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Colloquium - Bruckman

Building New Worlds on the Internet: Community, Creativity, and the Democratization of Computational Media
MIT Media Lab

The explosion of popular interest in the Internet has created the potential for a new form of literacy. Computational literacy doesn't mean downloading stock quotes and weather reports, but being able to express oneself with computational tools. To achieve this, people need a supportive social context for learning, and tools which are initially easy to use and have a gently-sloped learning curve towards real computational power. Virtual communities on the Internet have the potential to fill these requirements.

In this talk, I'll present results from two projects. MediaMOO is a text-based virtual reality environment (or "MUD") designed to be a professional community for media researchers. It opened in January 1993, and currently has 1000 members from 31 countries. MOOSE Crossing is a MUD designed to give children 8 to 13 a meaningful context for reading, writing, and computer programming. It includes a new programming language (MOOSE) and client interface (MacMOOSE) designed to make it easier for children to learn to program. MOOSE Crossing opened in October 1995 as part of the Media Lab's 10th birthday celebration.

I'll show a variety of programs written by children (for example, a pet pig that greets visitors and that squeals with delight when you hug it, a giant light bulb that tells light bulb jokes, a pet store, a hedge maze, and a mall) and describe the iterative design process that both the tools and the supporting social context have undergone.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:30pm.
Hosted by Andreas Weigend.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)