Saturday, February 27, 2016

VanLehn paper

Compared to last week's article, VanLehn's paper is more technical and gets into the operational aspect of model building. The author also emphasizes on the role of model creation, rather than just working with or modifying preexisting models. The author provides examples of the sort of pitfalls that students might run into when creating models, namely, things like the tendency for students to fudge up numbers to have the model fit with the behavior of a system, rather than going back to the code to fix any structural problem within the model. The author also brings back the idea of scaffolding, which serves as a kind of extra assistance that can help students get more acquainted with modeling and more importantly, the use of programming language (like grounding and notations) to make the models. The author mentioned that there are more students who have ideas to put down in a concept map, but might not have the necessary math or computer literacy skills to put their mental models into an executable program. Thus, clearing any misconceptions about the programming language, defining terms and gents, might be the most important thing in this type of modeling. For Zika modeling, I think agent-based model would be easier compared to other types of modeling, because in essence we are tracking the behavior of free agents (i.e. mosquitoes) and changing parameters on the agent-level seems more cogent.

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