     create a kind of technological samba school, and we believe
     MUDs may begin to realize that vision.

For a lot more information on MOOSE Crossing, check out her thesis
at http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fac/Amy.Bruckman/thesis/index.html,
including some great discussion of the constructionist culture that
was built within MOOSE Crossing.

Happily, this field of work is continuing through projects like
AquaMOOSE 3D (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/elc/aquamoose/).

  - Bruce

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