Ferry, Brian; Kervin, Lisa; Puglisi, Sarah; Cambourne, Brian L.; Turbill, Jan B.; Jonassen, David; and Hedberg, John, 2006, Online Classroom Simulation: using a virtual classroom to support preservice teacher thinking, in A. J. Herrington & J. A. Herrington (eds.), Authentic Learning Environments in Higher Education, Hershey, USA: Information Science Publishing, 135-161.
Research consistently shows that traditional preservice teacher preparation programs are not adequately preparing beginning teachers for the reality of classrooms. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the development and implementation of an online classroom simulation designed to develop pre-service teachers' decision-making skills within the context of young children's literacy education. The classroom simulation allows the user to take on the role of the teacher of a virtual kindergarten classroom (ages five to six years). During the simulation the user makes decisions about the organisation of teaching and learning experiences, classroom management, and responses to individual students. The user is able to monitor and track the progress of three targeted students throughout the course of the simulation. An embedded tool, what we refer to as the "thinking space, " has been developed to enable the user to plan and justify new decisions and reflect upon the consequences of previous decisions.