Tag Archives: modelling

Why don’t they teach modelling in schools? Part II

4 Oct

Say what you’re not saying, don’t say it, say what you didn’t say

Last time I blogged that modelling is not limited to software engineering, play and simulation; but is universal in human endeavour. I mentioned that considering accuracy is important but not sufficient in assessing a model. What other considerations are there?

My favourite lens for looking at a model is abstraction. In philosophical terminology, abstraction is about grouping concepts together at decreasing levels of detail. So, a duck is a duck and no other thing is a duck (no matter how it looks or walks or sounds); but applying abstraction allows us to talk about birds and say useful things, which might be rather exasperating if we had to list every bird in the world to say them. This kind of classification is a particular feature of object-oriented programming languages (which may or may not be a good thing).

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Why don’t they teach modelling in schools?

1 Aug

With the pace of technological change it is more relevant than ever to question not only how children are taught but also what they are taught. From simple adjustments like replacing cursive handwriting with typing, to deep questions over how learning itself is learned, we can expect (and hope for) seismic upsets in educational practice in the near future as the internet age continues to settle in.

There is no doubt that software systems have transformed the way we work and communicate. But I believe that we can also learn a great deal from the way that they are engineered, especially from the trials and tribulations that have beset our struggle to establish best practices. One aspect of this that is particularly dear to my heart is modelling.

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