Technologies Education

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 help you to develop better lesson plans.

10 seconds in SimSchool represents 1 minute in real time. 7 minutes of realtime will simulate a 40 minute lesson period.

Each week we will undertake teaching practice sessions using simSchool, you will have time to simulate both your lesson plans, and repeat one of the once to try some alternatives. You can also use simSchool to continue this practice between tutorials.


Lesson Tasks/Activities:

Before each tutorial, you will develop lesson plans for your D&T and DT lessons that detail a series of tasks/activities to occurring during the lesson. Where a task does not quite match, choose the closest. Of particular importance is your selection of tasks, the variety, the sequencing of your tasks, how long you allocate to each task, and how well your tasks cater for the diverse needs of your virtual students.

1. Recall

  1. Do Nothing
  2. Q&A with students
  3. Review previous lessons
  4. Short Oral/Written Quiz
  5. Student presentation on a concept/design/evaluation, etc.)
  6. (Ignore, we rarely do poetry readings in Tech Ed)
  7. Written/prep-prepared Test

3. Strategic Thinking

1. Students take notes

2. Play a game

3. Analyse a text, video, designed solution, computer program, database, etc. (Design and Computational Thinking)

4. Create a graphic, infographic, concept map, database, etc. (Computational Thinking: Data)

5. Compare and contrast approaches. (Systems Thinking)

6. Design a solution to a problem. (Design Thinking)

2. Skill/Concept

  1. Silent reading/viewing about concept or skill
  2. Oral explanation about concept or skill
  3. Group work activity
  4. Model and have students follow in completing an activity

4. Extended Thinking

  1. Student led discussion on a concept (Evaluation)
  2. Create a solution to a problem. (Design Process)
  3. Develop a project plan. (Strategic Thinking)
  4. Develop a hypothesis. (Futures Thinking)


To simulate teacher-student interaction during simulation, you can communicate with your students in various ways. This may be planned to support your tasks/activities, or unplanned in response to student activity and behaviour displayed by the simulated students . Make sure you do not lose focus on your lesson plan progression, a classroom can be a very busy place, particularly when you are trying to meet the diverse needs of your students.

Behavioural assertion:

Direct: Get back to work now.

Reward: You just earned reward points.

Focus: I need your attention.

Praise: You are setting a good example for others.

Praise: You are being good, it makes me feel great.

Threaten: I don't really want to keep you behind after school.

Encourage: I am sure you can get your work done on time.

Threaten: Do you want to loose your recess?

Threaten: If I have to tell you once more...

Punish: Go to the office.

Exasperate: I can't believe you are acting this way.

Punish: You just lost your privileges.

Punish: Move your seat right now.

Punish: Detention for you.

Defeat: Put your heads down on your desks.

Direct: Stop that.

Behavioural observation:

  • You're falling asleep.
  • You seem confident.
  • Your showing others how to behave.
  • Good teamwork.
  • You're being friendly.
  • (Smile)
  • I trust you to behave.
  • (sigh and walk away)
  • I can't tell you anything.
  • I don't get you.
  • Hmmmm.
  • (look away)
  • You're asking for it.
  • You're being a pain.
  • I can't turn my back on you.
  • Every one else is behaving well.

Behavioural Inquiry:

  • Are you doing what I asked?
  • Can you do like I do?
  • Do I need to show you?
  • Want to work in teams?
  • How are you doing?
  • Are you Ok with this activity?
  • Would you like a break?
  • What do you want to do?
  • What can I do for you?
  • Are you sure you heard what I said?
  • What do I have to do?
  • What is it with you today?
  • What are you doing?
  • Do you know the rules?
  • Can I turn my back on you?
  • Can you act like good students?

Academic Assertion:

  • Evaluate the question first
  • You can understand this.
  • Look at this example.
  • Let's think about what we did.
  • Your restatement was clear.
  • Great! I could not have explained it any better.
  • Your idea seems valid.
  • I never would have thought of that.
  • Tell me what you need to get started.
  • Maybe I should go over it again.
  • I can't give you that information.
  • That report can't be your best.
  • Stop it right now.
  • You need to recall those details.
  • I don't think you get it.
  • Pill out your rubric/criteria sheet.

Academic Observation:

  • Your evaluation works.
  • You have a good understanding.
  • (thumbs up)
  • Others are being influenced by you.
  • (smile)
  • I see how thorough your work is.
  • Your ideas are to the point.
  • I notice you wait to contribute.
  • I see you are agreeing with everything.
  • I think you're on track.
  • I haven't seen or heard from you yet.
  • It is obvious you cannot follow directions.
  • (sarcastically) Don't you think you're smart!
  • You're putting people off.
  • You're acting like you don't trust me.
  • You're racing ahead.

Academic Inquiry:

  • Could you please try it my way?
  • Do you need my help?
  • Can you demonstrate what you know?
  • Can you explain this to your neighbour?
  • Can you restate your idea?
  • Can you tell me more, please?
  • Can you describe your thinking for me?
  • What are your thoughts?
  • Should I repeat the question?
  • Should I go over it again?
  • Do you need more details?
  • Is this the best you can do?
  • Where is your brain today?
  • Can't you recall anything?
  • Can you handle this material?
  • Are you trying as hard as you can?

Week 1 Introduction to simSchool

This week you will learn how to use the simSchool simulation tools to simulate lesson plans.

Week 2 Content

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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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.

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11 Assessment

Teaching Simulation Research

Dr Zagami is conducting research into the use of computer simulations to support initial teacher education (ITE) students learn how to develop lesson plans. You may volunteer to share your simulation data for use in this research and complete a very short pre-course and post-course survey on what you think about using computer simulations to help you learn.

To participate you can complete the pre-course survey and acknowledge you agree to be included in the research. At the end of the course you will be reminded by email to complete a similar post-course survey.

Informed Consent

Please complete the pre-course and informed consent survey to participate.

Informed Consent - Lesson Simulation

The post-course survey will be available from week 10