Digital Solutions

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.

Archibald MacLeish

simSchool is a classroom simulation developed to let you practice different approaches to teaching with simulated students. It includes models of learning, cognition and emotion (including the OCEAN Model of Psychology, structural-functional, and constructivist learning theories), simSchool provides a safe environment where you can explore concepts, creating and teaching virtual, artificially intelligent students that behave as real students would. "The students are virtual, but the learning is very real."

While Simschool can be used in many different ways, we will be using it to enable you to explore and practice different teaching strategies, reviewing and relating different approaches that you will elaborate on in your first assessment task, and helping you to develop a class profile, plan and assess a unit of work, and two lesson plans, for your second assessment task.

10 seconds in SimSchool represents 1 minute in real time.

Each week we will undertake teaching practice sessions using simSchool, but you will be able to use simSchool to continue this practice between sessions.


Week 1 Developing instructional activities from the curriculum, resources and competitions

This week students will learn how to simulate a single learning activity in simSchool and explore how this impacts learning for a range of different students. Then using curriculum documents, match learning outcomes to different learning activities in simSchool, and finally, match these with learning that could occur in classrooms, competitions, and extra-curricula activities.

Week 2 Pedagogical approaches to teaching Digital Technologies

This week students will create short sequences of activities to reflect a range of pedagogical approaches, exploring how different sequences of activities impact the learning of the same students.

Week 3 Scoping and sequencing activities to meet curriculum expectations

Students will explore scope and sequence collections of example activities, and replicate these in simSchool, building their simulations to a full class period (40 minutes simulation/ 400 seconds in real time (6.7 minutes).

Week 4 Pacing and structuring activities to build concept development

Students will refine their activity sequences, exploring how different sequences and pacing of activities can influence student learning.

Week 5 Focusing on the learning not the tools

Students will explore how educational technologies (robots, programming languages, websites, electronics kits, etc.) can be categorised as sets of learning activities, and their uses can be incorporated into lesson planning as a range of learning activities with specific learning outcomes.

Week 6 Monitoring student progress and making differentiated interventions

Students will consider how continuous data collection differs from point in time assessment, and how each can contribute to student profiling and identifying differentiated interventions. They will compare the rich data environment of the simSchool with the relatively sparse data available in a classroom, and strategies to use what data collection is available to inform their lesson and unit planning.