Simulations in the K-6 learning environment is an engaging and effective teaching and learning strategy I have observed during my pre-teacher education. As simulations immerse students into created situations that draw on information from a variety of key learning areas, it is an effective way of learning within realistic contexts.
In the workshop based on simulations and modeling, the opportunity came to view how this topic can be used within the context of ICT. The topic was based on how animated and interactive environments delivered digitally, can be used to simulate learning for K-6 students. Here the focus is more on modeling where students are interacting with an imitated event or environment, as opposed to utilizing an element of role play.
The workshop required us to interact with an online simulation activity based on Panda’s and their habitats. The computer simulation is educational as it requires students to build a successful habitat for the pandas. Students therefore needed to draw on content knowledge and use a variety of higher order thinking skills in order to solve the problem presented. Here is a screenshot of my successful Panda habit after I completed the problem correctly:
It was required that an appropriate habitat be created at the zoo with a careful balance between the needs of the Pandas, staff, and visitors. It has an easy to use interface, that allowed students to create and modify the habitat by dragging the objects. In addition to this, it included easy to use instructions accompanied by audio guided the students through the process.
Visit Design a Panda Habit to interact with your own animated simulation:
This topic has been interesting, and viewing the Design a Panda Habitat resources, demonstrated how many free educational tools are available online. It has sparked my interest to find what other simulation and modeling tools are available for education, and the various key learning areas they draw on. Perhaps in the future an interesting topic to explore for the K-6 classroom will be how students can create their own simulations digitally . . .