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Peer Review

Teaching with Simulations: Pedagogy in Action by SERC

by Betty Belcha


Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 11, 2011 by Teacher Education
Overview: From the website: “Instructional simulations have the potential to engage students in "deep learning" that empowers understanding as opposed to "surface learning" that requires only memorization.” The subject site uses pedagogical principles to illustrate the power of simulations to teachers. Bloom’s Taxonomy is apparent in the subject site’s descriptions of objectives.
Learning Goals: The subject site demonstrates the advantages of using simulations from the standpoint of the educator/course designer. From the website: • the importance of model building. • the relationships among variables in a model or models. • data issues, probability and sampling theory. • how to use a model to predict outcomes. And: • actively engaging in student-student or instructor-student conversations needed to conduct a simulation. • tranfering knowledge to new problems and situations. • understanding and refining their own though processes. • seeing social processes and social interactions in action.
Target Student Population: This material can be used by educators and teacher candidates.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some knowledge of teaching pedagogy is useful.
Type of Material: Collection
Recommended Uses: This information could be used by instructors to convert traditional lectures to a more interactive format.
Technical Requirements: Modern hardware and software; broadband access to the Internet; Flash; multimedia player.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Very detailed explanations of pedagogical foundations for using simulations. Case studies can be converted to simulations. Good links to pages containing references, related subjects.
Concerns: All of the examples relate to economics

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Teachers who use this material should have a better understanding of the difference between the traditional "passive" style of teaching/learning and the simulation interactive style of teaching/learning.
Concerns: Some teachers may find it difficult to use this material to develop content specific to their discipline because all of the examples relate to economics.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very efficient and easy-to-use website illustrating best practices for simulations. The site under review is a small portion of a larger whole that deals with a variety of other teacher tools and concepts.
Concerns: none

Other Issues and Comments: The subject site is quite well designed. The advantages of using simulations are evident.