Designing computational models and model-based curricula for epistemically agentic learning

How can we think expansively about what it means to learn and do science in a science classroom as we integrate newer technologies into schools?

This talk is about expanding the goal of science education beyond knowing scientifically established ideas to learning how to construct and evaluate knowledge using practices that scientists use. 

Epistemically agentic learning in a science classroom is about taking an active role in such learning. The speaker’s work focuses on designing such transformative learning environments that facilitate shifts in how students see their relationship with knowledge. 

Following design-based research tradition in Learning Sciences, my dissertation work attempted to design and study curricula that use specific kinds of computational models called Emergent Systems Microworlds (ESMs).

ESMs are computational models of emergent systems which use agent-based representations and are designed as constructionist microworlds. 

In this talk, the researcher will present three aspects of his work with ESMs – 

  1. student learning with EMS-based curricula, 
  2. co-designing ESM-based curricula with teachers, and 
  3. centring equity in curricular design work. 

This work has implications for refining the goals of science education, designing curriculum materials, and supporting teachers’ professional development.

About the Speaker

Sugat Dabholkar is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Rutgers University. Prior to this, he worked as a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University where he also completed his PhD.

His research focuses on designing and co-designing computational learning environments that facilitate student participation in scientific inquiry as they build disciplinary knowledge. 

His research interests are in understanding students’ epistemic engagement as they navigate socio-cultural aspects of their identities and values in disciplinary learning settings. He is interested in extending this design and research approach to diverse local and global contexts to study how technological innovations can support such co-design efforts. 

Over the past several years, Sugat has designed and co-designed several computational agent-based models and curricula, many of which have been used in high schools in the US as well as in India. 

He has presented his work at several highly prestigious international conferences and authored several peer-reviewed journal publications. Before doing his PhD in educational research, Sugat was first a computational biology researcher at NCBS and then a science content developer for a multi-national organisation in India.