Framework for Evaluating Simulations: Analysis of a Student-Developed Interactive Computer Tool

Kelsey Rodgers, Heidi Diefes-Dux, Yi Kong, Krishna Madhavan
2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
Kelsey Rodgers is a graduate student at Purdue University in the School of Engineering Education. Her research focus is investigating how engineers' understand, develop, and use mathematical models and simulations. Her research also focuses on feedback. She is currently conducting research in first-year engineering on the Network for Nanotechnology (NCN) Educational Research team. She previously conducted research with the Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) Educational Research team and a few
more » ... low STEM education graduates for an obtained Discovery, Engagement, and Learning (DEAL) grant. Prior to attending Purdue University, she graduated from Arizona State University with her B.S.E in Engineering from the College of Technology and Innovation, where she worked on a team conducting research on how students learn LabVIEW through Disassemble, Analyze, Assemble (DAA) activities. a member of Purdue's Teaching Academy. Since 1999, she has been a faculty member within the First-Year Engineering Program, teaching and guiding the design of one of the required first-year engineering courses that engages students in open-ended problem solving and design. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, and assessment of modeling and design activities with authentic engineering contexts. She is currently a member of the educational team for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). Abstract Computer simulations are used in educational setting either to teach students targeted concepts or to teach students how to build them. This study focuses on the later use and investigates the nature of student teams' simulations that were developed through a design challenge that required them to create their own nanotechnology-based simulation tools. In this study, 30 teams' final simulation tools were analyzed through a grounded theory approach to categorize the nature of the simulations. The resulting framework consisted of four levels. Level 1 involves only basic interactions. Level 2 consists of a basic input to output system, referred to as a black-box model. Level 3 is an animated simulation; it has the mathematical model and visualization components of a simulation, but is lacking interactivity (or user choice). Level 4 is a simulation; it consists of a mathematical model, visualization of the model, and interactivity. Based on this framework and the findings, methods for scaffolding student learning through an open-ended simulation development challenge are proposed.
doi:10.18260/p.24133 fatcat:lyevjlw5hfcubm54mnor4wsfty