zondag 9 oktober 2011
Reflection on SimSchool
In my opinion SimSchool can be used as an eye opener. In the Netherlands there are many students that just finished high school and don't really know what they want to do. The ones that want to do 'something' with children, usually start with teacher training. Not all teacher training facilities start with internships in the first year, what leads to a lot of students in the second or even third year that teach for the first time and then realize it isn't as easy as it looks. During this process a lot of students drop out, because they realize they can't handle it or that they don't like it.
I think that SimSchool can be used to eliminate this problem, there comes a lot more to teaching than just being sweet and being good with children.
During the simulation you can see how easily children get distracted and that it takes a lot of work to provide a suitable activity for all of the pupils. Using this program instead of a real internships speeds up the process of realizing this. So this technological resource helps students of the teacher training. It also helps the teacher training facility itself, because they don't have to look for so many places for internships and they can concentrate their time on students that really want to become teachers.
I think it also helps matching learning activities with pupils characteristics. As I already said, different pupils have different learning styles, so they also want to learn in different ways. By using this simulation the teacher can try which activity suits best with which personality. Because the program goes six times faster then the real world, the teacher can try more activities then he could try in the real world. This also is an advantage on a simulation, so thumbs up for technology.
But there also are a couple of this I didn't like about SimSchool. As I said in the beginning of this reflection, I think that SimSchool is a good eye opener. By this statement I mean that it is a good program to support a lesson in teacher training, but that SimSchool alone isn't going to be enough. During teaching, the way you present an activity is just as important as the activity itself. In the simulation you haven't got any influence on how the activity is presented to the pupils. It also doesn't take into account if the pupils are in a good mood today, if it is almost weekend or the start of the week. All these elements are very important during teaching. Therefore I think that SimSchool is a nice activity to start a lesson, but that after using it for a while the professor has to teach about the environmental factors as well.
Another aspect that I realized wasn't during the lesson with Everly, but during a lesson with more pupils in the classroom. I wanted to connect the students individual needs to the activities. But when I was doing this, I realized that this was impossible in the real world, because there was a student taking a test, a student was playing a game and another student was leading an discussion. If this would happen in a real classroom, the pupils would distract each other, but in the simulation everyone was happy.
Therefore I stay with my statement, I think SimSchool is a good eye opener and can help students realize how difficult it is to control a classroom filled with children and see all of the different learning styles and activities. But in my opinion it can only be used for this context, otherwise it seem doesn't to take enough factors into account, such as presentation and environmental factors.