Understanding Simulation Development
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Overview
Go to the Nano Education Research Page
Overview
This group discusses the concepts of simulation and why they are important to nanotechnology education. The draft version of some papers cited in this group can be found on the resources tab. We welcome and encourage contributions and discussions. (You can contribute substantial resources to nanoHUB.org through the resource contribution process, and then send a message to the group manager so that links to those resources can be added to this group.)
The initial materials of this group page have been developed by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) Education Research team. The NCN Education Research team is constantly working to increase students’ awareness and understanding of nanotechnology, while contributing to the literature about nanotechnology education.
Summary of Categories:
Impact on nanoHUB users
nanoHUB.org is a collaborative community for researchers, educators, and learners. One of the fundamental concepts of nanotechnology is understanding simulations and being capable of developing simulations. This group presents this necessary material to enable educators to teach and assess students’ abilities of developing simulations.
Simulations in Nanotechnology
Computer simulations make learning meaningful through interactive and authentic opportunities to observe, explore, and recreate real objects, phenomena, and processes that would otherwise be impossible to investigate due to complexity, size-constraints, time-consumption, and/or danger (Bell & Smetana, 2008). Simulations are crucial for the analysis and understanding of physical properties and products, especially at small scales like the nanoscale. According to the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) and the National Science Teachers Associations (NSTA), the use of computer simulations in nanotechnology is one of the “big ideas” of nanotechnology education (Stevens, Sutherland, & Krajcik, 2009).
Simulation Development Framework
Currently we are investigating student teams’ works to understand what they developed to meet the call of incorporating a simulation into their design projects. Rodgers, Diefes-Dux, Kong, and Madhavan (2015) developed a four level framework to characterize the nature of students’ solutions (see Levels 1, 2, 4, and 5). Rodgers, Dala, and Madhavan (2017) revised this four level framework to incorporate a fifth level (see Level 3) based on an analysis of visualizations in students' simulations.
Levels |
Name of Level |
Explanation of Student Work |
1 |
Basic Interaction |
These works would only consist of clicking, button selection, or other basic interaction. |
2 |
Black-Box Mathematical Model |
These works would have some type of mathematical model that the inputs could be changed on, but there would be no visualization or communication of how the mathematical model works. |
3 |
Incomplete Simulation |
These have all three major components: (1) interaction – variable manipulation, (2) underlying mathematical model, and (3) visualization. These are incomplete though because the visualization is focused on the inputs only. |
4 |
Animated Simulation |
This would be an animation of one particular run of a simulation. There is no opportunity for the user to manipulate the input variables. |
5 |
Simulation |
These have all three major components: (1) interaction – variable manipulation, (2) underlying mathematical model, and (3) visualization of outputs. |
Models, Visualization, and Interactivity in the Five Levels of a Student Developed Simulation Tool
This picture addresses how Levels 1, 2, 4, and 5 relate to each other. Level 3 would be in the same place as Level 5 in this image. This image was developed to explain the original four levels first developed.
References:
Bell & Smetana. (2008). Using computer simulations to enhance science teaching and learning. National Science Teachers Association.
Rodgers, K.J., Dala, N.J., & Madhavan, K. (2017). How first-year engineering students develop visualizations for mathematical models. Proceedings of the 124th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, OH.
Rodgers, K.J., Diefes-Dux, H.A., Kong, Y., & Madhavan, K. (2015). Framework of basic interactions to computer simulations: analysis of student developed interactive computer tools. Proceedings of the 122^{nd} ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, WA. Retrieved from: https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/56/papers/11629/download
Stevens, Sutherland, & Krajcik. (2009) The big ideas of nanoscale science & engineering: A guidebook for secondary teachers. National Science Teachers Association.