One of the most difficult things about learning and education is that it’s never ‘complete’. And there’s no easy score or number, that says you’ve completed everything.
It comes down to two fundamental things that any ‘education’ or ‘learning’ experience is meant to teach you.
Equip you with things you need to know. (Information)
Give you the ability to apply what you know, when you need it. (Usability/Applicability)
Just information is inadequate because you won’t know what to do with it. Often the biggest problem about current schooling systems.
Just application ability is again inadequate because you don’t have any knowledge. This is the problem with someone showing you say, how to use spreadsheet software but no other information.
Today, most learning providers - I use this term to encompass schools, tutors, education companies, ed-tech firms - will often fall into one or the other category.
Schools and test-prep often give you information and tricks to memorize and reproduce accurately and quickly.
Ed Tech companies, coding, 21st-century learning, etc often teach you tools or give you interesting application-focussed ways of learning.
And for the most part, 1 & 2 operate in silos with a few minor overlaps that work for a few learners.
The overlap is also what gives us the feeling that we loved learning a subject, a topic, a class, an app, etc. And these were driven by people who we fondly remember or refer to as inspiring teachers.
In my quest for finding powerful learning experiences, I strongly believe that in the next 3-5 years we’ll start to see huge growth in online, browser-based multiplayer simulations that help students gather useful information and learn to apply them. And these simulations can help students think about complex systems where different actors influence and react with each other.
So you can situate students to be immersed in an environment where they can collaborate, interact, understand cause and effect, make mistakes, stumble, learn and reflect!
Here are a few that you can check out!
Lost Lots by Rustforms - Create a tiny garden ecosystem and analyze how everything interacts with each other and the environment. https://rustforms.itch.io/lostlots
Ecosystem - Balance the rabbits, wolves and control various parameters to make the ecosystem survive for longer. - https://joelq.itch.io/ecosystem
Deeeep.io - Start as marine life and eat your way up to more advanced life forms - http://deeeep.io/
Ecomod - Virtual Simulations for children to understand science and computational thinking - https://ecolearn.gse.harvard.edu/projects/ecomod
I believe that playful, simulations like this will make their mark in the near future as they will help provide students with the information they need and the skills to apply them when they’re needed.
Do you know of other interesting simulations we can share with the community? Or of resources for effective ways to facilitate these simulations?