Science & Education

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 897–921 | Cite as

Epistemological Issues Concerning Computer Simulations in Science and Their Implications for Science Education

  • Ileana M. Greca
  • Eugenia Seoane
  • Irene Arriassecq


Computers and simulations represent an undeniable aspect of daily scientific life, the use of simulations being comparable to the introduction of the microscope and the telescope, in the development of knowledge. In science education, simulations have been proposed for over three decades as useful tools to improve the conceptual understanding of students and the development of scientific capabilities. However, various epistemological aspects that relate to simulations have received little attention. Although the absence of this discussion is due to various factors, among which the relatively recent interest in the analysis of longstanding epistemological questions concerning the use of simulations, the inclusion of this discussion on the research agenda in science education appears relevant, if we wish to educate scientifically literate students in a vision of the nature of science closer to the work conducted by researchers today. In this paper we review some contemporary thoughts emerging from philosophy of science about simulations in science and set out questions that we consider of relevance for discussion in science education, in particular related with model-based learning and experimental work.


Science Education Climate Science Virtual Experiment Virtual Laboratory Epistemological Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ileana M. Greca
    • 1
  • Eugenia Seoane
    • 2
  • Irene Arriassecq
    • 3
  1. 1.Dpto. de Didácticas EspecíficasUniversidad de BurgosBurgosSpain
  2. 2.Fac. de Cs. Exactas - ECienTecUniversidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Fac. de Cs. Exactas - ECienTecUniversidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires - CONICETBuenos AiresArgentina

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