Community Support for Constructionist Learning
MOOSE Crossing is a text-based virtual reality environment (or “MUD”) designed to be a constructionist learning environment for children ages eight to thirteen. The constructionist philosophy of education argues that learning through designing and constructing personally meaningful projects is better than learning by being told. Children on MOOSE Crossing learn computer programming and improve their reading and writing by working on self-selected projects in a self-motivated, peer-supported fashion. In experience with over 180 children and 90 adults using the system since October 1995, we have found that the community provides essential support for the children's learning experiences. The community provides role models; situated, ubiquitous project models; emotional support to overcome technophobia; technical support; and an appreciative audience for completed work. This paper examines the nature of that support in detail, and argues that community support for learning is an essential element in collaborative work and learning on the Internet.