There are many methods I could use to collect data on the students who are using science simulations in the classroom. I have limited it to a few. I plan to observe student interactions with each other and individually as they are working in a simulation. I will have one-on-one discussions with students to assess their deeper understanding of the concept just learned. The notes I take will be compiled and compared to address difficulties, functionality, and growth in understanding. I also plan to have the students rate the simulation for likability, educational benefit, and whether or not they would return to that site. After using a simulation there will be a short quiz to assess their understanding of the scientific concept that was addressed and explored throughout the simulation. Students will use these simulations to come up with an idea for a personal scientific experiment that they can reproduce in real life. They will then present their process, experiment and results to the class using a Prezi presentation.
I will need to design the following items:
- Note taking guide for teacher observation
- Rating scale for students to complete on simulations they’ve explored
- Short quiz to assess scientific concepts learned on a simulation site
- Rubric for the Prezi presentation
In looking through research by CITEd, I discovered by using multiple simulations students would better understand the process, thus being able to have a deeper understanding of real world problems. In this they will be able to explain more complex ideas that are difficult to replicate in the classroom. This is where observation and one-on-one discussion will help to demonstrate their understanding. Then I read part of Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations and discovered that, “…multiple choice… cannot assess students’ ability to design and execute all of the steps involved in carrying out a scientific investigation” (National Research Council, 2014, p 90). This just reaffirmed my belief in having the students create their own experiments to help support the learning they have done through these simulations. I would also be sure to make the quizzes summaries and quick explanations the kids would need to create rather than circling the correct answer. A good example of this was created by The Calipers Project. They came up with many simulation assessments that would truly show that the students understood the scientific concept that was to be learned when utilizing the simulation. They found that student were able to engage in active inquiry, and a deeper understanding of many complex topics. (Quellmalz et al., n.d.)
CITEd Research Center. (n.d.). Using Multimedia Tools to Help Students Learn Science.
Retrieved from http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=148
National Research Council of the National Academies. 2014. Learning Science Through
Computer Games and Simulations. 87-92. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13078&page=R1
Quellmalz, E. S., DeBarger, A. H., Haertell, G., Schank, P., Buckley, B. C., Gobert, J.,
Horwitz, P., and Ayala, C. (n.d.). Exploring the Role of Technology-Based Simulations in Science Assessment: The Calipers Project. Retrieved from http://calipers.sri.com/downloads/CalipersAERA07.pdf