What did I do?
This is a description of a playful simulation experiment with teacher education students that I carried out in Do One phase. I ground my definition on simulation on Ellington and colleagues (1982) definition of a simulation: it has to representative something from the real world, it has some key features of the reality, it constitutes an ongoing process and it is systemic in nature. Therefore I found it very natural the use PBL as a method for simulation. The aim is that while doing the activity students learn about the subject. PBL is about an open-ended problem which students find in a trigger material or case.
How did you do it?
I started by dividing them in a groups of five students. Each group got the same trigger text but their outcome became very different from each other while they decided to focus on different things. The student were supposed to plan a sequence for pupils in grade 1-6 where especially multilingualism, diversity and social justice are taken into account. The trigger text included a case where pupils had learning difficulties, motivation problems and only a certain numbers of lessons they could use for it in the school context.
- I shared the task on Moodle for each group in a separate discussion forums.
- The students took the role as a teacher and started planning.
- When they where ready, they shared their outcomes on Moodle forum for assessment.
- During the process they worked as if they would work as teachers and they could ask me for help online on Moodle.
How did it go?
Even though it was not a digital simulation, students used quite a lot of digital tools during the process. The activity fulfilled the criterias for the simulation (Ellington and colleagues 1982, 10). They learned to use tools which they probably will find usable in future work as a teacher. My role as a facilitator of the learning process by supporting, guiding and monitoring was important. Most of all to help students to find the right suitable digital tools and keep them on the track.
What is my best advice?
- Put a lot of effort and time on writing a good trigger text or case.
- Decide in advantage which digital forum or tools you are going to use – its’s time consuming to learn using new tools during the process.
- Encourage the students to think outside the box – it’s about a simulation and you are allowed to make mistake.
- Simulation is much more fun if you can collaborate.