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Wouter van Joolingen: "Drawing-based modelling to foster early science learning"

"Science is all about creating and evaluation models. Models are used to describe and understand phenomena. Models often have both a visual and a mathematical character and more and more computer simulations are used to generate predictions of the behaviour of complex systems. Because of this central role of models in science, students should learn about models and the processes of modelling. The goal of the research presented in this presentation is to make modelling accessible to young students (from age 8) by focussing on the visual aspects of modelling by creating models based on drawings. Students draw a visual representation of models, annotate them with behavior for elements in the drawing, resulting in a computer simulation that turns the drawing into an animation. I will present the drawing-based modelling method based on examples from domains such as crowd management, evolution and astronomy, as well as studies into the processes and learning outcomes in terms of domain knowledge and scientific reasoning skills."

Wouter van Joolingen studied Physics at Leiden University where he graduated in 1987. In 1993 he received his Ph.D. from Eindhoven University of Technology on the use of computer simulations for inquiry learning. In 1992 he moved to the University of Twente, working on the SMISLE and Servive projects in which the SimQuest authoring system was developed. After a year in industry Wouter worked for the University of Amsterdam from 1998 to 2004, where he worked in the Co-Lab project. In 2004 he returned to Twente and was professor on the topic of “Computational Modeling in Educational Settings”. As of May 1, 2015 he is scientific director of the Freudenthal Institute at the University of Utrecht. Wouter has won the “Outstanding publication award” (EARLI, 1999, together with Ton de Jong), and the European academic software award for SimQuest (EASA, 2000, with the whole SimQuest team). In 2009 he was awarded the AECT Distinguished Development Award, for his work on the development of SimQuest and Co-Lab.