simSchool is a classroom simulation 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. In simSchool, developed by David Gibson, a Vermont entrepreneur, prospective teachers are given profiles of students or can make up their own. Characteristics include expected academic performance, openness to learning and emotional stability. They can also factor in whether students have difficulty seeing, hearing or moving their bodies. Teachers choose from a number of lessons and then see how students respond. They can also interact with students in several ways. If they want to go over last week’s lesson, some students will ask to go to the bathroom. Some will do homework from another class. Some will ask their neighbor whether they’re in a remedial class. The program ends with a graph that follows the effectiveness of the assignment and the teacher’s comments with each student. Prospective teachers usually start off with no more than five students, but they can teach up to 18. The program gives no grades.
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