REFLECTION 3: working away…

In simSchool: The Game of Teaching, Melanie Zibit and David Gibson discuss a simSchool, a product to help new teachers develop the skillset they need to (hopefully) succeed in the classroom. This product is a classroom simulation and attempts to emmerse new teachers in a ‘real’ classroom, with all of its unique personalities and characteristics.

An interesting part of this simulation is the ability to create a classroom which will have a similiar group of students to a real class in that region. This software pulls data from the National Center for Educational Statistics Common Core of Data, thus insuring that the makeup of the class accurately reflects the reality.

Additionally, student behavior consists of three factors: (1) five “Traits and Needs”; (2) seventeen “Learning Preferences,” and (3) a variable for “Social Expectations.” Students in simSchool have an effectively infinite number—in the trillions—of nuanced combinations of these factors (23^10 = 4.14E13).’ –(Zibit & Gibson)

simSchool attempts to strengthen new teachers in decision making and develop a core of expertise in:

* Which kinds of tasks work and do not work in this particular setting?
* How often does a particular student need teacher interactions to stay on task?
* Where is the zone of proximal development for this student as defined by task content and difficulty? –(Zibit & Gibson)

This article was interesting to me because I do not usually think of teaching as a field which can be learned via software. Yes, the technical aspects, software tools, etc. are certainly learned online, but, the art of teaching?

This article was read in support of the GAMING SIG, where we discussed the roles in gaming, simulations, and the process of creating an interactive game. I found the GAMING SIG interesting in the notion of how learning could be situated in a different enviroment. I am not sure how that plays out in my project. I do hope to add some interactivity to my project, but I do not know if it will go as far as a game. I have really thought and reflected on whether (or how) I could use a game component in my project. I have also thought about whether that would be the best fit for my project. I am not sure. This SIG was definitely food for thought… the notion of storytelling and gaming seems like an easy fit for a project which is really on creativity… hmmm.

Reference: Zibit, Melanie and Gibson, David. simSchool:The Game of Teaching. The Innovate Gateway, August/September 2005, V.1, Issue 6

word count: 432


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