Oberlin College and Conservatory

Faculty Workshop on Quantitative Reasoning Pedagogy & Computational Modeling with Nova Software

Friday, June 19, 2015 at 9:00am

Science Center, A254 & A255
119 Woodland Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Workshop on Quantitative Reasoning Pedagogy & Computational Modeling with Nova Software

Please join us June 15-19 at an Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Science Foundation (HHMI/NSF) supported workshop this summer on quantitative and formal reasoning pedagogy and computational modeling across the curriculum.

Quantitative and formal reasoning (QFR) – defined as competencies and habits of mind that allow one to solve problems, make decisions, evaluate evidence in academic and professional work, as well as in everyday life – is a critical skill for students in the 21st century.

Expanding and strengthening teaching and learning of quantitative and formal thinking offers significant benefits but can pose special challenges.

This workshop aims to:

• provide strategies, materials, resources, and facilitation for the design of teaching assignments for the development of QFR skills, as well as assessments of QFRapproaches; 

• explore modeling and simulation for teaching and reinforcing of QFR skills across the curriculum; and

• provide instruction in the use of the Nova Desktop modeling software(http://www.novamodeler.com).

The workshop will convene practitioners of quantitative reasoning instruction, including teaching faculty and heads of science, math and QFR skills learning centers, together with experts in modeling and users of Nova. Participants will have the opportunity to present their needs, challenges, and successes in quantitative skill pedagogy as well as learn the process of model building with assistance from the Nova team.

Workshop leaders will include:

Eric Gaze, director of the Quantitative Reasoning Program and lecturer in mathematics, Bowdoin College, and current president, National Numeracy Network 

Nancy Darling, professor of psychology, Oberlin College

Wayne M. Getz, A. Starker Leopold Professor of Wildlife Ecology, University of California, Berkeley 

Richard M. Salter, professor of computer science, Oberlin College 

Nick Sippl­-Swezey, research associate, University of California, San Francisco 

Anthony M. Starfield, professor emeritus of ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota

The workshop will consist of two parts:

Part 1 on June 15 and 16, with sessions beginning at 1:30 p.m. on June 15. Topics in quantitative and formal reasoning pedagogy, introduction to computational modeling

The first part of the workshop will create space for participants to share challenges faced in teaching QFR skills in the classroom, learn about effective design and assessment of QFRassignments, cover topics such as behavioral and motivational aspects of learning that can hinder or enhance development of QFR skills, and highlight the role visualization and simulation can play in QFR education.

In part two, sessions led by the workshop leaders will focus on modeling as a discipline, how it is applied in various disciplines, and the pros and cons of using common computer tools across the natural and social sciences. Through guided, hands­-on instruction, participants will build simple models of systems from their disciplines and gain experience with creating reusable model elements. Two parallel streams will be in place to allow for productive learning by novice and advanced learners of Nova alike.

Please register online by May 1 if you plan to attend.

Find more details on the conference website, http://oberlinclear.wix.com/oberlinqfrnova

This workshop is supported by grants to Oberlin College from the National Science Foundation (grant #0939153) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s 2012 Undergraduate Science Education initiative.

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