Mitchel Resnick

MediaLab, Lego Mind Storms, StarLogo

Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams ISBN:0262680939

  • Cosma Shalizi reviews it - StarLogo is very neat, and, at least on the Mac, well-implemented. (It was originally designed for the Connection Machine, a piece of hardware curiously rare in classrooms.) I hope and almost expect that it will colonize the schools (Exposing Young Kids To Science)... Constructionism is too vague to be useful, and the decentralized mindset is over-sold; but these are, literally, peripheral issues. The heart of the book, on how to teach people about decentralized processes and Emergent behaviors, and the tricky process of designing and controlling them, is excellent. Since I happen to think that Self Organization is both quite important and quite neat, this is to me a thing of joy; and no doubt people with different scientific and philosophical biases will find Resnick's woollier ideas congenial. Having gone into my reservations at, doubtless, excessive length, I can in good conscience recommend Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams to all and sundry, but especially to those interested in parallelism, emergent behavior and education.

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