SiMSAM at AERA 2015

We'll have two presentations related to the SiMSAM project at AERA 2015 in Chicago.


Science education is often criticized for avoiding the 'messy' nature of modeling practice. We investigate how preservice elementary teachers view technological tools as a way to navigate this messy landscape. We analyze patterns in how 11 participating teachers engage in and attend to content, representation, revision, and evaluation as interwoven modeling practices during a professional development workshop using a multimodal technological modeling toolkit. Different teacher groups attended to different practices for different purposes: using the technology to teach modeling (cycles of modeling, revision, evaluation), to engage learners with one another's ideas (content, modeling), or to reveal student ideas (content). These differences reflected teachers' pedagogical needs and commitments, and point to an expanded role for technology-mediated modeling in K-12 classroom settings.

Design-based researchers are increasingly involving participant informants in early phases of the design process. This requires negotiating contributions from participants that reflect different perspectives, may challenge the values of designers, and shift across participatory context. Clearly, such negotiation can influence the material and theoretical products of design-based inquiry. We explore this process of negotiation by tracking youths', teachers', and designers' influence on the early evolution of our own educational design, SiMSAM. Our objectives are to (1) Expand conjecture mapping to account for the evolutionary influence of participant groups and contexts in design, and (2) Document and reflect upon our own design process.


Wilkerson-Jerde, M. H., Gravel, B. E., Andrews, C., & Shaban, Y. (Forthcoming). Teacher attention and pedagogical goals in a computational modeling-focused professional development workshop. To be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL, April 16-20.

Wilkerson-Jerde, M. H., & Gravel, B. E. (Forthcoming). Mapping the influence of participant groups and contexts in participatory design-based research. To be presented as part of S. Grover (Org.), Design-based research for the learning sciences: A coming of age?. Planned symposium at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL, April 16-20.

More About the SiMSAM Project

SiMSAM explores middle school learners' scientific modeling practices as they work across Simulation, Animation, and Measurement / Data Analysis tools.

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