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131 - Constructionism as making construals: first steps with JS-Eden in the classroom

Abstract

JS-Eden is an environment for learners to build software artefacts that relies on construction by ‘making construals’ using observables and dependencies. JS-Eden is proposed as an alternative to procedural or object-oriented constructionist environments. In this paper we present a small experiment in which JS-Eden is introduced to 25 high school students. The observations and feedback suggest that although there are improvements to be made to JS-Eden’s user interface for learners, the principles of constructionism by making construals can be readily applied in a classroom for domain learning. Comparisons are drawn with existing constructionist environments, and it is argued that making construals in JS-Eden is a better paradigm for children engaged in the “instructing”, “animating” and “modulating” activities that are key in working with digital media. We discuss how research into ‘making construals’ may contribute to achieving both of these goals.

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