INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION IN TECHNOLOGY (SSI 3013) GROUP B SEMESTER 1 (SESI 2012/2013) ASSIGMENT : STELLA SOFTWARE LECTURER : EN.AZMI BIN IBRAHIM NAME MATRIC NUMBERNORFARRAHDILAH BINTI AMIR D20101037438
Modelling and simulations are two closely related computer applications which playthe important role in helping the people to understand and be trained for something easily.Model can be defines as the representation of an object, a system or an idea in some formother than that of the entity itself according to the Shannon. Both this computer modellingand simulation are the computer applications which represent a real world or the imaginarysystem. The differences between these two is that a model can be considered as a static whilea simulation can be considered as dynamic as the variables of this simulations alwayschanges. Although the model often tries to represent the actual system, in other hand, asimulation may try to observe the results by doing some impossible changes. Other than that,we can see the simulation is changing one or more variables of a model and observing theresulted changes. First, we look on to the modelling. Modelling is the process of producing a model andthis model is a representation of the construction and working of some system of interest.According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word model is defined as the three dimensionalrepresentation of a person or thing typically on a small scale. Often the model is same as thesystem that they represent but it is simpler. It is created from the mass of data, equations andcomputations that mimic the actions of the things they represents. Models may also include agraphical display that will translate all this number crunching into an animation that you cansee on a computer screen or by means of some other visual device. The model should be aclose approximation to the real system and also combine most of its salient features becausethis model is used to enable the analyst to predict any changes effects that occur to thesystem. Furthermore, the model cannot be so complex which may leads to the difficulties tounderstand and do experimenting on it. Next is the simulation. Simulation is a technique of studying and analyzing thebehaviour of the real world or an imaginary system by mimic it on the computer application.It is use in education to help enhance the understanding of the learners and help to apply theskills and knowledge that they learned in the classroom. It is believe that regularly practicingskills with supervision in a simulated environment will promotes the successful transfer ofthese skills to the real world. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning ofsimulation actually is a technique of imitating the behavior of some situation or system bymeans of an analogous model, situation or apparatus either to gain information moreconveniently or to train personnel. In educational perspective, computer-based simulation canbe defined as a program that embodies some aspect of the world which allows the user to
make an input to the model and display the results. And Wenglinsky (1999) said, it is foundthat simulation that is used in the classroom was associated with academic achievement inmath and also many types of social improvements. We can used simulation in many contexts such as simulation of technology forperformance optimization, safety engineering, testing, training, education, and also a videogames. For example, the training simulators would include the flight simulators for trainingaircraft pilots and this will provide them with a lifelike experience. Other than that,simulation is also used in a scientific modeling of natural systems or human systems to gaininsight into their functioning. In addition, we can use this simulation to show the eventualreal effects of alternative conditions and courses of action. When the real system cannot beengaged because it may not be accessible, or it may be dangerous or unacceptable to engage,or it is being designed but not yet built, or it may simply not exist, simulation is one of thesolutions to overcome this problem. Apart from that, the simulation is extensively used foreducational purposes as it is frequently used by way of adaptive hypermedia. This indicatethat the simulation make a different if we used it for the educational purpose. One of the examples of the simulation application is Stella software. Stella is thesoftware that offers the practical way to dynamically visualize and communicate howcomplex systems and ideas really work. Most of the teachers, students and researchers usedStella to explore and answer endless questions. Examples of the questions are how doesclimate changes influence an ecosystem over time and what will happen when the ozonelayer is gone. This Stella application will proceeds in three steps which are constructing aqualitative model, parameterzing it and lastly is exploring the models dynamics. There alsoinvolve an idea which to interface with students investigative experiences. Stella providesopportunities to explore and watching what happen which inspiring the exciting moments ofleaning. This Stella software will supports diverse learning styles with a wide range ofstorytelling features. It will help the learners to discover the relationship between variables inequation because it has a diagrams, charts and animation. We can use Stella for the purposeof to stimulate a system over a time and to jump the gap between theory and the real world. Itis also enables the students to creatively change the system provided. Simulations in education are quite similar to training simulations. They will focus onspecific tasks. First, computer simulation offers the opportunity for students to experimentwith phenomena or events which normally cannot be experimented with in the traditionalway. According to Bork (1981), “Simulations provide students with experience that may be
difficult or impossible to obtain in everyday life”. It not possible for teacher todemonstrate something that is dangerous. The only thing the teacher can do is to explain anddiscuss the content of the learning. For example, when a teacher tries to explain a difficultinterrelationship such as a hybridization experiment with fruit flies in the traditional way it islikely that part of the class will fail to understand. Execution of the real experiment isimpossible because this would take a number of weeks and can therefore not be integrated assuch within a lesson. When, after the necessary theoretical discussion of the material, a simulationexperiment follows there will be a greater chance that more students will understand acomplete relationship, such as a hybridization experiment. We can see that the use ofsimulation like Stella software will increase the student motivation to learn something new.When the teachers introduce the topics using the simulation, it will motivate the students as ithelps the students to see the things from different perspective or in another word allow themto able feel connected to the topic. While working with a computer simulation program thestudent is experimenting, so he or she is playing an active role rather than a passive role. Thisactive engagement contrasts with the situation students often experience during face-to-faceteaching when they are listening passively. Foster (1984) says that “Simulations can be entertaining because of dramatic andgame-like components”. Motivation will help the students to stay focused andpsychologically strong to faced the obstacles and difficulties in the studies. As we know, noteverything in the study can be learn directly. Sometimes it may require certain way to givebetter understanding such as the introduction of the Stella software. With this technology,students will feel motivated to continue the study as they knew that they can learn somethingnew not only from the teachers itself but they can learn interestingly with the aid of thesimulation. This will lead the students to achieve their goal in this life. Besides thismotivation is not only for themselves but it also can motivate the others. For example, whenstudent are happy and interesting to learn something new, they would also can attract theirpeers to join them. As we know, friends are the persons that give most of the influenceespecially to the students. So, using the Stella software can also trigger the others to learn.
Other than that, when using the Stella, we can actually change our parameter severaltimes. For example, we use the simple predator-prey dynamics experiments. Living thingswithin an ecosystem are interdependent. A change in the size of one population that occurswill affect all the organisms in that population. This is shown in the relationship betweenpredators and prey populations. There is a continuous struggle happens between the predatorsand the prey. This predator species need to adapt with the environment for efficient hunting.On the other side, prey species must be well adapted to run and escape from the predators tosurvive in that species. We can see that, when the prey population is increase in anecosystem, the predator will increase as well as respond to the increase in the food supply.The increasing number of the predators will affect the food supply where sometimes it cannotlonger support the predator population. So to get better understand about the relationshipbetween the predator-prey in this experiment, students can change the parameters many timesas to get clear and fully explanation about it. In this experiment of the predator-prey dynamics, we can see that the shape of thegraph is change when we modified the parameters. We start the experiment with the value of0 for the size of 1 time lynx harvest. When we run the simulation, the graph show that thetwo species of predators and prey have straight line. This indicates that the numbers of thelynx harvest is the same as the number of the hares which result in straight line graphproduced. Then, we change the parameter to the value of 100 for the size of 1 time lynxharvest. As the number of the predators increase, we can see the number of the hare willdecrease. It is because the hare is the prey for the lynx. When the source of the food isincrease, the population will increase as well. So we get to see that the line graph for the lynxand hare is directly proportional to each other. The graph clearly shows that the increasenumber of lynx would decrease the number of hare. It is same for the next two graphs whenwe change the parameter of the size of 1 time lynx harvest to 200 and 300. The graph willshow the directly proportional relationship where the number of predator decrease willincrease the number of prey. Based on this graph, we say that this Stella software really help in motivate thestudents to learning. The student can insert those parameter values that he or she thinks willproduce a result which is of interest to him. The student can devote his attention to parts thatinterest him. The student can skip other parts or aspects as well. This way he or she willlearns how to experiment systematically. It is because, when we change the parameters
several times, the students will have the chance to look and understanding about theexperiment clearly. There would also be variations of the result as we can change theparameters many times. With this, the students will feel motivated and get to know what willhappens if they change something to their experiment. They would feel excited to learn astheir learning process become more interesting. The students would feel free to explore theexperiments according to what they want. It is just using this Stella software and they can runas many as they want because we do not need to carry out the real experiment and faced therisk. Other than that, the focuses in education nowadays not only for the students to passthe courses but it also include to teach and assess broader competencies among the students.A competency is defined as knowledge, attributes, skills, behaviour and attitudes that enablean individual to perform a specific set of tasks or objectives to a given standard. Little effortshave focused in integrating knowledge and skills and developing competencies among thestudents. So, it is to make use the simulation because it will help in effectivenesscompetency-based education. Simulations not only help to develop the competency but at thesame time it can be used in the arts as well as sciences which we can experiment it like thereal situation. The use of simulation in education will continue to expand because they areeffective pedagogical tools which give benefit to the students. From this simulation, both theeducators and the learners will get the benefit and this will help them to increase theirperformances on work. Using this Stella software, they can predict what will happen to their experiment ifthey modified something. For example, in the experiment of simple predator-prey dynamics,they will repeat the experiment with different value of the number of predators. With this,students will be able to predict what will happen next because they are so used with thechanging of the value of the size of 1 time lynx harvest which is the predator in thisexperiment. Learning process will be more meaningful to the students as they are learning todo on their own. It is important too if students can have a discussion about the use and resultsof simulations among them to allow the students to come out with the appropriateconclusions about what they learn. In addition, having the students to make a prediction onthe experiment they run can lead them to discuss their reasoning as they argue for differentpredicted results. Exploring this type of simulations will exposes learners to ideas that maybe different from their own, and gives them an opportunity to experiment with those ideas.
Most of the learners will able to predict what happen next to the experiment whichindicate they gain something from their learning using the simulation. If they understandwhat exactly the experiment all about, they will easily predict result of their experiment. Withthis, we know that learning through the Stella software does give a different in the way thestudents learn. They not only learn based on what the teachers said but they learn with theirown efforts to make the learning process interesting and useful for them. This can be one ofthe ways to see whether the students understand what they actually learn. If the students getwhat he or she learn, then they will easily predict the result or the graph of the experimentthey conducted. This prediction point is can be one of the advantages that students gain whenusing the Stella software. Main advantages of simulation include it can avoid the dangers and loss of life. Thisis because the conditions can be varied and unpredictable in the real situations. It is importantto use the simulation as the critical situations can be investigated without any risk. Study theeffects of certain informational, organizational, and environmental and policy changes on theoperation of a system by altering the systems model and this can be done without disruptingthe real system and significantly reduces the risk of experimenting with the real system.Other than that, we can study the subject closely because when using the simulation it can beslow down according what we want. Another advantage is we can obtain a betterunderstanding of the system by developing a mathematical model of a system of interest, andobserving the systems operation in detail over long periods of time. A simulator can be used as an effective means for teaching or demonstrating conceptsto students. Such simulators will show the behavior and relationship of all the simulatedsystems components, thereby providing the user with a meaningful understanding of thesystems nature. For example is a circuit simulator. By showing the path of the circuit,students can actually see what is happening within the circuit and therefore give studentsmuch more understanding about the topic. It also can make students transferring knowledgeto a new situation. A simulation is usually constructed to include a new problem and new setof the parameters. All this will need the students to come out with what they have learn in theearly learning. Then, the used of simulation in teaching and leaning also can give benefits to therelationship between the students and the teachers. Social process and social interaction makethe students feel comfortable to work with their teachers. To be able to feel best using the
simulation, both teachers and students need to cooperate and discuss together in order to getthe best results. This active learning really help in the way that students get involved in thelearning process as well as their ability to select the best parameter to be used, interpret theoutcomes and be able to give new question to ask about the task that been given. Both ofthem would continue to produce more useful tools for example the simulation that can beused in the future for our next coming generation. Lastly, most of the time the simulation testing is cheaper and faster than performingthe multiple tests of the design each time. We do not need to find the actual place to run theexperiment as we done it using the software like Stella software. We can run the experimentas many we want until the best result is obtain. It also can save the time for the learners tostudy. For example, if they do not have the time to do the experiments, they may simplyobserve the simulation that been created by the others. It is include the educational video clip.By working with simulations in different ways and different topic, the learners will acquiredthe simulation literacy necessary for the better understanding of the purpose and limitationsof the simulations as a tool of learning. They also can be exposed to the subject matter bymodifying the parts of the existing simulation or even built a new simulation that can be usedin the future. This will give benefits to the learners as they refers to the previous simulationfor referens. The disadvantages of used the simulation is the error may occur during theexperiments. Any incorrect key stroke has the potential to alter the results of the simulationand will give you the wrong results. It sometimes happens that it is difficult to interpret thesimulation results as the erroneous assumptions. Other than that, it is not the actual machinethat it replicates because the simulation model is based on the experiments. This cancontribute to the situation when the people do not take seriously on this test as they are notable to actually feel, see and hear the project as it would be in the reality. All this may affectsthe result of the experiments that been done by the simulation. Sometimes, it could bedifficult for us to read the results of simulation model test because the simulation modelcould be too complex or too simple which this may lead to the less successful fordevelopment purpose. In addition, the software itself can be expensive although there are freesoftware package. This is because; the free trial only can be used for a limited time. Inaddition, to get the correct result of your simulation, you must first run a base line to provethat it works.
In conclusion, Stella software is suitable in teaching and learning. This is because itwill provide the students with a great idea about what they learn as the simulation will helpthem to a better understanding about the topic. Other than that, when using the Stellasoftware, students will have the chance to discuss their finding with their friend becausesometimes the result appear to be something that we can argue. As we all know, most of thestudents will learn by actively gaining knowledge from their experience, interpretation andalso their interaction with friends and also teachers. So using simulation as one of the methodof learning is best way. Stella software is seems to be easier for the students to use it and thissimulation is interesting which can attract the students to learn. The challenge is to ensure that simulation is used effectively to enhance how and whatchildren learn besides the interactive and interesting learning . Careful planning is requiredfor constructing a project to be purposeful and uses technology specially computersimulations such as Stella in a constructive, real-world manner. Simulations do not work ontheir own, there needs to be some structuring of the students interactions with the simulationto increase effectiveness, as it was initiated through experimental model causing to raise thequality and quantity of interactions with the Stella models. Hence, the important finding ofthis simulation models such as Stella are used to expand students experience of experimentalscience and should not be used as a substitution for basic understandings and intuitions whichone can promote students to higher level Stella model only when they learned the basic roleof Stella. In other words the Stella software is suitable for learning process if we follow allthe basic step learn through this simulation programme that we called it as Stella software.