DefinitionO It is a representation or model of an event, an object, or some phenomenon. A computerized model of a real or imagined system designed to teach how a certain system or a similar one works.O The strength of a simulation is the fact that a computer responds to student input; that is the computer`s responses depend on their choices.
Simulation CategoriesO Physical simulations: these simulations offer learners the opportunity to manipulate objects or phenomena represented on the screen.O Process simulations: it speed up or slow down processes that students usually would not be able to observe these processes naturally.O Procedural simulations: these simulations teach the appropriate sequences of steps to perform in certain procedures.O Situational simulations: it present students with varied situations and ask them to devise actions to solve problems in these situations.
Characteristics of SimulationsO A vision of Knowledge: it is not represented as a cluster of right or wrong answers held separate from context which they apply.O An Authentic problem: an authentic problem is one that could legitimately exist in a real-world context.O A context setting: It may be represented as a series of graphic images of land or buildings.O Variables: basic structures that define the universe of a simulation.O Rules of interaction: they are programmed into the structure of the simulation and must be discovered as the game progresses.
Sources for simulations O Educational software publishers O Commercial software publishers O On-line simulations
Learning with simulationsThey can be powerful tools for educators. The mainadvantage in using simulations is that they givestudents the power to manipulate various aspects of themodel. Research on simulations in educational settingsMost educational researchers agree that simulation isone of the best ways to make abstract conceptsconcrete.Problem solving: these programs tend to addresshigher-order educational objectives.Content learning: simulations seem to supportincreases in problem solving.
Advantages associated with computer Simulations1. Student involvement2. Low cost3. Safety4. Better transfer5. Reduced threat and anxiety6. Encouragement of socialization and collaboration7. Adjustments to realism for maximum learning8. Making the impossible possible
Limitations associated with computer simulations1. Time demands2. More threat and anxiety3. Adoption of the material but not the concept4. Deciding when to intervene directly is difficult5. Objectives mismatch6. Competitive focus
Teaching with simulationsSimulations are the best used when students havemastered a set of concepts and are ready to apply theacquired knowledge.Preparation: students most be helped to develop a basicunderstanding of the domain before they enter thesimulation.Debriefing: teachers and students need to discussextrapolate rules of interaction.Group Work: simulations are especially well suited togroup work.
ConclusionsO Simulations are a good way to contextualized concepts, it also provide the opportunity to develop problem solving skills.O The implementation of simulations in to the class curriculum needs all the organization required as all the activities developed in the classroom to achieve all the goals previously determined and finally it encourage effective social interaction between students.