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StarLogo under the Hood and in the Classroom

By Eric Klopfer and Andrew Begel


StarLogo is a computer modeling tool that empowers students to understand the world through the design and creation of complex systems models. StarLogo enables students to program software creatures to interact with one another and their environment, and study the emergent patterns from these interactions. Building an easy-to-understand, yet powerful tool for students required a great deal of thought about the design of the programming language, environment, and its implementation. The salient features are StarLogo’s great degree of transparency (the capability to see how a simulation is built), its support to let students create their own models (not just use models built by others), its efficient implementation (supporting simulations with thousands of independently executing creatures on desktop computers), and its flexible and simple user interface (which enables students to interact dynamically with their simulation during model testing and validation). The resulting platform provides a uniquely accessible tool that enables students to become full-fledged practitioners of modeling. In addition, we describe the powerful insights and deep scientific understanding that students have developed through the use of StarLogo

Year: 2009
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