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Title: Models, rules and behaviours : investigating young children's modelling abilities using an educational computer program
Author: Maragoudaki, Eleni
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 6364
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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A model can be built to represent aspects of the world establishing at the same time a world on its own. It might be considered in terms of its relation to the world or as an artefact having an identity related to the nature and kind of the modelling tool used to make it. The present research focuses on models being built by a computer-based modelling tool called WorldMaker (WM), which allows models to be built in terms of objects and the actions they perform. It is intended to be accessible to younger pupils. Therefore, children from the last years of primary and the first years of secondary education (aged 10-14) participated in the research. The research was carried out in three stages. The preliminary study aimed to explore children’s ability to use WM, as well as possibilities for the kinds of tasks that might be used with it. The first main study focused on rules, which define actions in WM, and their meaning for children. It mainly investigated children’s understanding, use and thinking about models in the form of WM rules. The second main study looked into children’s ability to think of situations in terms of structures as well as their understanding about the relation between models and reality. Its primary concern was to find out if children think about situations presented as stories or computer models in the ‘modelling’ way required by WM, that is, in terms of objects and the actions they perform. In the research tasks the children were called on to approach the modelling process by creating or exploring a model, as well as by describing and explaining the formal behaviour of a model or interpreting the meaning of it. It was found that the children were able to use WM as a modelling tool; they could represent actions in the form of a WM rule and they were able to think of situations in terms of objects and actions. Besides, the relation between models and reality is an issue when young children are involved with the modelling process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available