Frequently Asked Questions
What is simSchool?
SimSchool is a classroom simulator that supports the rapid accumulation of a teacher's experience in analyzing student differences, adapting instruction to individual learner needs, gathering data about the impacts of instruction, and seeing the results of their teaching.
What happens during the simulations?
By creating and playing in virtual classrooms using interactive features and game-like tools, users can explore two of the most important questions in effective instruction: How do you learn to be a teacher? How do you do the processes of planning, thinking and seeing what students are like before they enter the classroom by reading student records, understanding some things about their personalities, their capabilities and their learning styles.
Users can also experience and practice working with ethnically diverse virtual students, students with an extensive range of special needs, and students at all levels of language proficiency.
How do I get started using simSchool?
Users may register for simSchool accounts at any time for free by visiting http://simschool.org/register. Once registered, we suggest visiting the Library and browsing content provided under the Resources tab. Research articles, videos, and more will help users develop a good working knowledge of features available within the environment.
Does simSchool address ELL?
Yes. simSchool provides users with the option to adjust "language proficiency" for individual simStudents and to define the language proficiency requirement of specific tasks embedded in simulations. Our system defines this as the virtual student's ability to speak the language being spoken in the sim classroom. Additionally, when a sim is being played, users may access simStudent records and view information about the student's language capacity. A student profile might include information such as, "This student gets the gist of most conversations on topics which require no specialized knowledge. S/he can handle basic social situations including introductions and casual conversations about current events, work, family, and autobiographical information. S/he help in handling any complications or difficulties and does not have a thorough or confident control of grammar."
Download REFERENCES used in the ELL model [Gibson]
Can special needs students be modeled in simSchool?
Yes. Just as simSchool is able to model language proficiency, the system can also represent the academic capability, emotional states, and physical traits of individual simulated students. By dynamically adjusting the emotional variables openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism (see http://personalityresearch.org/bigfive.html for more information), and visual, auditory, and kinesthetic capacities, simSchool can generate nearly 1 billion different student profiles.
What age range of students are modeled?
The intelligence and emotional models that underpin simSchool are valid for approximately age five through adulthoood. The visual appearance of our sim classrooms and students, however, tends to evoke fifth grade through high school. Users will observe that ome of the cartoon images have moderately adolescent physical traits. Over time we look forward to adding classroom art and seating arrangements, among other features, that more clearly align with the needs of our users in primary education.
Does simSchool address time, pacing and sequencing?
Yes. simSchool does address pacing and sequencing through tools and options available to the user while playing simClassrooms. Each sim experience is an open-ended, dynamic experience with no pre-determined paths and no scripted scenarios. Users have complete control over what types of tasks to assign to individual students or groups, how they are sequenced, and for how long. Users may also choose to intervene at their discretion by conversing with students and differentiating tasks.
How does simSchool relate to "The Skillful Teacher" by Saphier and Gower?
We've mapped simSchool actions and outcomes to "The Skillful Teacher" (Saphier and Gower, 1997) as reference for your use. For each content area, we've list what a simSchool user can do, followed by an explanation of how simSchool works to represent that concept.
Download simSchool and Skillful Teaching [Gibson]