Simulations continue to be a growing part of public education. Immersive Education created a platform for students to understand science concepts through simulations and gamifications.
Throughout the simulations, students are collecting data on different variables in the story. For example, in the Weather component, students gather data on wind direction, temperature, and precipitation. The Basketball component allows students to look at gas laws in a new format and students collect data on the variables impacting the gas in a basketball. Through simulations students are learning about key science components trying on different tools and resources.
While I appreciate these immersive simulations for students to build their understanding of concepts, I have a few concerns and questions. My biggest concern is the type of data that teachers receive. Do teachers get to see where students are struggling throughout the simulation to be able to provide support and differentiate the content to meet the needs of their 21st century learners? If teachers are able to see how individual students are doing, this would open up opportunities for discussions, articles, and additional supports.
I also question whether or not the students can get it “wrong.” not that I believe that students should always be put in situations where they are either right or wrong, but it is important for students to learn to fail forward. If the simulation is set up to always guide students to one set outcome, then I question whether or not the students are going to retain the knowledge for the immersive simulation.
Overall, simulations are a great way to engage students in concepts and build on students understanding of new ideas while trying on skills that the student has already learned. Unfortunately, most simulations are not set up to include the teacher and typically immersive simulations lead students to a set outcome. If we can find ways to create and share out simulations that open up the door to inquiry, failing forward, and formative assessments we will be able to take simulations to the next level in our classrooms.