From the Digital to Authentic Classroom: A Study of Using an Online Simulation for Teacher Education
Abstract: This study evaluated the effectiveness the simSchool (v.1) simulation as a tool for preparing student teachers for actual classroom teaching. Twenty-two student teachers used the simulation for a practice session and two test sessions. Data included objective performance statistics generated by the simulation program, self-rated performance data, and qualitative opinions of participants. Participants’ scores for their simulated students’ learning improved significantly between practice and actual simulation sessions with one student. However, their scores for their simulated students’ learning decreased significantly as complexity increased between teaching sessions with one student and five students. Notably, task appropriateness scores increased with practice. Participant ratings indicated that overall they found simSchool to be a helpful tool for learning about classroom teaching and identified shortcomings in the simulation interface that should be corrected to improve its effectiveness. Results show promise in the use of simSchool for enhancing teacher trainings before their actual teaching experience.