Computers and Exploratory Learning pp 127-154 | Cite as

# Microworlds as Representations

## Abstract

This paper examines in detail the category of open-ended exploratory computer environments which have been labeled “microworlds.” One goal of the paper is to review the various ways in which the term “microworld” has been used within the mathematics and science education communities, and to analyze a number of examples of computer microworlds. Two definitions or ways of describing microworlds are proposed: a “structural” definition which focuses on design elements shared by the environments, and a “functional” definition which highlights commonalities in how students learn with microworlds. In the final section of the paper, the notion that computer microworlds, or symbol systems in general, can be said to “embody” mathematical or scientific ideas is examined within a broader consideration of ideas about representation.

## Keywords

Mathematical Idea Symbol System Tutor System External Representation Mathematical Entity## Preview

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