Monday, March 20, 2006

Sim school (Melanie Zibit, David Gibson, Bill Halverson)

I decided to try to make notes for this conference on my phone and then use Bluetooth to send them over to the laptop for final prep before I post them online. It seems that even though it’s a bit slower, I’m taking down the important points, as opposed to everything when I’m typing. It’s also much less intrusive, though some people do a double take. I noticed people doing this same thing at eLearn (on basic smartphones and Blackberrys) so I thought I would as well. I did it at a meeting last month already and it seems to work well. Anyway, on with the session. The first session was by the people behind It’s based on an older site “Teacher Work” and it’s now live as of March 1st. The site uses a database to simulate in essentially real time the manner in which individually modeled students will react to school situations. The beauty of this system is that the entire system can be repeated with essentially the same results occurring for the same inputs (different timings may change the details a bit) so that pre-service teachers can learn in a risk free environment and see how answers to why things happen in a classroom are never really easy. The students are modeled on a 6 dimensional basis (the psychology Big 5 Theory – with a bias toward neurology - plus “academic”); the system also integrates data from a national (US) student demographic database that all works together to help model the diversity in the classroom. I didn’t get a chance to ask about how easily students are able to transfer what they see in the game into their field experience, but they did mention that they are building this knowing that they are catering to the game generation that is coming up. If nothing else (“nothing” is used because I can’t think of a better word right now), the fact that it is a cognitive apprentice model should enable some measure of transfer even if it’s in the “background”. I’m really curious to see how this can be used back home and by those who are reading (Aaron – check it!). (edited) Technorati Tags: , , ,