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Title: Re-presenting Complex Scientific Phenomena Using Agent-Based Modeling in Engineering Education
Authors: Blikstein, Paulo
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Citation: Blikstein, P. (2012). Re-presenting Complex Scientific Phenomena Using Agent-Based Modeling in Engineering Education. In van Aalst, J., Thompson, K., Jacobson, M. J., & Reimann, P. (Eds.), The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) – Volume 1, Full Papers (pp. 387-394). Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: A chronic problem in engineering education is that students' knowledge is superficial, fragmented, and ungenerative. I embark from the conjecture that these shortcomings result from cognitive discontinuity between intuitive forms of sense-making that deal with objects and actions and algebraic formulas traditionally used in this discipline. I propose and that a new form of representation, agent-based models, may offer greater cognitive continuity from sense-making to disciplinary knowledge. Study 1, an analysis of textbook content and lecturer practice, confirmed the cognitive-discontinuity conjecture by implicating the epistemic challenges of converting sense-making into formulas. Study 2 was a longitudinal evaluation of an agent-based, complementary curricular unit for materials science undergraduates. A micro-ethnographic case study of one student's progress through this unit documents the challenges and achievements of appropriating the agent based perspective as means of empowering sense-making.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2012

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