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Instructional Science

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 99–121 | Cite as

Teaching about complex systems is no simple matter: building effective professional development for computer-supported complex systems instruction

  • Susan A. Yoon
  • Emma Anderson
  • Jessica Koehler-Yom
  • Chad Evans
  • Miyoung Park
  • Josh Sheldon
  • Ilana Schoenfeld
  • Daniel Wendel
  • Hal Scheintaub
  • Eric Klopfer
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Complex systems Computer-supported instruction Professional development Science education 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation Discovery Research K–12 (DRL 1019228).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan A. Yoon
    • 1
  • Emma Anderson
    • 1
  • Jessica Koehler-Yom
    • 1
  • Chad Evans
    • 1
  • Miyoung Park
    • 1
  • Josh Sheldon
    • 2
  • Ilana Schoenfeld
    • 2
  • Daniel Wendel
    • 2
  • Hal Scheintaub
    • 2
  • Eric Klopfer
    • 2
  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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