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Advancing teaching and learning

Address the use of computer-based simulations and virtual environments as a means of advancing teaching and learning.

Illustrative examples of 3-5 computer simulations or virtual environments used in a particular classroom setting to advance teaching and learning.
Research and Standards-based rationale supporting the integration of such technologies to advance teaching and learning in general, and for each specific activity (above).
Strategies for evaluating the success of each integration activity.

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First, when addressing the use of computer-based simulations and virtual environments as a means of advancing teaching and learning, the intrinsic motivation is high, especially since this current generation of students has grown up from an early age with computers, animations, computer games, simulations and graphics. They can enhance learning because they significantly activate the learner's senses and differentiate the teaching content, especially visual and tactile. They further encourage active, inquiry-based learning, which allows teachers to be highly student-centered in their lessons and approaches.

Next, when offering illustrative examples of 3-5 computer simulations or virtual environments used in a particular classroom setting to advance teaching and learning, one source summarizes how geographical skills can be taught using virtual environments:

Lingwood, J., Blades, M., Farran, E. K., Courbois, Y., & Matthews, D. (2015). Encouraging 5-year olds to attend to landmarks: a way to improve children's wayfinding strategies in a virtual environment. Frontiers In Psychology, 61-9.

The authors indicate that students can be taught route learning skills and wayfinding abilities via a six turn maze in a virtual environment . The simulation worked by "A unique landmark was positioned at each junction and each junction was made up of two paths: a correct path and an incorrect path. Two different strategies improved route learning performance" (61).

Next, ESL/ELL students can vastly improve not only their English language skills through virtual reality environments but also their social and emotional skills such as confidence and reduced anxiety, as one article suggests:

Qu, C., Ling, Y., Heynderickx, I., & Brinkman, W. (2015). Virtual Bystanders in a Language Lesson: Examining the Effect of Social Evaluation, ...

Solution Summary

Research reviews are briefly offered to validate how computer-based simulations and virtual environments can be employed as a means of advancing teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms.

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