Teaching about complex systems is no simple matter: building effective professional development for computer-supported complex systems instruction
- 614 Downloads
The recent next generation science standards in the United States have emphasized learning about complex systems as a core feature of science learning. Over the past 15 years, a number of educational tools and theories have been investigated to help students learn about complex systems; but surprisingly, little research has been devoted to identifying the supports that teachers need to teach about complex systems in the classroom. In this paper, we aim to address this gap in the literature. We describe a 2-year professional development study in which we gathered data on teachers’ abilities and perceptions regarding the delivery of computer-supported complex systems curricula. We present results across the 2 years of the project and demonstrate the need for particular instructional supports to improve implementation efforts, including providing differentiated opportunities to build expertise and addressing teacher beliefs about whether computational-model construction belongs in the science classroom. Results from students’ classroom experiences and learning over the 2 years are offered to further illustrate the impact of these instructional supports.
KeywordsComplex systems Computer-supported instruction Professional development Science education
This work was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation Discovery Research K–12 (DRL 1019228).
- Begel, A. (1996). LogoBlocks: A graphical programming language for interacting with the world (Unpublished advanced undergraduate thesis). Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
- Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L. M., Grunow, A., & LeMahieu, P. (2015). Learning to improve: How America’s schools can get better at getting better. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Colella, V., Klopfer, E., & Resnick, M. (2001). Adventures in modeling. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
- Epstein, J. (2008). ‘Why Model?’. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 11(47). Retrieved from http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/11/4/12.html.
- Honey, M., & Hilton, M. (2011). Learning science through simulations and games. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Jones, G., & Carter, G. (2007). Science teacher attitudes and beliefs. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (pp. 1067–1104). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Pavard, B., & Dugdale, J. (2000). The contribution of complexity theory to the study of socio-technical cooperative systems. In A. A. Minai, D. Braha, & Y. Bar-Yam (Eds.), Unifying themes in complex systems (pp. 39–48). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Reiser, B. J., Tabak, I., Sandoval, W. A., Smith, B., Steinmuller, F., & Leone, T. J. (2001). BGuILE: Strategic and conceptual scaffolds for scientific inquiry in biology classrooms. In S. M. Carver & D. Klahr (Eds.), Cognition and instruction: Twenty five years of progress (pp. 263–305). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Resnick, M. (1994). Turtles, termites, and traffic jams. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Roque, R. V. (2007). OpenBlocks: An extendable framework for graphical block programming systems (Unpublished master’s thesis). Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
- Schnotz, W., & Lowe, R. (2008). A unified view of learning from animated and static graphics. In R. Lowe & W. Schnotz (Eds.), Learning with animation: Research and design implications (pp. 304–356). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Slotta, J., & Linn, M. (2009). WISE science: Web-based inquiry in the classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
- Soloway, E., & Pryor, A. (1997). ScienceWare’s Model-It: Technology to support authentic science inquiry. The Journal, 25(3), 54–57.Google Scholar
- The National Academies. (2009). Keck futures initiative: Complex systems: Task group summaries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Yoon, S., Klopfer, E., Wang, J., Sheldon, J., Wendel, D., Schoenfeld, I., et al. (2013). Designing to improve biology understanding through complex systems in high school classrooms: No simple matter! In the proceedings of the. Madison, WI: Computer Supported Collaborative Learning.Google Scholar