SiMSAM & DataViz at AERA 2015

Wilkerson-Jerde, M. H., Gravel, B. E., Andrews, C., & Shaban, Y. (Accepted). Teacher attention and pedagogical goals in a computational modeling-focused professional development workshop. To be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL, April 16-20.

Abstract. Science education is often criticized for avoiding the ‘messy’ nature of modeling practice. We investigate how preservice elementary teachers view technological tools as a way to navigate this messy landscape. We analyze patterns in how 11 participating teachers engage in and attend to content, representation, revision, and evaluation as interwoven modeling practices during a professional development workshop using a multimodal technological modeling toolkit. Different teacher groups attended to different practices for different purposes: using the technology to teach modeling (cycles of modeling, revision, evaluation), to engage learners with one another’s ideas (content, modeling), or to reveal student ideas (content). These differences reflected teachers’ pedagogical needs and commitments, and point to an expanded role for technology-mediated modeling in K-12 classroom settings.


Wilkerson-Jerde, M. H. (Accepted). Stories of our city: Coordinating youths’ mathematical, representational, and community knowledge through data visualization design. To be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL, April 16-20.

Abstract. Contemporary data visualizations blend mathematical, visual, and narrative elements to illustrate patterns of interest. But despite their increasing popularity in public and professional arenas, still little is known about how young people make sense of data visualizations. I bring together theories from the data sciences and conceptual resources literatures to explore data visualization literacy as individual and social coordination of mathematical, representational, and domain knowledge. I use this framework to analyze data from a two week middle school enactment in which seventh-graders at a diverse, urban public school designed visualizations of public city data. Using representative case studies, I show that the framework provides traction in explaining why some groups flourish while others reach impasse, and highlights possible resolutions.


Wilkerson-Jerde, M. H., & Gravel, B. E. (Accepted). Mapping the influence of participant groups and contexts in participatory design-based research. To be presented as part of S. Grover (Org.), Design-based research for the learning sciences: A coming of age?. Planned symposium at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL, April 16-20.

Abstract. We are designing SiMSAM: an integrated animation, simulation, and data analysis toolkit and associated curricula for middle school classrooms. SiMSAM seeks to engage learners in exploring unseen phenomena (sound, smell, evaporation) through constructing, revising, and testing models across representational forms. We draw inspiration from work on modeling practice (Lehrer & Schauble, 2004; Lesh & Doerr, 2003; Schwarz, et al. 2009), linked models (Frederiksen & White, 2002), and computational model construction (Louca, et al. 2011; Sherin, 2001; Wilensky, 2003). As part of this work, we consult regularly with youth, teachers, and designers. Here we: (1) Expand conjecture mapping to account for the influence of these different participant contributions in design, and (2) Use this to explore our own design process.

Symposium Abstract. Design-Based Research (DBR) is a now-common approach for developing technology designs for learning and theories of learning with technology, yet is critiqued as not being ‘designerly’ enough. Many wish to see their designs persist beyond initial research studies. This symposium presents exemplars of DBR in which researchers mindfully designed and tested learning technology, highlighting aspects of design process. The processes and spaces for DBR are diverse, providing an opportunity to synthesize understanding of ways researchers can attend to design in DBR in emerging contexts such as MOOC platforms, OERs, mobiles augmented reality (AR) apps, and participatory design. In particular, this work highlights the roles learner, instructor and other partner/stakeholder needs can play in shaping our designs and theories.

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