With example illustrate advantages of the use of simulation as compared with real equipment.
A simulation is powerful technique that imitates or replicates some aspect of the world. Students are not only motivated by simulations but also learn by interacting with them in a manner similar to the way they react in real situations.
The use of simulation in education does make a difference. Wenglinsky (1999) found that classroom simulation use was associated with academic achievement in math and also with many types of social improvements (e.g., motivation, class at-attendance, and lowered vandalism of school property).
Simulation does illustrate several advantages of its use as compared with real equipment because;
- It is safety; all experiments can be done that would be too dangerous for most school labs,
- It is economy; it saves the cost of expensive equipment and materials, and
- It bring learning efficiency; using the simulation technology changes the learning style by making the complex subject and dry units more clear. Instructional simulations have the potential to engage students in “deep learning” that empowers understanding as opposed to “surface learning” that requires only memorization as stated by Blecha (2013); Deep learning means that students learn scientific methods for modeling, experimenting, and testing the system.
The proverb of the Chinese philosopher Xunzi “Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn” could be applied in our context by relying on instructional simulations as efficient tool for achieving successful learning and improving the critical thinking of the students.
ActivChemistry is an example of an educational simulation of a chemistry lab. It is a chemistry construction kit that provides students with equipment and materials such as Bunsen burners, chemicals, and a wide variety of meters and gauges. Using these components, students perform experiments, gather and graph data, and learn about new concepts in interactive and dynamic lessons.
Simulations are very useful typically incorporate free-play environments that provide the learner with experience in understanding how a set of conditions interact with each other.
Therefore, intensive lesson preparation by instructor for integrating the simulations in the class teaching materials as well as active participation from students is required.