“Activities with simulations have the potential to help children organize, develop, test, and refine their ideas about science” (Cherry, Loannidou, Rader, Brand, and Repenning, p. 2). In Simulations of Lifelong Learning the theme throughout is that student learning with simulations is a tool that will serve us for life. Not only are we looking at students while they are in grade school, but professionals as well. “Simulations are frequently used as tools by scientists and policy makers” (p. 1). It continues on to state that by starting at an early age we can create a framework for this kind of “simulation literacy”. The collaboration involved can be an educational benefit for all ages. Students are creating simulations while professionals are using them or vice versa. It is a stepping stone into our current and future technological age.
When looking through a web log post by Gende I discovered a theme that was very similar to the first article. It focused around students engagement and learning concepts with simulations in the classroom. “Simulations can serve to introduce the ideas and equipment of the lab experiment allowing the students to work through the laboratory faster and with less confusion” (Gende, 2011) Instead of wasting lab time these simulations can be a time saver, cleaner and more efficient way for students to be prepared for an upcoming lab. It becomes a pre-lab experience. The advantages of using simulations, as stated in the post, were that simulations can help students
- translate multiple representation
- build mental models of physical, chemical or biological systems
- be engaged in hands-on active learning experiences
- understand equations as physical relationships among measurements
- concentrate on collaboration
- investigate in phenomena that would not be possible to experience in class labs
This creates that lifelong experience that can be used at all ages, just as the first article had emphasized.
In the third and final article we are focusing entirely on the educator. Educating “preservice” teachers (educators who are not in the classroom yet) with simulation software in science investigations so that they are incorporating it throughout their own learning.
Studies of such software use in the classroom have shown that, in conjunction with reform-based science instruction, they can foster conceptual change, systems thinking, and subject matter knowledge by helping learners engage in scientific practices, such as visualizing and embodying theories of abstract concepts or ideas into models. (Schwarz, Meyer, and Sharma, p. 244)
This too followed a similar theme as the first two articles did. Through deduction and logic simulation models can be used by all ages.
The themes help to guide my understanding of the research I have compiled. It helps others to better understand what I have gathered in an organized, systematic way and can help others to better understand their own research as well.
Cherry, G., Ioannidou, A., Rader, C., Brand, C., Repenning, A. (n.d). Simulations for
Lifelong Learning. Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder. Retrieved from http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~ralex/papers/PDF/NECC99.pdf
Gende, D. (2011, April 1). Science Simulations: A Virtual Learning Environment.
[web log post]. Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2011/04/01/science-simulations-a-real-way-to-learn/
Schwarz, C. V., Meyer, J., Sharma, A. (2007, February 1). Technology, Pedagogy, and
Epistemology: Opportunities and Challenges of Using Computer Modeling and Simulation Tools in Elementary Science Methods. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18, 243-269. Doi:10.1007/s10972-007-9039-6