The Role of Communication in Learning to Model

The Role of Communication in Learning to Model

The Role of Communication in Learning to Model

The Role of Communication in Learning to Model

Synopsis

In this book, a number of experts from various disciplines take a look at three different strands in learning to model. They examine the activity of modeling from disparate theoretical standpoints, taking into account the individual situation of the individuals involved. The chapters seek to bridge the modeling of communication and the modeling of particular scientific domains. In so doing, they seek to throw light on the educational communication that goes on in conceptual learning.

Taken together, the chapters brought together in this volume illustrate the diversity and vivacity of research on a relatively neglected, yet crucially important aspect of education across disciplines: learning to model. A common thread across the research presented is the view that communication and interaction, as fundamental to most educational practices and as a repository of conceptual understanding and a learning mechanism in itself, is intimately linked to elaborating meaningful, coherent, and valid representations of the world.

The editors hope this volume will contribute to both the fundamental research in its field and ultimately provide results that can be of practical value in designing new situations for teaching and learning modeling, particularly those involving computers.

Excerpt

Understanding how students learn to model is a multidisciplinary activity. It can be argued that those working in different disciplines such as physics, maths, economics, and history may generate different views of the process of modeling. These views, in turn, have implications for how learning to model is understood, and how this might be supported pedagogically. Because most pedagogical situations involve communicative interactions between students and teachers, as well as interactions with complex learning resources, such as computers, there is a persuasive argument that experts who study modeling in different disciplines need to work together with experts in linguistics, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, as well as various social (and human) sciences.

In this book we see a number of experts from different disciplines taking a look at three different strands in learning to model. They examine the activity of modeling from different theoretical standpoints, taking into account the individual situation of the different individuals involved. First, there is a need for models to be related one to another, sometimes to understand the relationships that hold between putative variants, sometimes to understand different kinds of phenomena and how they relate to each other and to theoretical models that have a perceived bearing on the phenomena. For example, accounts of learning at a symbolic level and at a neurological level may help us understand the interplay between the affective and cognitive aspects of learning (Damasio, 1999). Further, accounts of how learners negotiate the different representational systems themselves need to be analyzed and understood. The process of inspecting the ways in which modeling can be studied may in turn help researchers (cognitive scientists, linguists, narratologists, psychologists, educationalists, etc.) understand the . . .

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