DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS UNIVERSITI PENDIDIKAN SULTAN IDRIS SSI 3013 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN SCIENCE SEMESTER 1 2012/2013 STELLA: SIMULATION IN TEACHING AND LEARNINGNO STUDENT’S NAME MATRIC NUMBER1. VIVIANA VELENTHIA MICHEAL D201010XXXXX LECTURER’S NAME AZMI IBRAHIM DATE OF SUBMISSION: 3 DECEMBER 2012
CONTENT PAGE1.0 Introduction 12.0 Simulation in education 2 2.1 STELLA software and example of its usage in teaching and learning 3 2.1.1 The Pendulum Experiment 33.0 The Benefit of using simulation in teaching and learning 5 3.1 Motivate the students 5 3.1.1 Allow experiment exploration 5 3.1.2 Provide risk free environment 6 3.2 Allow students to analyze data and predict future outcome 7 3.3 Students can practice problem solving skills 74.0 Computer simulation in Science education 8 4.1 Help students visualize “invisible” science process 8 4.2 Teacher has more time to interact with students 85.0 Limitations of simulations 96.0 Conclusion 10 Reference
1.0 Introduction Simulation. In a glance, this word is may thought be most familiar among those guys whowork with the computers. What is simulation actually? And who can use simulation? Accordingto the Oxford English Dictionary, simulation is “the technique of imitating the behaviour ofsome situation or system (Economic, Mechanical etc.) by means of an analogous model,situation, or apparatus, either to gain information more conveniently or to train personnel."Hartmann (1996) define simulation as “a process which mimics the relevant features of a targetprocess”. From the educational perspective, Diana Laurillard in “Rethinking UniversityTeaching”2 states: “A computer-based simulation is a program that embodies some aspect of theworld, allows the user to make inputs to the model, and displays the results.” In other words, simulation is indeed a method to represent complex relations in an easierway and in lesser time. Simulation can be performed by anyone in many areas. They just needthe software or tools to run it. In educational purpose, commercial, financial, logistics, health orresearch purpose, simulation can be applied. Even children can perform simulation as their toolsof learning. In this essay, we are going to focus on the use of simulation in education as a methodin teaching and learning process.
2.0 Simulation in education Simulation is not something that new in education. It has been practiced for manydecades as a tool supporting the traditional approach of learning. Throughout this time, educationcontinues to evolve to meet the society demand of this globally changing world. Most of thestudents nowadays have been exposed to the high technology gadgets such as smart phone, tabs,and video games since their young age. Therefore, in education the traditional chalk and talk andmere lecture method will give students the perspective that learning is a boring, classic, and lessinteresting process. For that reason, many simulations software have been developed foreducational purposes. The main goal of traditional teaching method is to achieve the learning objectives and tomaximize student’s content knowledge. Students are also trained to memorize the knowledge sothat they can recall the knowledge during exam. Other than can make student feel stressed andbored, this old method also doesn’t require students problem solving and thinking skill. Not tosay that old method cannot be used anymore; in fact the old method has produced many greatscientist and thinker. But the new method of simulation should be integrated into the teachingand learning process as the new generation needs the new the environment of learning that suittheir curious high-tech mind. Simulation can be used in many subjects in school. The easiest example is in sciencesubject which require many experimentations. One example of the simulation software suitablefor learning science is the STELLA software. This software is user friendly and also suitable forstudent’s age user.
2.1 STELLA software and example of its usage in teaching and learning STELLA is software developed by isee system. According to the product info ofSTELLA, this software allow user to communicate with the simulation to understand how asystem works, what goes in, how the system is impacted, and what are the outcomes. A commoncharacteristic in simulation is that user can control or manipulate the parameter in the simulationand see how the result is.2.1.1 The pendulum experiment Here is one example of STELLA application in a physics experiment, the pendulum. Bymanipulating the parameter such as length of string, mass of bob, and initial displacement,student can see the result or outcome in the form of graph. - The first graph of the pendulum oscillation - String length 0.5cm - Manipulated variable: length of string - Constant variable: mass of bob, initial displacement - Second and third graph is added - String length 1.0cm, and 1.5cm. - Manipulated variable: length of string - Constant variable: mass of bob, initial displacement -
- The first graph of the pendulum oscillation - Initial displacement: 0.5cm, 1.0cm, 1.5cm - Manipulated variable: length of string - Constant variable: mass of bob - The graphs of the pendulum oscillation - Mass of bob: 0.5g, 1.0g, 1.5g - Manipulated variable: mass of bob - Constant variable: length of string, initial displacement From the graphs, it can be seen that student can manipulate the variables however theywant. In this case, student can manipulate the length of string, mass of bob, and the initialdisplacement. When different value is selected, once the student hit “run”, another differentcurve of graph is formed. After several trial performed, students can see the trend or pattern ofthe graph formed. In addition, students also will know if a parameter is not affecting the result ofexperiment. Even after manipulating the value of the parameter, same curve of graph will beformed. It will just overlap with the existing graph; for example is the parameter of mass of bobin graph 3. Three values of mass were used but only one curve of graphs is formed. Furthermore,simulation also allows students to repeat the experiment over and over again until theyunderstand the experiment.
3.0 The benefit of using simulation in teaching and learning Simulations can be powerful active learning experiences. Finding suitable simulationexercises is a challenge in some fields and integrating them into the content and objectives of thecourse requires careful planning and execution. However, this extra work is justified given whata good simulation can accomplish in class.3.1 Motivate the studentsThe purpose of an educational simulation is to motivate the learner to engage in problem solving,hypothesis testing, experiential learning, schema construction, and development of mentalmodels (Winn & Snyder, 1996; Duffy & Cunningham, 1996).Using simulation in teaching and learning is really an effective method to motivate students andto gain their interest towards learning. Simulation can motivate students in several ways. Itincludes the ability of simulation to create a risk free environment and allow students to explorethe simulation.3.1.1 Allow experiment exploration Since the students nowadays are very familiar with the computers and games, usingsimulation enhance their interest and motivation to learn. They need the environment of learningthat requires them to explore which suit their curious high-tech mind. Simulations allow students to interact with the simulations. Most simulations aredesigned with a flexible architecture that allows their variables to be altered. Therefore, studentscan change any parameter in the simulation and observe how the simulated outcomes changes.By directly modifying a model, students can experiment with the behavior of the models in anumber of different scenarios. By doing a simulation too, students can relate it with the contentknowledge and with the real life.
The main goal of simulation is to allow the motivated students to have a deeperunderstanding of the experiment or model they simulate. With the animated outcomes such asgraph plotting, charts, relations, and diagram, students will have a better picture of the process.Other than that, of course animated and interesting interface of the simulations can attract thestudents’ interest to learn.3.1.2 Provide risk free environment There is nothing like risk free environment in the real life. In fact, failure is seen as anecessary experience for learning. However, in school, one of the factors that make studentsfeels lazy to learn something is that because they fed up of being wrong and to fail without thechance to improve. This is mostly because of the time constraint in carrying out experiment inschool. Cost involving the materials and set up of the experiment also caused the experimentcannot be done repeatedly. By using simulation, students do not come to fear failure. If they fail,simulation provides them with the chances to go back and modify their strategy until they haveachieved a successful result. Therefore they will be motivated to learn and treasure moreknowledge. Consequently, failure will become part of the learning process that will lead tostudents’ improvement in that area of knowledge, not the end of their involvement in it. Using simulation also allow students to improve the skills of learners in a way that doesnot affect actual outcomes. There are situations where the materials used and skills performedmay affect health and risk the safety of the students as well as the apparatus or materialsinvolved. When in real life the cost of failure is often extremely high, simulation can be anadvantage. Simulation allows students to carry out the simulated experiment and allow them tofail occasionally in their course of their learning process but not affecting them in the real world.
3.2 Allow student to analyze data and predict future outcome Simple analysis to predict something can be done by anyone. However, as the complexityof the analysis increases, so does the need to employ computer-based tools. One of the tools issimulation. With all the necessary study data, simulation can be useful in predicting the futureoutcome. In real life no one can predict the future accurately, but we still can study the pattern forthe highest probability that it will occur. By using simulation, students can study the trend of theoutcome whenever they manipulate any variable. The outcome for example in the form of graphis usually observed over time. When the simulation is run several times, students can see thetrend of the change in the graph. Take the graph from the pendulum experiment, it can be seenthat the graph have certain pattern and the next graph can be predicted. Analyzing and predicting data using simulation can enhance students’ thinking skills andalso problem solving skill. Other than that, this process also can give student the introduction onhow to do a research, which they will do in their higher level of education later.3.3 Student can practice problem solving skills Learning will be more meaningful when students can relate what they study with the realworld situation. Simulation is tools that can make students feel closer to the real world. It isprobably impractical to consider transforming every classroom setting into a situated learningenvironment. However, it is possible to bring some of the benefits of situated learning into theconventional classroom setting by using simulation. Simulations facilitate situated learning byproviding interactive practice of real-world skills, focusing on the essential elements of a realproblem or system. Problem solving skill is an important skill that everybody should acquire. Students candevelop this skill through real life experience, and training. One of the other ways to develop thisskill is through learning with the assistance of simulation. In simulation, there are often scenario-based problems that reflect a situation the learner would encounter in the real world. The
simulation presents the environment, authentic information sources and the tools to let thestudent solve the problem and test their knowledge.4.0 Computer simulation in science education In science education, computer simulation is used because simulations are simplifiedversions of the natural world. They are usually used to represent the experiment that is hard to becarried out in laboratory because of the factor of time, safety, and cost.4.1 Help students visualize “invisible” science process Sometimes, students are hard to understand science concept that literally cannot be seenthrough the lens of their eyes. Therefore, they need some visualization to help them see andunderstand the phenomena or processes of the science concept. That is why simulation isintegrated in teaching and learning science. To help students visualize and get a big picture ofwhat they are learning. Processes that usually need simulation to visualize are the process that istoo small to view such as the reproduction of bacteria, too big such as the tectonic shifting, toofast such as chemical reactions, too slow such as evolution, too far such as the movement ofplanets in the outer space, or too dangerous such as nuclear reactions.4.2 Teacher has more time to interact with students Obviously, simulations are very convenient to use. They are safe to use, save time andhelp deep understanding in students. Other than that, simulations also give more time to teacherto interact with students instead of dealing with the management of the experimental setup. Withthis quality time, teacher can deliver more detailed knowledge to students while at the same time;the students also can experience and visualize the real world through simulation.
5.0 Limitation of simulation Although that simulation is seen having a good potential to be integrated in school in thefuture, right now there are still some limitation in it. First, not every teacher is familiar withsimulation. To use simulations in class could be a burden to them as they need long time toexplore the simulation. When the teachers do not really know how to use a simulation, they tendto spend more time trying to explore the simulation. This could later lead to an environment ofunsure teacher and confused students. Therefore, without expertise in using simulation, it can berather wasting time than saving time as it should be. Other limitation of simulation is that simulation can cause students to lack in manualscience process skill which is also important in the real life. If learning process depends toomuch on simulations, students will not be able to handle manual process experimentsuccessfully. In science experiment, the way of measuring substance, how to handle theapparatus, how to use microscope, correct way of taking reading; all of these are essential as abasic scientific skills. Lacking on these skills can cause difficulty to students when they need todo real scientific experiment or research later in their real life. Simulation can give result, analyze data, and mimics the real world process; butsimulation cannot develop students’ emotional and intuitive awareness of the importance of whatthey have learned. Since simulation can simplify many of the students’ work, students tend not toappreciate the knowledge and the value they gain. Other limitation of simulation is computer simulation cannot react to unexpected sub-goals which the student may develop during a learning process. These sub-goals would bebrought up during a teacher-student interaction but they remain unsaid during the individualstudent use of a simulation.
6.0 Conclusion Simulation is a powerful tool in assisting the teaching and learning process in school.They provide interesting and exciting mode of learning to the new generation students. Not onlyto attract the students’ interest, simulation also promoted constructivism learning to students.Through simulation, students can explore the content of the simulation. They have the freedomto change any parameter in the simulation and observe the result. Students can constructthemselves to gain their knowledge when they try to understand and justify their observation ofthe results. Through simulation too, the impossible to do experiment is also made possible insimulation to give students better visualization and understanding. In shorts, with the use ofsimulation, students can be motivated to learn and learning will be an interesting and fun. Since there are still limitations in applying simulation in education, many aspects shouldbe considered before applying simulation in a class. Teachers need to be trained, not only so thatthey can use simulation to aid their teaching process; but also to let them know when to applysimulation wisely in teaching and learning session. Although the technology is very important,some of manual skills are also not less important. Integrating simulations in teaching andlearning is supposed to give advantages, and complete what is incomplete in the old method; notto suppress the benefit of old teaching and learning method can provide to students.
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