This presentation introduces a research agenda that focuses on identifying how to provide: (i) instructors with educational resources to help them better integrate nanoHUB computational simulation tools into their teaching and (ii) learners with adequate scaffolds (supports) to use computational tools as learning resources. We situate these studies making a fundamental distinction between computer simulations and computational simulations and within this context we provide an overview of a series of four studies conducted in naturalistic learning environments. We conclude this presentation by discussing opportunities, challenges and recommendations to better integrate computational simulations in undergraduate and graduate engineering education formal and informal settings.
Alejandra Magana, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University West Lafayette. Magana's research interests are centered on the integration of cyberinfrastructure and computational tools and methods to: (a) leverage the understanding of complex phenomena in science and engineering and (b) support scientific inquiry learning and innovation. Specific efforts focus on studying cyberinfrastructure affordances and identifying how to incorporate advances from the learning sciences into authoring curriculum, assessment, and learning materials to appropriately support learning processes.
US National Science Foundation for the funding support through the NCN with the award EEC-0634750
Magana, A.J., Brophy, S.P. and Bodner, G.M. (2012). Instructors Intended Learning Outcomes for Using Computational Simulations as Learning Tools. Journal of Engineering Education. 101(2). 220-243
Magana, A.J., Brophy, S.P. and Bodner, G.M. (2012). An Exploratory Study of Engineering and Science Students' Perceptions of nanoHUB.org Simulation Tools. International Journal of Engineering Education. 28(5). 1019-1032.
Magana, A.J., Brophy, S.P. and Bodner, G.M. (2012). Student Views of Engineering Professors Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Integrating Computational Simulation Tools in Nanoscale Science and Engineering. International Journal of Engineering Education. 28(5). 1033-1045
Brophy, S. Magana, A.J. and Strachan, A. (in press). Lectures and Simulation Laboratories to Improve Learners Conceptual Understanding. Advances in Engineering Education.
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