Commentary: Considerations in Pedagogy and Assessment in the Use of Computers to Promote Learning About Scientific Models
Author(s)Adams, Stephen T.
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AbstractAlthough one role of computers in science education is to help students learn specific science concepts, computers are especially intriguing as a vehicle for fostering the development of epistemological knowledge about the nature of scientific knowledge-what it means to "know" in a scientific sense (diSessa, 1985). In this vein, the article by Cullin & Crawford (2003) investigated using computer modeling activities in the curriculum of a science methods course. Their goals, which transcended improving their students' understanding of specific models, were aimed at improving their students' appreciation of the nature of scientific modeling in general. This response to their article discusses their findings in relation to considerations pertaining to instruction and assessment in this area. Improving preservice teachers' understanding of the nature of modeling in science is important in part because it supports a related goal of improving students' understanding in this area. To further make the case for the value of an understanding of the nature of models in science, and as a complement to Cullin and Crawford's discussion of teachers' understanding of models, this response also discusses examples from a study of high school students' interpretation of a scientific news report involving computer models.