A New Kind of Science Education: Lessons Learned from StarLogo and Perspectives on NKS
Brian Silverman Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab
Eric Klopfer Massachusetts Institute of Technology Teacher Education Program
Bakhtiar Mikhak Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab
Hal Scheintaub Governor Dummer Academy
In A New Kind of Science, Wolfram states, “The new kind of science in this book represents a unique educational opportunity. For it touches an immense range of important and compelling everyday phenomena and issues in science, yet to understand its key ideas requires no prior scientific or technical education.”
Our research and development is well aligned with this philosophy. Over the last two decades, we have been developing and studying software and pedagogical approaches that we think have several points of contact with NKS. In particular, our technologies have enabled students and teachers to engage in rich authentic computationally enabled investigations in experimental mathematics and science. Our work centers around Logo, and the many related projects that it has spawned and inspired. While there have certainly been challenges, many of these projects have met with a great deal of success in reaching students and educators throughout the world.
During our talk we will present the educational philosophy behind Logo. We will also demonstrate StarLogo, an agent-based modeling system used in high schools, and talk about the issues and challenges involved in getting this kind of technology accepted by schools. We will conclude with a discussion of how the many lessons we have learned are likely to be pertinent to the NKS community as we try to realize the unique educational opportunity that NKS represents.