The Development of ClassSim: a Simulated Learning Environment to Support the Practicum Experience for Pre-Service Teachers
This paper reports on an online simulation designed to support pre-service teachers' practicum experiences in the important area of literacy teaching. The purpose of the simulation was to develop pre-service teacher understanding of complex classroom situations associated with the teaching of literacy by giving them the opportunity to work within a virtual environment. Our trials of this software have revealed that it has provided pre-service teachers with time to think critically about complex teaching situations which relied on the teacher's ability to respond to children's experiences, engage with them in dialogue and negotiation as well as utilise a range of indirect instructions such as questioning, modelling and prompting. Pre-service teachers have acknowledged that their experience with the simulation helped them to make their practicum experience more focused by giving them the knowledge and experience to more fully appreciate the impact of subtle changes that experienced teachers made during lessons.