Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 11–33 | Cite as

What’s the Technology For? Teacher Attention and Pedagogical Goals in a Modeling-Focused Professional Development Workshop

  • Michelle Hoda Wilkerson
  • Chelsea Andrews
  • Yara Shaban
  • Vasiliki Laina
  • Brian E. Gravel


This paper explores the role that technology can play in engaging pre-service teachers with the iterative, “messy” nature of model-based inquiry. Over the course of 5 weeks, 11 pre-service teachers worked in groups to construct models of diffusion using a computational animation and simulation toolkit, and designed lesson plans for the toolkit. Content analyses of group discussions and lesson plans document attention to content, representation, revision, and evaluation as interwoven aspects of modeling over the course of the workshop. When animating, only content and representation were heavily represented in group discussions. When simulating, all four aspects were represented to different extents across groups. Those differences corresponded with different planned uses for the technology during lessons: to teach modeling, to engage learners with one another’s ideas, or to reveal student ideas. We identify specific ways in which technology served an important role in eliciting teachers’ knowledge and goals related to scientific modeling in the classroom.


Computational modeling Simulation Professional development Scientific modeling Teachers Model-based reasoning 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Education, School of Arts and SciencesTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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