Creating a modeling culture : supporting the development of scientific practice among teachers
Author(s)Colella, Vanessa Stevens
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
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This thesis describes the processes of teacher learning and explores the associated changes that take place in classrooms. It describes the Adventures in Modeling Workshops, which we designed and created to introduce teachers to the process of conceptualizing, building, and analyzing their own models of complex, dynamic systems. The Workshops facilitate the growth of a modeling culture among teachers by giving them the tools and the ability to pose, investigate, and answer their own questions. This research examines the development, sustainability, and impact of that culture. It describes how participation in a modeling culture can contribute to a scientific way of thinking, for both teachers and their students, and can help teachers bring authentic science practice into high school classrooms. Employing technological tools developed at the Media Lab, we crafted an introduction to scientific modeling for teachers. These tools, used in concert with a constructionist pedagogy of design and creation, enable teachers to become full-fledged practitioners of modeling. Our workshop structure supports teachers as they learn to act as scientists, creating and exploring models of phenomena in the world around them, evaluating and critiquing those models, refining and validating their own mental models, and improving their understandings. This work serves as a proof of concept for a structure and methodology that increases teachers' individual capacities and helps them integrate aspects of their learning into their own classes. It examines the role that new media plays in supporting new ways of thinking and enabling explorations of new domains of knowledge. It also serves as a platform for examining the details of three components of educational change: 1) the development of technology-enabled materials and activities for teacher and student learning, 2) the construction of a scientific culture among teachers through learning about, gaining fluency with, and exploring modeling technologies, and 3) the paths toward implementation of new content and educational approaches in teachers' classrooms. The results of this project provide one benchmark for evaluating the potential that new ideas and technologies hold for facilitating lasting change in America's classrooms.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 146-153).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.