Since the first release in 2008, Web Eden has been used in a number of education related projects:
- The Sudoku Experience -- an online activity for gifted and talented pupils organised by the University of Warwick in July 2008 where students were invited to explore model-building in the context of solving sudoku puzzles.
- Introduction to Databases (course pages unavailable) -- an online database module for degree-level students undertaking the Virtual Studies in Computer Science (ViSCoS) programme at the University of Joensuu, Finland.
- Formal Specification and Verification -- a second-year undergraduate module taught to Computer Scientists at University of Warwick in December 2008 where Web Eden was used to display the multiplication tables and illustrate subgroups and quotients of groups generated by a tool for formal specification (Alloy).
The application of the Web Eden environment in technology-enhanced learning is a step towards the goal of wider application of Empirical Modelling in education. Further examples of its use include a model to expose the way in which modes are used in the Unix vi editor together with a brief account of its incremental construction, a model of bubblesorting together with some experimental use of the model, a digital watch simulation featuring a statechart specification for the display interface taken from David Harel's book Algorithmics (1987) that was extended by Richard Cartwright to create chess clocks, and a model of the harmonic structure of Schubert's song Erlkoenig. The potential for hosting Web Eden models on any public website is illustrated by the web-enabled version of the robot simulation environment - first developed by Chris Roe in conjunction with research students at Joensuu University in 2003 - which has now been set up by Ilkka Jormanainen and is hosted at Joensuu.
Several Web Eden models have been used to illustrate themes in EM research papers. These include the EM papers 'Experimenting with Computing', 2008 [#098] and 'Constructivist Computer Science Education Reconstructed', 2009 [#107]. In many cases, Web Eden models are variants of models that have been discussed in EM papers (see e.g. [#052 ] / digitalwatchFischer1999, [#075] / rseRoe2003 , [#082] / Beynon's model of Erlkoenig (2005) and [#100] / sudokuKing2006). Links to the relevant Web Eden models have been added to the webpages associated with these papers.
Try some examples...
If you are completely new to the principles of Empirical Modelling then a good place to start is the introductory Web Eden activity used in the Sudoku Experience course. After gaining some understanding of how dependency is used in Empirical Modelling, we recommend you try the colouring Sudoku activity that was used in the same course.
A very simple model that features a visual pun in which two identical line drawings are interpreted as an LED digit and a filing cabinet floorplan illustrates both the role that interaction plays in giving meanings to a model and the characteristic application of Empirical Modelling in making construals. The way in which these ideas can be expressed in more elaborate models is illustrated in yet another variant of the Sudoku model which gives an overview of all the dependencies involved.
In the above examples, Web Eden acts as a stand-alone learning environment, but it can also be embedded in existing learning environments. In the 'Introduction to Databases' course, Moodle is used as the learning environment, and Web Eden is embedded as a type of activity that is available alongside other Moodle activities (see EM paper [#106]). An example of Web Eden being used inside Moodle can be found in the introductory activity of the course. Other examples include the SQL basics activity and the SQL vs EDDI activity.
Introduction to databases: