Classroom Orchestration of Computer Simulations for Science and Engineering Learning: A Multiple-Case Study Approach

This multiple case study focused on the implementation of a computer-aided design (CAD) simulation to help students engage in engineering design to learn science concepts. Our findings describe three case studies that adopted the same learning design and adapted it to three different populations, settings, and classroom contexts: at the middle-school, high-school, and pre-service teaching levels. Although the classroom orchestration of the particular learning design was customised for specific audiences and contexts, findings from this study suggest that the core components of the learning design, such as content, assessment, and pedagogy, and their alignment among them, resulted in students’ learning. Specifically, results from a pre-post science assessment suggest that the three student groups arrived at similar understanding post-intervention levels, along with a significant aggregate growth in their scientific understanding. Regarding design performance, students in different groups demonstrated different levels of success in meeting design constraints. The findings also suggest that students’ success rate in meeting the design constraints directly influenced their final design performance, where middle-school students had better performance than students in the other groups. That is, across the board, students increased their conceptual understanding of heat transfer, Earth, and solar science and were able to produce feasible designs. Implications of the study include how learning experiences with engineering and science simulations should be designed so that teachers can adopt and adapt materials for their specific audiences, contexts, and settings.

Magana, A. J., Chiu, J., Seah, Y. Y., Bywater, J. P., Schimpf, C., Karabiyik, T., Rebello, S., & Xie, C. (2021). Classroom orchestration of computer simulations for science and engineering learning: a multiple-case study approach. International Journal of Science Education, 43(7), 1140-1171.