Models and Simulations in the Classroom – FETC 2010
I have a confession to make in this blog post…
I often hear technology coordinators tell me “Lisa, my biggest problem with getting teachers to embrace technology in their classroom is their fear of the unknown.”
Here at SimpleK12, it’s our livelihood to help teachers overcome fears of new technologies and learn how to use these technologies in their classroom (ala our “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” online learning series).
My confession is this: I have a fear myself -models and simulations.
Or it was, until I went to the FETC presentation “Using Modeling and Simulation Tools to Teach Math and Science” by Mark Clemente.
Using modeling and simulation is included in one of ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Students…and is an area I often hear questions about. Most often, I must confess, I pass the questions off to colleagues, rather than learning about the topics myself (sound familiar?).
Mark’s session was very informative and his passion for modeling and simulation was apparent to all in attendance.
So if you’re interested in using modeling and simulation, but like me, are a bit scared of the unknown, where do you start?
Try Mark’s LiveBinder where everything he discussed in his presentation is available. It’s basically the Holy Grail for models and simulations.
During FETC Mark discussed three types of models/ simulations (physical, process, and mathematical) and then shared free resources and websites for teachers to use – many of which have hundreds of models/simulations already built and ready to use in the classroom!
You can find all of these in his LiveBinder – but here’s a recap:
Stella – “Thousands of educators and researchers are using STELLA modeling and simulation software to study everything from economics to physics, literature to calculus, chemistry to public policy.” There are tons of pre-built models and simulations (aka little to no work for you!!) to use in your class, and it even has a Sample Lessons area.
Excelets – “Excelets are interactive Excel spreadsheets or simulations of mathematical models. The user changes a variable and the spreadsheet changes in numerical, graphical, and/or even symbolic form (equations).” Again, a very easy plug-and-play way to use simulations!
Scratch – “Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.” Hey…it’s from MIT – what more can I say?
I haven’t used any of these personally…so would love to hear some real-world feedback of the above mentioned tools in the comment area to help others out. Which have you used? Are there any to add to the list? Problems you’ve encountered? Best practices?