Although my current post is research-oriented, I also enjoy teaching. I am especially interested in ways of teaching material which has traditionally been very mathematical in nature to students from less quantitative backgrounds.

My teaching methods focus heavily on learning through doing. I believe the best way of understanding a system is to interact with it. Of course, it is difficult to apply this technique directly to environmental systems, but models can provide a tool which allows students to interact with a simulacrum of the whole system, and to develop intuitions about how the real thing functions.

Web-based models

Most research-oriented models have quite a steep learning curve, and often presuppose a high level of technical knowledge. For this reason they can be quite off-putting to new-comers, particularly undergraduate students. Also, these models often lack immediate feedback about the results of changes, which slows the learning process and lessens engagement.

To combat these issues, I developed the Javascript Ice Sheet Model a numerical model of the Greenland and East Antarctic ice sheets, which runs interactively in a browser. The model allows students to simulate the behaviour of both ice sheets under different climate scenarios, as well as to look at the effects of different physical processes on the results. Numerically, the model is a reimplementation of Frank Pattyn’s Excel-based GRANTISM - a flowline model using the Shallow Ice Approximation.