Webinar: Education and Complex Systems Thinking with Agent-Based Models across Disciplines

Center for Digital Education (CDE) hosts a series of webinars in the spring of 2021 on programming and computational thinking in education. Programming and computational thinking are moving into the arena of mainstream education in a number of ways. At the CDE spring webinars, we are currently investigating and discussing the reasons for this change and the practices that evolve.


In this talk, I present my current and past work using Agent-Based Models (ABMs) to support learning in formal classrooms (from middle school/udskoling through masters' level) ranging from chemistry to math to linguistics and social studies.

I first discuss why I think Complex Systems and Agent-Based Models are interesting across disciplines and educational levels and argue that we should pay more attention to them. I give examples of ABM-based curricular units that I have co-developed and implemented with high school teachers and university faculty in both Chicago and Aarhus.

I then present Complex Systems Thinking, an analytical framework for evaluating how well people reason about complex systems. Using data collected during my research, I give examples of what Complex Systems Thinking looks like and what it looks like when people get better at it ('learn').

Finally, summarizing my experience with ABMs from the past 10 years, I discuss a variety of issues, ranging from design heuristics for building ABM-based learning materials to what I see as the major hurdles to bringing ABMs (and other technologies) into the Danish education system.

About Arthur Hjorth

Photo of Arthur HjorthArthur Hjorth is a postdoc at Center for Hybrid Intelligence at BSS, Aarhus University. His research focuses on designing Constructionist learning activities for classrooms, focusing on the intersection between traditional school subjects and novel computational methods, like agent-based modelling and machine learning. In particular, Arthur is interested in understanding how we can address the wide range of issues relating to getting computational methods into classrooms, ranging from computer-phobia in students and teachers, to how to integrate computational methods with curricular standards and exams, to how to build good learning activities with computational methods for non-programmers. Arthur holds degrees in Media, Games and Technology (MS) from the IT-University of Copenhagen, Educational Research (MSc) from Oxford University, and Learning Sciences (PhD) from Northwestern University.

One and a half hours, including breaks


Participation fee
Free for all. Registration is required.

Time and registration:
April 14, 14.00-15.30.

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A link to the webinar (Zoom) is in the confirmation mail when you have registered.