On initial investigation, I have found two sources of simulation software:
The first is free to download and is from Marmara University in Turkey. It is very basic and but allows you to build up circuits using components from a library. Once your circuit is built you can run it and view its operation. This simulator only covers single line diagrams (shown below) which is great for theoretical understanding of wiring diagrams but is quite limited in its overall ability.
The second, is expensive and issued by licence, does have some basic free demo versions available downloadable from a United States company called Business Industrial Network. The screenshot below shows one of these demos, it incorporates a functioning graphical representation of how a typical electrical installation would look. It allows you to isolate, test and replace components until a fault is fixed. Time and components come at a virtual cost so correct fault finding techniques are important. This simulator only allows safe working techniques to be employed and stops you and prompts you if an unsafe act it about to take place. This simulator also gives some training information and screens showing wiring diagrams which can be compared to actual wiring (shown below).
This is just a couple examples which will be available and the exact area of simulation and products would need further research.
This second type of simulation could be used for formative assessment in the fact it gives a realistic time and cost result for the students work, as well as a breakdown of how many attempts they used and when trying for a second time, can compare their results to their first attempt. This could be used in group work where students can compete for the best results or work together to beat another group. This would encourage good work behaviour and ethics.
Based on GCTLT class discussion and my own research, I believe using Play OP as the platform for video resources would be best. I investigated the use of You Tube, and that would work quite well, my thoughts would be that students are more likely be distracted by other You Tube videos and links rather than sticking to the topics concerned. It is easy enough to link You Tube clips into Moodle if an external video is required, but I think by using the OP platform with reduce temptation to spend time looking up unrelated videos.
By incorporating these ideas I am hoping to increase the following four areas of flexibility:
- Delivery and Logistics
- Instructional Approaches and Resources.
By making a bulk of information and resources online, allows students so much more flexibility. This allows students to work through their own studies when they like, where the like and by picking out the resources that best suit their learning, they can learn in a manner they like.
The only real area of flexibility that cannot be enhanced is the entry level, unless we can include some bridging learning for prospective students to help build up skills or show competence in areas that they have no formal proof of knowledge.
SUPPORTING RESOURCES & REFERENCES
I failed to include in my previous post some resources that back up my thoughts around simulation being helpful to the teaching of skills to students.
I was provided with a link to Gokhale (1996), an article titled ‘Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking’. This article contained two paragraphs that I found particularly interesting.
The first paragraph of interest being: “A primary objective of today’s teachers is to prepare students for the world of tomorrow. Pogrow (1994) indicated that if students are to be competitive in the years to come, faculty need to provide their students with the cognitive strategies that will enable them to think critically, making decisions, and solve problems.”
I believe, and also the belief of industry from their feedback, that this is very important for our graduates to function in the workplace, this is linking back to the basic idea of teaching students to learn rather than limiting their knowledge by only teaching them what we as teachers know. I heard once there is no reason why your children shouldn’t be smarter than you, and I agree, we should want them to be smarter than us. This is the same in teaching, and I have had this discussion with other teachers and also people I work with in the Navy. The idea is with both parenting and teaching new people in the workforce is that what we know as parents (we being our children’s first teachers) and leaders in our industries, that our knowledge now should be a given, we have learnt from mistakes and found the right way to get things done and by guiding them and showing them better ways of achieving and learning then they can carry on from where we are and build on this. The problems our learners face should be new to us, they should be thinking wider and further ahead than what we have so will encounter different problems to solve. This is why we need to teach them how to think, not what to think.
The second paragraph I found interesting, leading on from my previous statements but with the computer simulators in mind was: “In contrast to unguided exploratory activities, guided discovery has been found to be an effective learning method (Veenman, Elshout, & Busato, 1994). This method stimulates group interaction and is challenging enough to force students to use resources beyond what are available in the classroom. Menn (1993) evaluated the impact of different instructional media on student retention of subject matter. It was found that students remember only 10% of what they read; 20% of what they hear; 30%, if they see visuals related to what they are hearing; 50%, if they watch someone do something while explaining it; but almost 90%, if they do the job themselves even if only as a simulation. In other words, guided discovery through labs and computer simulations that are properly designed and implemented could revolutionize education.”
Gokhale, A.A. (1996, Summer). Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education. Volume 33, Number 4.
Third party authors:
Menn, D. (1993, October). Multimedia in Education. PC World, M52-M60.
Pogrow, S. (1994). Students who just don’t understand. Educational Leadership, 52(3), 62-66.
Veenman, M.V.,Elshout, J.,& Busato, V.(1994). Metacognitive mediation in learning with computer-based simulations. Computers in Human Behaviour, 10(1),93-106.