July 2, 2001




Dear Workshop Participant,

Thank you for agreeing to participate in the Participatory Simulations Summer Workshop 2001. We are looking forward to meeting you in what should be a meaningful and productive experience. We are writing you to give you a preview of the workshop activities and to outline our goals for the workshop. (Please see the attached pages.) We intend for this workshop to be collaborative.. Our aim is to draw upon your rich experience and expertise as educators of children to design what we are calling "curricular trajectories" that can make meaningful use of participatory simulations in your day-to-day practices to meet specific curriculum objectives.

Enclosed you’ll find a campus map with the workshop location highlighted, a list of workshop goals and a draft of the workshop agenda. As you can see from this agenda, we hope to cover a lot of ground in just a few days. In advance of the workshop you may want to visit the following Internet sites to gain a better understanding of the Participatory Simulations Research Project, Netlogo, and the TI-Navigator network:

(Workshop) http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/wstroup/Workshops/Workshop_2001/

- main workshop page (still under construction for the workshop);

(Participatory Simulations) http://ccl.northwestern.edu/ps/

- participatory simulations home page;

(NetLogo) http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/

- NetLogo home page

(TI-Navigator) http://education.ti.com/product/tech/tinav/overview/overview.html

- information about TI’s commercial product;

To help jump-start our conversation at the workshop, please take a few minutes to consider the following questions. Then go to the workshop URL listed above and fill out the introductory question form.

  1. Please give a brief professional biography, outlining relevant education and teaching experience.
  2. Give examples of the ways in which you think you might use a classroom network and/or participatory simulations.
  3. In a perfect world, what technologies would you have in your classroom, and what would they allow you to do?
  4. How much "ownership" do you feel for what happens in your classroom with respect to the curriculum your students experience? Given the time constraints you work under as a teacher, how do you prioritize what you plan to do curricularly?

Finally, we would like to leave you with a glossary of terms that we frequently use but that we sometimes forget their meanings are not always clear. Allow us to offer brief definitions of these buzzwords and phrases so that we have a common understanding of workshop terminology.

Participatory simulation: role-playing activity in which each student takes on an individual role in the simulation of a dynamic system.

NetLogo: multi-agent modeling and simulations authoring language.

TI Navigator: wireless classroom calculator network.

HubNet: HubNet = network + NetLogo

Trajectory: one to two-week "roadmap" or pathway of lessons, assignments, and/or activities that teacher uses to meet specific curriculum objectives.

Standards-based reform: documents from major professional organizations describing "standards" for teaching and learning in a given subject area (math/sci) based on current research and classroom "best practices."

Curricular element: teacher tools that help support student learning, assess learning, or support instruction; e.g., homework, tests, worksheets, assignments, class activities. (A collection of elements equals a "trajectory").

We thank you for agreeing to participate in this year’s workshop, and for taking time out of your summer to attend on such short notice. If you have any logistical questions over the next few days, feel free to contact me.







André Mack, M.A., Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Teaching and Learning

The University of Utah

1705 E. Campus Center Dr., Rm. 142

Salt Lake City, UT 84112

(801) 581-7158 or (512) 507-6057 cell

or the University Guest House (starting Thursday)

(801) 587-1000