Sunday, April 17, 2016
I thought the most important message about modeling is that it's a process rather than an end result. The paper and video both talked about how modeling is an exercise that students use to revise and refine their conceptual ideas. It is simply not to represent a phenomena in pictorial forms, which we have seen all too often in figures found in textbooks, but a process where students start with a simple exploratory model, to show what they understand about an anchor problem, what elements they know about, and what some gaps are in their knowledge. The teacher would then lead students on activities and experiments to fill those gaps (oftentimes invisible) so students could revises their model with new knowledge and evidence. I thought it's interesting that modeling sort of serves as a background, yet central, aspect to learning, in that it is a template for acquiring new understanding. It is a dynamic process that requires students to use evidence to explain their models and I think it is for this reason that modeling is superior to traditional instruction.