Designing for Broader Access: Considerations in Providing Opportunities for Students to Create Computational Models

This session explores the kinds of obstacles students encounter when creating computational models and potential approaches for addressing these issues.


Students have traditionally faced difficulties in creating their own computational models due to steep learning curves associated with programming, difficulties in formulating mathematical equations, and lack of student-centered tools to facilitate the use of data from real-world phenomena to inform model design. Addressing these issues will make it possible to broaden participation by engaging students in computational thinking and modeling at younger ages, and by providing a pathway for students who struggle with mathematical formulas and data/graph literacy to participate. Presenters kick off the discussion by demonstrating SageModeler and the design considerations that were meant to address some of these issues. Using a Zoom meeting to facilitate sharing of screens, others are invited to demonstrate or discuss software, systems, and/or projects that strive to engage students in modeling from a STEM+C perspective, with the goal of identifying challenges, design principles, and solutions. The discussion provides a forum to explore synergies between projects regarding approaches both technological and pedagogical for addressing these issues and the potential generation of new ideas for engaging students in computational modeling.