_Interactivity, Realism and Literary Form in ExploreNet_

This paper focusses on interactivity in a multi-user graphical program called ExploreNet. The criteria I use to evaluate interactivity in ExploreNet is the extent to which the environment enhances the agency of the user.

First, I consider which features or design concepts constitute interactivity in ExploreNet and whether interactive features are maximizing the choices users could have to affect their environment.

Then, I examine the aesthetic and educational underpinnings of the ExploreNet program. Program designers aimed to enact a constructionist model of learning within ExploreNet. To shed light on this model of learning, I analyze how constructionist educational objectives are implemented within the literary and graphic design of the program. I use the analogy of the creative literary form (the short story and the play) to analyze ExploreNet both as a constructed environment that one participates in and as an authoring environment.

The concern for theatrical and literary realism is evident in ExploreNet designers' conception of the interactivity of a participant in their environment; realistic conventions, particularly the 4th wall separation between audience and performer, underscore the literary and dramatic form of ExploreNet, which has bearing on the interactivity options of the user.

Presenter: Susan Warshauer


Target Audience: Advanced

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