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[Swarmfest2008] Abstract for Swarm 2008

From: Matthew Francisco
Subject: [Swarmfest2008] Abstract for Swarm 2008
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 20:17:56 -0400

Dear Prof. Railsback and company,
I'm happy that you extended the deadline for SwarmFest this year - it gave me the opportunity to submit our in progress work. 
Best regards,
Matt Francisco


Designing classrooms with ABM

Matthew Francisco and Linnda Caporael
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

In this presentation we report on the work we did this Spring on introducing participatory modeling into a design studies undergraduate classroom.   Our overall goal is to explore and develop an approach to integrate social simulation and agent-based modeling into undergraduate social science curriculum.  The pedagogical goal of the modeling exercise was to create a shared object through which students could explore a range of social problems in design thinking.  The classroom was made up of a majority of first-year students with no computer science experience.  For the modeling exercise students were divided into groups and given an open-ended goal—design a community using a framework we built with NetLogo 4.0.2.   We called the framework "social nutrients" as an elaboration on McDonough and Braungert's (2002) design philosophy, which was a previous part of the course curriculum.  Participatory modeling resulted in a rich model of the design classroom itself.  The modeling exercise produced a highly mixed reaction from the class and we used the problems and confusion that arose in the design process as opportunities for learning.  In this presentation we discuss the organization of the design studies course overall, how we introduced the modeling project into the curriculum, and the pitfalls and learning opportunities we encountered.

McDonough, William and Michael Braungart. Crade to Cradle (North Point, 2002)

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