DESIGNING A TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT TO SUPPORT SCIENTIFIC MODELING

 

ABSTRACT

Modeling of a natural phenomenon is of value in science learning and increasingly emphasized as an important component of science education.  However, previous research has shown that secondary school students encounter difficulties when engaging in modeling activities and need substantial support in order to create meaningful scientific models.  Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present the design of a technology-based modeling tool (Air Pollution Modeling Tool, APoMT) that supports students to engage in scientific modeling.  The design of APoMT is based on theories and guidelines of scaffolding.  APoMT decomposes a modeling process into manageable tasks, supports an increasingly sophisticated modeling process by integrating multiple variables into studentsí models, provides multiple representations to help students visualize data and relationships, and embeds expert guidance to help learners apply science content to modeling.  An implementation study shows that combining APoMT with well-designed learning lessons could effectively support studentsí development of conceptual understandings and modeling abilities (Wu, 2010).