Lulu Healy and Chronis Kynigos have written an article called Charting the microworld territory over time: design and construction in mathematics education. The article was published online in ZDM recently. Here is the abstract of their article:
The study discusses the development of theoretical ideas and constructs related to digital microworlds within the mathematics education community and their implications for interpretations of mathematics learning. Starting from Papert’s introduction of the concept during ICME 2 in 1972, we trace the evolution of theoretical approaches concerning the essence of the idea in an attempt to situate the notion of constructionism in the light of contemporary frameworks. We argue that microworlds, and the search for a learnable mathematics, have a continued relevance to mathematics education, but that the lens research attention has shifted over time, with the current foci on communal design, situated and embodied approaches and artefacts whose use crosses boundaries between different practices. To illustrate these shifts and the challenges that still remain, we present examples from our current work involving the use of microworlds for learning and teaching through communication, design and construction.