Simulation Models for a simple mind

What is situational modeling anyway?

When I was reviewing the class notes and learning about situational modeling, I didn’t understand why anyone would want to graph what they were graphing.  I didn’t understand how you could turn something into data related to an X and Y axis that was worth looking at and deciphering.

Maybe this makes me simple-minded, but in the bigger picture of life, why do we need to analyze and research things anyway? Who is really going to use that data, and what in the world would it improve?  Then I sighed, reminding myself that I am taking this Masters for a reason, and it is to expand my mind and introduce me to what I don’t know I don’t know.

So rather than fighting the system, I maintained a curious and questioning perspective, although blunt and possibly offensive, I was then turned around by Dr. David Tait.  When this man described the concept of a Simulation Model referring to the effects of the Flu, it all started coming together, especially when Dr. Tait stated that

a simulation model shows the potential problem in your hypothesis.  It is a good model to show indications and assumptions.  You need to create limitations, bound (space and time), specific geographic area that you are modeling, time range modeling over, and resolution in time that reporting on (from 1 year to the next), all depending on what you are modeling.  Ultimately, simulation models are a good tool to prove what you don’t know, and creates more reason to research.

“Sometimes we are asked to quantify. So why, why do we want to quantify?” Pille Bunnell shares her perspective in an educational video that allows us to check the credibility and validity of claims.

“Information is the difference that makes a difference,” Gregory Bateson

Why would we want to have a simulation model?

  1. Project the consequences of our hypothesis
  2. Determine material feasibility of something, project amounts required, how they will be used and where they will go
  3. Extend our thinking over space and time
  4. Practical way to explore the implications of our own understanding

Supposedly we do this naturally all the time, even in daily actions.  By using that model, we create a complex hypothesis, then see the implications of that hypothesis.

So what is a hy·poth·e·sis?

The way I see it is that I have an idea and based on little education or knowledge about that idea I state how I think things should be, then it defines an inquiry clear enough to then go and research.  Find tools, models, resources and books that will help me prove or disprove that theory.  What the simulation model does is further helps me graphically paint an image of the effects of that theory and tell me how wrong I was, and give me more to research.

We can develop policy, do experience, gather data and improve the model at the same time while getting closer to proving or disproving the hypothesis.

At first, I didn’t see why I would want to use this in my world as a nature based educator, but then I started realizing that I personally come up with hypothesis all the time, and I do not have any basis, data or written rational behind what I say, and yet I want people to believe me! Maybe this model will help me pull together the years of experience in a quantifiable method that will give weight and proof to my theory of getting more kids outside.

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