Complexity, models , and learning
Our discussions of computer models of complexity and their relationship to the natural world are interesting, but there is another application of these types of models that does not engage the philosophical debate about what is real and what can be measured.
Computer models of complexity are used to help students (of all ages) think about how complexity might play out in solving problems that are systemic in nature. Researchers at the MIT Media Lab and their Epistemology and Learning Group have been trying to provide some tools that allow learners to play with these concepts. One product is a massively parallel piece of modeling software called StarLogo TNG. The support site (with some discussion of complexity) and free download are located at: http://education.mit.edu/starlogo-tng/complexity/complexity_and_SLTNG1.html