Thinking with drawings - Sketch-based modelling in early science education

Lars Bollen, Wouter van Joolingen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Self-constructed external representations can positively affect the course and type of reasoning for various reasons, e.g. by proving a ground for (self-) explanations, by helping to disambiguate learners’ mental models of phenomena or by reducing working memory load. Especially in early education, drawings and sketches can be beneficial, since they make use of known and established techniques and do not impose a formal syntax or modelling language. By making use of computer-supported, pen-based input devices, applying sketches in educational contexts can be brought to a higher level, e.g. by supporting the learner with awareness information and feedback, by enabling collaborative experiences, and by literally bringing a learner-created drawing to life. In this contribution, we outline our efforts to utilise learner-created drawings in modelling activities in early science education. We will describe approaches for using sketches in educational contexts called SimSketch, an application to create multi-agent simulations based on drawings. The main purpose of SimSketch is to assist learners in creating executable simulations of scientific topics, using an informal representation based on drawings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2012
EventEARLI SIG 20: Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning Conference 2012 - Bochum, Germany
Duration: 21 Aug 201224 Aug 2012


ConferenceEARLI SIG 20: Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning Conference 2012
Abbreviated titleEARLI SIG 20


  • METIS-291903
  • Modelling
  • External representations
  • Simulation
  • exercise selection
  • sketch recognition
  • IR-104558


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