Evaluating System Dynamics as a Tool for Teaching History
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- Department of Geography 
History has been traditionally taught as a presentation of isolated facts, which are hardlyrelated by students. Furthermore, students are seldom encouraged to transfer what theylearn at school to interpret different happenings over time. Thus, they lackunderstanding of history’s relevance for them. The conventional method of teachinghistory appears to be unlikely to prepare students to face the challenges of modernsociety. Therefore, there is a strong need of improving the conventional teachingmethod for students to see history as a subject whose understanding goes beyond thepast and provides tools to interpret other situations that behave alike.The System Dynamics (SD) approach seems to be an attractive method to teach historymainly because relationships between different variables that made history unfold canbe clearly described through the SD approach. SD may be, then, useful for students tounderstand why and how history happened. Furthermore, when such understanding isbased on SD generic structures, other similar historical phenomena can be understoodtoo. Thus, from this point of view, history is not seen anymore as a subject made ofisolated events. Rather, it is seen as a subject that cross time and is related to differentissues along human conditions. Relevance of history may be then understood bystudents.In this thesis, SD is evaluated as a tool for enhancing students’ understanding of history,precisely about revolutions. Experiments using the conventional and the SD as teachingmethods have been carried out with high school Colombian students. Results show thatthe more fields approached with SD, the more enhanced students’ understanding abouthistory is. Important assessment of SD as a tool to teach history is the main contributionof this thesis, which is worth to be considered as a building block in the construction ofa history curriculum based on SD.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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