Learning about climate change

Project Title

Learning the Complexity of Scientific Knowledge about Climate Change with Computer Modelling and Visualization Technologies

keywords: Modelling and simulations, inquiry learning, science education, environmental education, Net-Logo,

Abstract

With the greater availability and power of computational media in the schools, it is now possible for students and teachers in science classes to use computer modelling and visualization technologies (MVT) that are similar to – or even same as – those used by professional scientists. Early research into how students might use MVT to construct understandings about scientific phenomena has been quite encouraging. However, as Stratford observed, a number of important research issues exist related to the pedagogical uses of MVT, such as what do students learn about scientific phenomena when making computer models or running simulations or how might modelling environments and simulations be best used in real classroom settings. This project will investigate these and related issues in the context of Australian schools using a current and clearly important target domain at the juncture of advanced science and societal relevance – climate change. There are four primary research questions this project will explore:

  1. How can computer models and visualization tools be pedagogically designed for secondary science classes in order to help students understand the conceptual complexity of climate change and sustainable ecosystems?
  2. How might students be able to access and use online data resources related to ecosystems and climate change as part of science inquiry activities involving computer models and visualization tools?
  3. How might students be engaged in computer modelling activities (i.e., create their own models, not just use existing ones) as part of science inquiry activities related to climate change?
  4. What challenges do teachers experience when integrating modelling and visualization tools and innovative pedagogies into their classes?

Partner organisations

Project team

  • Professor Michael Jacobson, CoCo Research Centre, University of Sydney
    Lead investigator
  • Polly Kuan Ling Lai, CoCo Research Centre, University of Sydney
    Research associate

Resources

These resources provide more information about the specific area of research, technologies or methodologies relating to this project.

  • Learning with models (video) - an introduction video to modelling for education
  • NetLogo - Multi-agent programmable modeling environment.
  • Jacobson, M. J., Kapur, M., So, H.-J., & Lee, J. (2010). The ontologies of complexity and learning about complex systems. Instructional Science, DOI 10.1007/s11251-11010-19147-11250.
  • Designs for learning environments of the future: International perspectives from the learning sciences. by: Michael J. Jacobson & Peter Reimann. (Eds.). (2010). New York: Springer-Verlag
  • Jacobson, M. J., Kapur, M., So, H.-J., & Lee, J. (2011). The ontologies of complexity and learning about complex systems. Instructional Science, 39, 763-783. doi: 10.1007/s11251-010-9147-0
  • Kelly, N., Jacobson, M. J., and Markauskaite, L. (2011), Learning the complexity of climate science through computational models, International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Sydney, 2012 (under review)
  • Markauskaite, L., Jacobson, M. J., Southavilay, V., & Kelly, N. (2012). Using process analysis techniques to understand students' learning strategies with computer models. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Jacobson, M., Markauskaite, L., & Kelly, N. (2012). Model-based learning about climate change with productive failure: Preliminary findings. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada
  • Michael J. Jacobson, Beaumie Kim, Suneeta Pathak & BaoHui Zhang (2013): To guide or not to guide: issues in the sequencing of pedagogical structure in computational modelbased learning, Interactive Learning Environments, DOI:10.1080/10494820.2013.792845

Media & events

These are news articles about the project or any seminars or events relating to project work.