Computer Simulations Used as Technology-Based Assessments in Schools

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Today we live in an increasingly electronic, virtual world. Educators and their students depend upon this world to conduct research, simulate reality, and demonstrate their achievement. Our students never knew their environment not to have the Internet and video games. Thus, they expect their educational experience to included these as well. Student expectations can be seized upon to engage them in formal education. Driver Education has long recognized and seized upon this opportunity. The very nature of the driving task necessitates structured learning and assessment experiences beyond the traditional classroom, such as simulations. These experiences must provide opportunity for practice and assessment without risk, a virtual driving experience, and need not be as sophisticated as the driving task itself. It is relatively easy to find support for the use of technology-based assessments in our schools. Spencer J. Salend states “Computer simulations, problem-solving software programs, and virtual learning experiences can be used to examine student responses to a range of learning situations and provide teachers with opportunities to assess academic, critical thinking, social, and metacognitive skills” (Salend, 2009). Simulation, as used in the Driver Education program at Chambersburg Senior High School, provides the instructors there with the opportunity to assess student understanding and achievement of vital goals prior to behind the wheel in instruction. Use of simulation allows actual training in the automobile to be both more effective and more efficient. Twenty-five years ago, the Driver Educators at Chambersburg were using electronic student response systems that performed the same function as modern CPS, or clic... ... middle of paper ... ... willing to evaluate new technologies, it must be done in light of a need to improve instruction and assessment. Works Cited Kirkley, S., & Kirkley, J. (2005) Creating Next Generation Blended Learning Environments Using Mixed Reality, Video Games and Simulations TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 49(3), 42-54. Retrieved from ERIC database. Salend, S. (2009) Technology-Based Classroom Assessments: Alternatives to Testing. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 41(6), 49-58. Retrieved from ERIC database. Simpson, E., & Clem, F. (2008). Video Games in the Middle School Classroom. Middle School Journal, 39(4), 4-11. Retrieved from ERIC database. Wenzinger, C. (2003). Simulation, Technology, and Driver Ed. The Chronicle of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association 51(1)

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