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Educational Software Articles >> Modeling >> What is Computer Modeling? by Aspex Software

What is Computer Modeling?

Computer modelling means using a computer to ‘model’ situations to see how they are likely to work out if you do different things. Using a computer to change things and see what happens. If children use a simulation where they have to make decisions that affect the outcome, then go back and try something else, that is computer modelling. If they use spreadsheets to work out the cost of something, and play with the figures to see what happens, that is computer modelling.

Children are lead to ask questions such as “What would happen if…….??”!
What would happen if we increased or decreased the budget?
What would happen if we can find a furniture shop that is having a sale?
Would it look better with pink walls or blue walls?

A computer model is a simulation or model of a situation in the real world or an imaginary world which has parameters which the user can alter. So a model could consist of a simulation such as with the children's educational software Spex or a spreadsheet modeling software.

 

We could change the prices of items in the spreadsheet or delete items from the spreadsheet temporarily, and see what the effect on the overall design was, or permanently.

What is computer modelling? Does it have anything to do with those Airfix model aeroplane kits we used to make as children? In the classroom we use ‘models’ to explain and teach about real situations such as the water cycle. A board game may be a model of an imaginary situation. For example

A computer model which children can understand will simulate a situation which is familiar to them, and which they have ideas about. Spex offers a computer model of the rooms in a house, which all children relate to, they are all comfortable with homes and rooms. The idea is to plan a room by putting into it your own selection of furniture and fitments, in the layout you choose. This is done on a 2D plan. You then switch to the 3D screen to see how your room looks. You can switch back to 2D and experiment by shifting the furniture around or deleting it, and then see what difference that makes, as many times as you want, until you like the way the room is.

The children become involved in making a number of decisions - how big will the room need to be? What furniture should it contain and where. Where to put the bed, is it best under the window, or by the radiator? What colour scheme will look good? Will purple walls and a pink floor go together?

There is a spreadsheet included in the software so you can see how much the furniture and fittings would cost, and you can set a budget of how much money is available to spent on furnishing the room. Keeping within a defined budget also involves making choices and hard decisions – is a TV necessary in a bedroom? Removing it would save some money, but would it be better to get rid of the wardrobe? But then where would you keep your clothes??
Sales

Children start to make decisions like;  Which room to model, which items of furniture and how many to put in the room, where in the room to place items for the best effect, how much to spend and the total amount in the budget, colour scheme of walls and floor and so on.

 

Adults take these kinds of decisions for granted but children need to learn that concerns like these are an integral part of everyday life. Computer modelling using children's educational software like Spex stimulates them to ask questions, make  decisions, try solutions, change them and try again!

Written by: Aspex Software
 
 

 

 
  

 

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