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How can the MicroWorlds in Action site help me?

The MicroWorlds in Action site is designed to be helpful to beginners and experienced users of Logo and MicroWorlds. MIA assumes a basic familiarity with the MicroWorlds environment: how to create new turtles, textboxes, buttons, and sliders; how to use the graphics tools to draw; how to change a turtle's shape; how to move between the different areas of the environment: the pages, the command center, the graphics area, and the procedures area. The MicroWorlds Help menu and other documentation provided by LCSI can help you get started. MIA's focus is on developing Logo programming skills in the MicroWorlds environment.

Although MIA's project notes and graphics are geared for MW Pro on PCs, MIA has been developed to support users of all versions of MicroWorlds.

Since this collection of resources is developed with children in mind, many children (ages 8 and up) will be empowered as independent learners and teachers of MicroWorlds: able to work their way through these materials with minimal adult support and even to coach their peers, using these materials as a framework and a reference. While the explanations, projects, and user interface are geared for a young audience, they should provide a lively, accessible, user-friendly environment for adults to build their Logo programming skills while guiding young people in their use of MicroWorlds. MIA has the ability to support teachers who have little or no background in programming and don't have extraordinary amounts of time to devote to getting MicroWorlds working in their classrooms or after-school clubs. Project folders can serve as units of study for the whole class, small groups, or individuals.

This collection is also developed with bilingual users in mind. While the projects are developed in the English version of MicroWorlds Logo, lessons are presented in English and Spanish.

MicroWorlds in Action fills some needs not currently met by other interactive and print resources.

  • It differs from a project library:

MIA's projects are organized into thematic folders containing up to ten related projects of increasing complexity. Most projects introduce just one new term or skill (except when two or more terms are interrelated and must be introduced simultaneously). Some of the basic terms are reintroduced within several thematic folders so that the user can choose among several projects for learning or solidifying a specific new skill or concept.

Each project includes a goal, a screenshot, a downloadable version, shapes, hyperlinked vocabulary, procedures, a project map, notes and three types of extension questions to stimulate and guide the user in adapting the project or creating a new project using the new skill.

  • It differs from a reference manual or project book:

New terms and skills are learned in the context of engaging projects clustered into themes. Each user can access the information needed at an appropriate level of expertise, in the context of project themes of interest. The Vocabulary Table provides hyperlinks to projects in which each term is featured. The projects generally require only minimal explanations, because the careful sequencing of projects within each folder makes the progression of skills largely self-explanatory. The user can immediately see the power of the new term or skill in action and can readily see the effect of small adaptations.

  • It differs from a typical cybercourse:

It is designed with children in mind. The materials are free. They can be accessed at any time, in any sequence.

  • It differs from a workshop for teachers:

It presents materials in logical sequences with room for variation according to the unique interests and strengths of each student (and teacher). The materials and support structure will always be available, any time, anyplace. The project folders are designed so that many students will be able to work their way through the activities with a minimum of teacher support, and yet each folder also models an effective sequence of teaching lessons, each of which can be implemented in one class period or less. The materials are an effective way for teachers to increase their own programming skills: they ease beginning users of MicroWorlds through the initial learning curve while providing plenty of challenges and ideas for more advanced users. The materials support teachers as learners at any level while also modeling effective classroom lessons and units.

In sum, we hope that OpenWorld Learning’s MicroWorlds in Action will fill a gap in MicroWorlds support materials by drawing on the best features of a project library, a reference manual, a cybercourse, and hands-on workshops, while making optimal use of the interactivity, searchability, and accessibility of the World Wide Web.

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