T6-EX1-2 - Educational Simulation Design to Transform Learning in Earth and Environmental Sciences

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Michelle Zhu1 , Matthew Johnson1, Aditya Dutta1, Nicole Panorkou1, Bharath Samanthula1, Pankaj Lal1, Weitian Wang1
1 Montclair State University

This Innovative Practice Full Paper presents several educational simulation designs to transform learning in the earth and environmental sciences. In recent years, K-12 education has seen a widespread pedagogical shift from traditional textbook-based learning to a student-centered interactive learning environment.  Innovative teaching technologies including games and simulations are exploited to make learning fun and engaging for students at various grades. As technology continues to advances, stakeholders such as teachers, parents, and educational policymakers are motivated to know the most effective technology platform to engage students in active learning. In this paper, we discuss some useful simulation techniques from the perspectives of users’ experience, system deployment and developers’ point of view. In addition, we also present the design and implementation of some Earth and Environmental Science simulations that are developed using NetLogo and JavaScript. Some student assessment results are also provided to compare the learning effectiveness between the traditional textbooks and computer simulation-based lessons. Our results show that computer simulation can help enhance the student’s content retention and graph interpretation skills.