The Design and Evolution of TurboTurtle, a Collaborative Microworld for Exploring Newtonian Physics
TurboTurtle is a dynamic multi-user microworld for the exploration of Newtonian physics. With TurboTurtle, students can alter the attributes of the simulation environment, such as gravity, fric- tion, and presence or absence of walls. Students explore the microworld by manipulating a variety of parameters, and learn concepts by studying the behaviours and interactions that occur. TurboTurtle has evolved into a \group-aware" system where several students, each on their own computer, can simultaneous control the mi- croworld and gesture around the shared display. TurboTurtle's design rationale includes concepts such as equal opportunity controls, simulation tim- ing, concrete versus abstract controls, recoverabil- ity, and how strictly views should be shared be- tween students. Teachers can also add structure to the group's activities by setting the simulation environment to an interesting state, which includes a set of problems and questions. Observations of pairs of young children using TurboTurtle high- light extremes in collaboration styles, from con-
ict to smooth interaction. Finally, the technical work in making TurboTurtle group-aware is slight, primarily because it was built with a groupware toolkit called GroupKit.
SubjectsFields of Research::280000 Information, Computing and Communication Sciences::280200 Artificial Intelligence and Signal and Image Processing::280210 Simulation and modelling
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