Profile
Uri Wilensky

Dr. Uri Wilensky

Professor, Learning Sciences
Professor , Computer Science
Director , Center for Connected Learning & Computer-Based Modeling

Annenberg Hall
Room 337
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 467-3818
Fax: (847) 491-8999
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
Room 3-230
Sheridan Road, south of Technological Institute
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Fax:
Biography
Uri Wilensky is a mathematician, educator, learning technologist and computer scientist. While in Boston, he founded and directed the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, now relocated to Northwestern University. He is involved in designing, deploying and researching learning technologies—especially for mathematics and science education. Much of his work of late has focused on the design of computer-based modeling and simulation languages, including networked collaborative simulations. He is very interested in the changing content of curriculum in the context of ubiquitous computation. A particular interest is in complexity and systems thinking. He has received numerous grants from NSF, NIH and the Department of Education. In 1996 he received a Career Award from the National Science Foundation and in 1999, a Spencer/NAE fellowship. He is a founder and an executive editor of the International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning.

Websites
CCL-Uri

Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling

Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
Awards/Honors
2008 - Consultant to BBC

2008 - Brady gift

2008 - Promoted to full professor

2008 - Elected for AAAS panel on computational thinking

2006 - Texas Instruments Fellow,

2006 - Texas Instruments Gift

2006 - Brady gift

Research/Scholarship

Education
Year Degree Institution
1993 PhD, Media Arts and Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1977 BA, Mathematics and Philosophy Brandeis University
1977 MA, Mathematics and Philosophy Brandeis University


Selected Publications
Levy, S.T. & Wilensky, U. (2008). Inventing a "mid-level" to make ends meet: Reasoning through the levels of complexity.. Cognition & Instruction: 1-47..

Wang, J., Dam, G., Yildrim, S., Rand, W., Wilensky, U., & Houk, J. C. (2008). Reciprocity Between the Cerebellum and the Cerebral Cortex: Nonlinear Dynamics in Microscopic Modules.. Complexity. : 29-45..

Jacobson, M. & Wilensky, U. (2006). Complex systems and education: Why what, and how. Journal of Learning Sciences: 11-25.

Abrahamson, D., Berland, M., Shapiro, R.B., Unterman, J. & Wilensky, U. (2006). Leveraging epistemological diversity through computer-based argumentation in the domain of probability. For the Learning of Mathematics.

Abrahamson, D., Janusz, R.M., & Wilensky, U. (2006). There once was a 9-Block... -- A middle-school design for probability and statistics. Journal of Statistics Education.

Jacobson, M.J. & Wilensky, U. (2006). Complex systems in education: Scientific and educational importance and research challenges for the learning sciences. Journal of the Learning Sciences: 11-34.

Wilensky, U., & Reisman, K. (2006). Thinking like a wolf, a sheep or a firefly: Learning biology through constructing and testing computational theories. Cognition & Instruction: 171-209.

Abrahamson, D., Berland, M.W., Shapiro, R. B., Unterman, J. W., & Wilensky, U. (2004). Leveraging epistemological diversity through computer-based argumentation in the domain of probability. For the Learning of Mathematics.

Wilensky, U. & Resnick, M. (1999). Thinking in levels: A dynamic systems perspective to making sense of the world. Journal of Science Education and Technology. Vol. 8 No. 1: 3–18.

Wilensky, U. (1999). GasLab-an extensible modeling toolkit for exploring micro- and macro- views of gases in Roberts, N. , Feurzeig, W. & Hunter, B. (Eds.), Computer Modeling and Simulation in Science Education Berlin: Springer Verlag.

Stroup, W. & Wilensky, U. (1999). Assessing learning as emergent phenomena: Moving constructivist statistics Beyond the bell-curve in Kelly, A. E., & Lesh, R. (Eds.), Research Methods in Mathematics and Science Education Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Erlbaum.

Selected Presentations
Wilensky, U., Stonedahl, F., Rand, B. (July, 2008). “CrossNet: A Framework for Crossover with Network-based Chromosomal Representations.”. Atlanta, GA.

Wilensky, U., Wilkerson-Jerde. M. (July, 2008). “How Do Mathematicians Learn Mathematics?” . Morelia, Mexico.

Wilensky, U., Blikstein, P. (June, 2008). “Implementing Multi-Agent Modeling in the Classroom: Lessons from Empirical Studies in Undergraduate Engineering Education”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P. (June, 2008). “Learning Activities As Tools For Formative Assessment - Case Study Of A Computational Multi-Agent Based Electricity Curriculum (NIELS: NetLogo Investigations In Electromagnetism)”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P. (June, 2008). “On Learning Electricity in 7th Grade with Multi-agent Based Computational Models (NIELS)”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P. (June, 2008). “On The Learnability of Electricity As A Complex System”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P., Wilkerson-Jerde, M. (June, 2008). “Perceptual Supports for Sensemaking: A Case Study Using Multi Agent Based Computational Learning Environments”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Blikstein, P., & Abrahamson, D. (June, 2008). “The classroom as a complex adaptive system: An agent-based framework to investigate students' emergent collective behaviors”. . Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Russell, E. (May, 2008). “Consuming Spatial Data in NetLogo using the GIS Extension”.. Chicago, IL.

Wilensky, U., Stonedahl, F., Rand, B. (May, 2008). “Multi-Agent Learning with a Distributed Genetic Algorithm: Exploring Innovation Diffusion on Networks”. . Estoril, Portugal.

Wilensky, U., Stonedahl, F., Kornhauser, D., Russell, E., Brozefsky, C., Verreau, E., & Tisue, S. (May, 2008). “Tinkering with Turtles: An Overview of NetLogo's Extensions API”. . Chicago, IL.

Wilensky, U., Blikstein, P., Rand, W. (May, 2008). “GoGoBot: Group Collaboration, Multi-Agent Modeling and Robots”. (with B. Rand & P. Blikstein). . Estoril, Portugal.

Wilensky, U., Wilkerson-Jerde. M. (March, 2008). “Embedding Environments as a Mechanism for Mathematical Reasoning: An Expert Study”. . NY.

Wilensky, U., Blikstein, P., & Abrahamson, D. (March, 2008). “Groupwork as a complex adaptive system: A methodology to model, understand, and design classroom strategies for collaborative learning”. . NY.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P. (March, 2008). “On the representational and epistemological affordances of NetLogo-based science curricula”. . NY.

Sengupta, P., & Wilensky, U. (March, 2008). Designing Across Ages: On The Low-Threshold-High-Ceiling Nature of NetLogo Based Learning Environments.. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Wilensky, U., Rand, W. and Blikstein, P. (July, 2007). Participatory, Embodied, Multi-Agent Simulation. AAMAS-06 Conference.

Wilensky, U (September, 2006). Promoting ABM literacy: implications for design, scientific content and education. Chicago, IL.

Blikstein, P., & Wilensky, U. (June, 2006). Learning About Learning: Using Multi-Agent Computer Simulation to Investigate Human Cognition. Paper presented at the International Conference on Complex Systems. Boston, MA.

Rand, W., & Wilensky, U. (June, 2006). Verification and Validation through Replication: A Case Study Using Axelrod and Hammond’s Ethnocentrism Model. Conference of the North American Association for Computational Social and Organizational Sciences. South Bend, IN.

Rand, W., Blikstein, P., & Wilensky, U. (June, 2006). Widgets, Planets, and Demons: The Case for the Integration of Human, Embedded, and Virtual Agents via Mediation. Paper presented at the Swarmfest 2006. South Bend, IN.

Wilensky, U. (June, 2006). Emergent Modeling. International Conference on Complexity Sciences. Boston, MA.

Wilensky, U. and Rand, W. (June, 2006). NetLogo 3.1: Low threshold, no ceiling. South Bend, IN.

Wilensky, U. (May, 2006). Agent-based models, distributed computing, and science education. Texas Instruments.

Levy, S. & Wilensky, U. (April, 2006). Gas laws and beyond: Strategies in exploring models of the dynamics of change in the gaseous state. Gas laws and beyond: Strategies in exploring models of the dynamics of change in the gaseous state. San Francisco.

Levy, S. T., & Wilensky, U. (April, 2006). Emerging knowledge through an emergent perspective: High-school students' inquiry, exploration and learning in the Connected Chemistry curriculum. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.

Wilensky, U. (April, 2006). Complex systems and restructuration of scientific disciplines: Implications for learning, analysis of social systems, and educational policy. . In J. Kolodner (Chair), C. Bereiter (Discussant), and J.D. Bransford (Discussant), “Complex Systems, Learning, and Education: Conceptual Principles, Methodoloy.


Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.

Wilensky, U. (February, 2006). Complex Systems, computer-based modeling and education: implications for student learning and educational research. Vanderbilt University.

Blikstein, P., & Wilensky, U (2006). Hybrid Modeling’: Advanced Scientific Investigation Linking Computer Models and Real-World Sensing. Paper accepted for presentation at the Seventh International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Bloomington.

Wilensky, U. (2006). Complex Systems and Reformulating Scientific Disciplines Implications for Learning, Analysis of Social systems and Educational Policy. Complex Systems and Reformulating Scientific Disciplines Implications for Learning, Analysis of Social systems and Educational Policy. Bloomington, IL.

Levy, S.T. & Wilensky, U (2006). merging knowledge through an emergent perspective: High-school students’ inquiry, exploration and learning in the Connected Chemistry curriculum. students’ inquiry, exploration and learning in the Connected Chemistry curriculum. Paper accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco.

Sengupta, P., & Wilensky, U (2006). NIELS: An Agent Based Modeling Environment for Learning Electromagnetism. San Francisco.

Unterman, J. W., & Wilensky, U (2006). PANDA BEAR: Perimeter and Area by Embodied Agent Reasoning. San Francisco.

Wilensky, U., & Abrahamson, D (2006). Is a disease like a lottery?: Classroom networked technology that enables student reasoning about complexity. San Francisco.

Blikstein, P. & Wilensky, U (2006). From inert to generative modeling: case studies of Multi-Agent-Based Simulation in Undergraduate Engineering education. San Francisco.

Wilensky, U (2006). Complex Systems: Implications for Learning, Analysis of Social systems and Educational Policy. San Francisco.

Blikstein, P. & Wilensky, U (2006). A Case Study Of Multi-Agent-Based Simulation In Undergraduate Materials Science Education.

Levy, S.T, Novak, M., & Wilensky, U (2006). Students' foraging through the complexities of the particulate world: Scaffolding for independent inquiry in the connected chemistry (MAC) curriculum. San Francisco.

Berland, M., & Wilensky, U. (2006). Constructionist collaborative engineering: Results from an implementation of PVBOT. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.

Felsen, M., Watson, B., & Wilensky, U. (2006). Procedural modeling of urban land use. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 conference.

Abrahamson, D. & Wilensky, U (2005). Understanding chance: From student voice to learning supports in a design experiment in the domain of probability. Proceedings of the Twenty Seventh Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education.

Abrahamson, D., Blikstein, P., Lamberty, K. K., & Wilensky, U (2005). Mixed-media learning environments. Interaction Design and Children 2005.

Abrahamson, D. & Wilensky, U (2005). Piaget? Vygotsky? I’m Game: Agent-Based Modeling for Psychology Research.

Blikstein, P. & Wilensky, U (2005). Less Is more: Agent-Based Simulation as a Powerful Learning Tool in Materials Science. Proceedings of the IV International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2005).

Sklar, B., & Wilensky, U (2005). Agent-based systems for human learning. AMAS-05.. Netherlands.

Maroulis, S. & Wilensky, U (2005). Modeling school districts as complex adaptive systems: a simulation of market-based reform.

Abrahamson, D. & Wilensky, U (2005). Collaboration and equity in classroom activities using Statistics As Multi-Participant Learning-Environment Resource (S.A.M.P.L.E.R.). Canada.

Berland, M. & Wilensky, U (2005). Complex play systems -- Results from a classroom implementation of VBot. Canada.

Levy, S. T. & Wilensky, U (2005). Connected Chemistry - A study of secondary students using agent-based models to learn Chemistry.

Levy, S.T. & Wilensky, U (2005). Students’ patterns in exploring NetLogo™models, embedded in the Connected Chemistry Environment.

Maroulis, S. & Wilensky, U (2005). Leave no turtle behind: An agent-based simulation of school choice dynamics. Canada.

Blikstein, P., Abrahamson, D., & Wilensky, U. Minsky, mind, and models: Juxtaposing agent-based computer simulations and clinical-interview data as a methodology for investigating cognitive-developmental theory. Presented at the annual meeting on the Jean Piaget Society. Baltimore, MD.

Blikstein, P., Stair, K., & Wilensky, U. On-screen and off-screen: Do they make a marriage? A case study of the implementation of computer simulation in hands-on materials science laboratory experiments. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Chicago, IL.

1. Sondahl, F., Tisue, S., & Wilensky, U. Breeding faster turtles: Progress towards a NetLogo compiler. Paper presented at Agent 2006. Chicago, IL.

Wilensky, U., Sengupta, P. 3. “Designing Across Ages: On The Low-Threshold-High-Ceiling Nature of NetLogo Based Learning Environments”.. NY.


Symposia and Workshops
Year Description
2008 I gave many talks and seminars including papers presented at Swarmfest, the 2008 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO), the annual American Education Research Association Conference (AERA), The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), the annual International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS), and the 7th Annual International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems AAMAS.


Software
Year Name/Version Agency City/State
2008 Computer HubNet 4.0.3 Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2008 Computer HubNet 4.0.4 Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2008 NetLogo 4.0.3 Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2008 NetLogo 4.0.4 Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston
Description: I have continued to develop modeling software. Two new releases of NetLogo came out this year along with two new releases of the HubNet collaborative simulation software. I also published new accompanying tools, materials and curricula. Our user community continues to expand – tens of thousands of students, teachers and researchers use NetLogo in their classrooms and work. To date we have had 160,000+ downloads of the NetLogo software. The user group ranges from children downloading NetLogo to teach their parents how to model, to middle school classroom use, to researchers in academic institutions. Several accompanying comments from our download log even indicate that NetLogo is not only being used by PhD students, but has, in fact actually made their research/dissertations possible (extracts of the download log are available upon request).


2008 NetLogo Diffusion on a Directed Network model. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston
Description:



2008 NetLogo Particle Swarm Optimization model. : Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2008 NetLogo Simple Genetic Algorithm model. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2008 NetLogo Virus on a Network model. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 BEAGLE curriculum Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 BEAGLE curriculum. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2006 Calc-HubNet.(Version 3.0 & 3.1) Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 Connected Chemistry curriculum Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 Connected Chemistry curriculum. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2006 MaterialSim Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 MaterialSim. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2006 N.I.E.L.S. curriculum Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 N.I.E.L.S. curriculum. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2006 NetLogo.3.1 beta Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 NetLogo Artificial Neural Net model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Evanston


2006 NetLogo Diffuse Off Edges Example model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo DLA Simple model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Grand Canyon model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo HubNet Bug Hunters Camouflage model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo HubNet Disease Doctors model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo HubNet Function model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo HubNet Guppy Spots model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo HubNet Walking model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Intersecting Lines Example model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Moore & Von Neumann Example Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Perceptron model for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Sunflower Biomorphs model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Tabonuco Yagrumo Hybrid model Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2006 NetLogo Tabonuco Yagrumo model Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 NetLogo Tie System Example model Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 NetLogo Voronoi model Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 NetLogo Wolf Sheep Stride Inheritance model Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2006 Problab curriculum. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Evanston


2006 Wilensky, U..(Version 3.0 & 3.1). Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling Evanston


2005 Computer HubNet.3.0 Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston


2005 Connected Chemistry Model-based Curriculum.3.0 Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston
Other developers: Levy, S., & Novak, M
Description: I also released updates to two of our most used model-based curricula, a substantial update to the Connected Chemistry high school curriculum that is deployed in large numbers of school districts and a similar update to our ProbLab, secondary school probability and statistics curriculum


2004 VBot Curriculum (Robotics) Center for Connected Learning and Computer Based Modeling, Northwestern University Evanston
Other developers: Berland, M


Projects
Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL)
Integrated Simulation and Modeling Environments


Other Research/Scholarship
Presentations (under review)

Watson, B., Wilensky, U., Felsen, M., Lecher, T. & Tisue, S. Procedural Modeling of Urban land Use. (manuscript submitted to SIGGRAPH).

Blikstein, P., Wilensky, U. & Abrahamson, D. Minsky, mind, and models: Juxtaposing agent-based computer simulations and clinical-interview data as a methodology for investigating cognitive-developmental theory. (manuscript submitted to Jean Piaget Society)

Edited Columns

(2005). Reflections on Reflections. (Peter Liljedahl). IJCML.

(2005). In memoriam: Jim Kaput (Richard Lesh & Jeremy Roschelle). IJCML.

(2005). Archimedes with Cabri: Visualization and Experimental Verification of Mathematical Ideas. (Adnan Baki). IJCML.


Research Interests
Mathematics and science education in the context of computation, connected learning, constructionism, computer-based modeling, agent-based modeling and complex systems and education.

Teaching/Advising


Courses
LRN_SCI 426 Design of Technological Tools for Thinking and Learning For more information on this course and example of class projects from previous years, please visit the course website.
LRN_SCI 452 Constructionism Seminar Constructionism is the name given by Seymour Papert to that sub-species of constructivist thought that focuses on the special advantages for learning derived from the external construction of an artifact alongside the internal construction of a mental model. Constructionist thinking has been deeply influential on the learning science and educational research, especially in the areas of learning technologies and mathematics and science education reform. Constructionist thought has its origins in the developmental psychology of Piaget and the early Vygotsky. It has been greatly influenced by the works of subsequent cognitive psychologists and artificial intelligence researchers such as Newell, Simon McCullough & Minsky. It has also been shaped by the literature on alternative epistemologies, feminism and deconstruction such as that of Keller, Turkle, Illich & Latour. Its strong connection to computer programming as a constructive activity has been deeply explored first by Papert and more recently by DiSessa, Eisenberg, Noss & Hoyles. Its advocacy for a reexamination of curricular content in the context of computation and a reorganization of content around “powerful ideas” has had a significant influence on the educational research community. Often this influence has resulted in heated reactions to constructionist ideas. In this seminar, we will closely read Constructionist sources as well as sources that had significant impact on Constructionist thought. In cases, where Constructionist thought met a significant counter reaction, we will read some of the counter-constructionist literature. The main thrust of the course is the reading but, to fully appreciate many of these papers, we will become conversant with the software described. An important component of the course will be developing skills in and conducting Piagetian clinical interviews that draw out the subject’s thinking on a topic. Normally, LS 426 is a prerequisite for this class. In some cases, with permission of instructor, this prerequisite can be waived.


Advising
Year Students Description
2008
I advised/supervised six undergraduates this year including: Abbie Jacobs, Zach Moy, Ted Stein, Nate Wong, Greg McGlynn and Justin Li.


Service/Recognition


Editorial Boards
Year Journal Name Position
2005 Journal of Learning Sciences Editorial Board
2005 International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning Editor in Chief
1998 Journal of Learning Sciences Editorial Board
1994 International Journal of Computers for Mathematical learning Editor in Chief





Last Updated: 2012-11-13 14:20:24