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Why Immersive, Interactive Simulation Belongs in the Pedagogical Toolkit of “Next Generation” Science: Facilitating Student Understanding of Complex Causal Dynamics

Why Immersive, Interactive Simulation Belongs in the Pedagogical Toolkit of “Next Generation” Science: Facilitating Student Understanding of Complex Causal Dynamics
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Author(s): M. Shane Tutwiler (Harvard University, USA) and Tina Grotzer (Harvard University, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 20
Source title: STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch083

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Abstract

Demonstration and simulation have long been integral parts of science education. These pedagogical tools are especially helpful when trying to make salient unseen or complex causal interactions, for example during a chemical titration. Understanding of complex causal mechanisms plays a critical role in science education (e.g. Grotzer & Basca, 2003; Hmelo-Silver, Marathe, & Liu, 2007; Wilensky & Resnick, 1999), but few curricula have been developed to expressly address this need (e.g. Harvard Project Zero, 2010). Innovative education technologies have allowed content designers to develop simulations that are both immersive and engaging, and which allow students to explore complex causal relationships even more deeply. In this chapter, the authors highlight various technologies that can be used to leverage complex causal understanding. Drawing upon research from both cognitive science and science education, they outline how each is designed to support student causal learning and suggest a curricular framework in which such learning technologies might optimally be used.

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