Wednesday, March 28, 2018

How Teachers Customize simCEO

One of the great benefits of simCEO is that it empowers instructors to easily customize the experience, crafting it to meet specific outcomes and/or student needs.

We love the creative ways that instructors shape simCEO to focus on specific subjects. While simCEO already includes links to national standards in Entrepreneurship, Economics, and Personal Finance, it can be customized even further in these areas or other subjects.

We share a few examples below. We encourage instructors to send us ideas so we can share them. The more we share, the more examples we give to new simCEO instructors to give them the spark to see how they can best reach their students.

If we publish your ideas, you will earn a free simulation.

Take a look at our initial list below in the following subjects. More will follow!

  Ideas to integrate STEM/STEAM

  Ideas to integrate Economics 



Friday, February 9, 2018

What Do We Ask Students To Do With Content?


We are striving to get students to move beyond content recall. We know it's not the goal. More specifically, we're striving to re-invent schools and educational experiences so that our units aim for skills and conceptual understandings that will help students be successful in the future.

Unfortu
nately, most of our learning experiences are still rooted in a traditional model.

We ask students to reproducers of content instead of producers with content.


What types of learning environments allow for this? What would need to change?

In recent years, the increased use of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and authentic assessment techniques such as GRASPS, have helped change this model. But one area where we seem to have missed the mark is in Games-Based Learning (GBL) or gamifying the classroom.  Games-Based Learning and gamification are certainly different. Steven Isaacs (@mr_isaacs) does a good job of describing the difference. But for the sake of this post, they are going to be treated the same.

This is because many (but certainly not all) of these efforts are focused on making learning more engaging - but unfortunately, the learning goal is still largely focused on content recall. Certainly, the GBL world is closer to making a meaningful shift

If our GBL environments continue to focus on the following, we're making progress.


  • quests within a recall environment
  • decision making within a (academic?) context
  • critical thinking and problem solving
To take the next steps, we need more environments where students go beyond choices and decisions based on understanding the content. We need environments where they demonstrate their understanding of the content by producing solutions with that content. They need a context of creation that is authentic. They need to think and act like scientists, historians, and journalists.  We need to create these environments.

That can happen in biology, history, music, art... just about anywhere, including economics and business classes which how we apply this concept with simCEO.

As business and economic simulations go, we can start by sharing the required content and then present a scenario to students and ask them to identify the "correct" choice.

But, more meaningfully, we can put students in an environment like simCEO where we ask them to utilize the required content to create and manage a company within an authentic context. You might understand and recognize supply & demand, tariffs, or marketing techniques in theory, but how will you change your business plan within the simulation because these elements are introduced into your simulation.

And here's where the power of games has great potential: The introduction of that content should produce different responses, solutions, and creations for each student. Introducing a tariff into an environment does not have the same result for every company. Students learn different perspectives and different solutions from one another.

That's the real world. It's contextual. It's applied. 

PBL advocates have known this for a long time and we need our GBL environments to move in this direction.

We need students who can demonstrate content understanding by applying that content successfully within a variety of contexts.   And, we need more learning environments that foster this goal as well.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Learn More: 1:1 Consultation or Join a Teacher Webinar


Join a simCEO Webinar and Teacher Q&A. Or, set up a 1:1 discussion with a simCEO team representative.


Schedule a 1:1 Consultation

Or, set up a time for a personal 15 minute consultation with one a team member.
Weekdays: Reserve a spot on Calendar #1
Evenings & Saturdays: Reserve a spot on  Calendar #2


Each webinar we'll also feature a particular topic. Stay current with each week's session by following us on Twitter @simCEO  

Our Webinars

We'll review the basic set up steps and possibilities for getting you started. Additionally, we want to hear from you! 

Share your questions, get feedback from our staff, and listen to ideas from other instructors.


Here's a look at our upcoming webinars. But to join, you have to reserve a space.
  • Wednesdays 9:00 am EST  
  • Thursdays 4:00 pm EST     
  • Fridays 9:00 pm EST         
  • Saturdays 10:00 am EST   
Reserve a space for a webinar here  (Limit of 10 participants.)


TOPICS INCLUDE:
  • Customizing what you want from students: Tips to help students create business plans that address your content.
  • How instructors define the sim environment (time/place) to give students context
  • How instructors use simCEO with student teams/groups
  • Making simCEO cross-disciplinary: Ideas from instructors for Math, Science, History, Writing, and Arts integration
  • Assessing student understanding/actions by using News Articles
  • Students as creators and simultaneous evaluators of quality: How can you assess both in simCEO?
  • Why (and how) should instructors choose to influence student share prices?

====================================================

HOW TO JOIN A WEBINAR (after signing up via the link above)


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/6641013445

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +16465588656,6641013445# or +14086380968,6641013445#

Or Telephone:
    Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)
    Meeting ID: 664 101 3445
    International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=thBVfecFgFr3fjuPVJcPrCRQ70w1c3d4

=======================================================
LEARN MORE ABOUT SIMCEO
Visit www.simceo.org
Learn more about how we hope to change learning.
Check out our Getting Started resources.
Interested in joining a pilot program?  Help us research the learning effectiveness of simCEO, and get cool stuff!
Follow us on Twitter @simCEO and join our Facebook Group

Measuring The Effects of Entrepreneurship Education: Learn about our 5:5:5 Program

Studies have shown the positive effect that entrepreneurship brings to students in areas such as GPA , inspiration and attitudes for university students.  We are on the lookout to measure these attitudes in K-12 students!

Entrepreneurship empowers students, giving them the problem-solving skills to succeed now and in the future.

Additionally, we believe the innovative learning model of simCEO - where students create their own business, and manage it within a dynamic environment - provides a unique opportunity to engage students in real-world learning.  Instructors integrate the classroom content directly into the simulation, giving students and authentic environment to apply their understanding.

As a tool for entrepreneurship and an innovative tool for innovative, 21st Century learning, both provide fertile ground to study the effects simCEO has on students.

We're seeking school partners for our 5-5-5 Program starting in the 2018-19 school year.

  • 5 school districts (a minimum of 250 student-users per year)
  • 5 years of free access to simCEO
  • 5 years of longitudinal studies of (anonymous) student attitudes via simple survey
Interested school districts can contact info@simceo.org for more information.



Sunday, January 21, 2018

Seeking Partners, but here's why to hesitate. Reason #4

In earlier posts, we shared  elements of simCEO that make it a valuable (and much-needed) way for students to learn in the 21st Century.


1) Students who move beyond recall and produce solutions with content.
2) Social Learning: Learning from and with one another.
3) Contextual Learning: Authentic roles & goals


The list above represents a change to what students experience in schools. But like any change, it does not come easily. These are challenges we have to overcome; we want to be up front with those challenges.


Do we have tested solutions to overcome all of these challenges? No.  But we believe deeply they can be solved, and they need to be solved.


That's why we are looking for partners who can help us overcome these challenges. But we want to attract the right kind of partner. With that in mind, we have come to the last in our 4-Part series we call:
The list of reasons you shouldn’t partner with us.
Reason #4: Can we utilize the cloud to allow instructors to share curated customized resources for the simulation with other instructors?



SimCEO represents an open-ended learning environment. The simulation naturally focuses on entrepreneurial and financial literacy concepts. However, because of its open-ended nature, content from different disciplines and ability levels can be easily integrated into the simulation by the instructor to target student needs.  For example:
  • University marketing professors can push in specific marketing concepts or tasks directly into the elements they wish to see in the students’ business plans. Or, they can share news articles to highlight changes in marketing trends to determine how CEOs will alter their business plan (or their investment philosophy) as they adjust to these articles.
  • ·7th Grade History teachers may wish to emphasize mission statements and demographics within a unit on the American Revolution set in Boston in 1770. Students can first address these business aspects within their business plan as they learn about the demographics  and historical events in Boston in 1770.  New articles can target specific events (real or fictional) to see how students will adjust their strategy within simCEO.

Within both of these examples and countless others, the open-ended nature allows the simulation to be customized to an instructor’s desired preference. By giving instructors a platform to customize, we want to harness those ideas into a searchable directory for use by other instructors.
A model such as this is also new and only possible when the simulation is open-ended and where content can be implemented by the instructor  in an authentic context. This is similar to what is happening with Minecraft.edu . We believe simCEO has similar potential.

But this is a change from the status quo of a traditional online learning resource. It requires that our future partners see us through the same lens that we see ourselves.

Although simCEO addresses and assesses content, we do not see ourselves as content providers; we see ourselves as context providers, engaging students to apply content in a real-world environment that can be customized by instructors to target specific learning goals.

Within that context, the cloud will be a powerful way to showcase the creative solutions that instructors around the world have.  With the addition of each curated resource, we increase the tools available to future educators.

This is a big and bold goal. It’s a pathway to opening up a far more effective learning tool than we could do in isolation; implementing this effectively requires an expertise we currently do not possess. It’s where we wish to go, and it’s a challenge we hope our future partners will embrace and provide guidance.




Saturday, November 4, 2017

Can open-ended online simulations be customized for content?

Earlier, we shared  elements of simCEO that make it a unique way that technology can change learning. Namely it provides:

1) Students who move beyond recall and produce solutions with content.
2) Social Learning: Learning from and with one another.
3) Contextual Learning: Authentic roles & goals

These are transformational goals and they do not come easily. There are challenges, and we want to be up front with those challenges. Do we have tested solutions to overcome all of these challenges? Not yet .  

That's why we are looking for partners who can help us overcome these challenges. We believe deeply they can be solved, and they need to be solved. But we want to attract the right kind of partner. With that in mind, we have come to Part 3 of our 4-Part series we call:

The list of reasons you should be hesitant partner with us.

Can we deliver an open-ended experience that allows instructors to easily customize it to meet student needs?  


Most simulations (and online learning resources in general) are intended as plug-n-play experiences. They are created by experts with pre-defined educational outcomes. The educator is the user, but in most cases has minimal ability to adapt or tailor the learning experience to match his students’ needs.  Open-ended simulations offer both a challenge and an opportunity.

While simCEO can be played as a plug-n-play experience, the power of simCEO comes alive as instructors customize the experience by integrating it with their current units of study focusing on students’ application (not recall) of specific concepts and skills. Instructors can customize the content and complexity to target student interests and learning goals  by selecting or creating customized business plan elements, adding news articles/resources to define a context, and, if desired, influence share prices based on students’ (in)actions. This creates a new model of learning for instructors – one that excites early adopters but increases barriers of implementation for instructors expecting an experience that does not solicit instructor-influence.

  • Do instructors want (or expect) the ability to customize their online learning tools?
  • Can the user-experience around this new model of learning be more effectively structured to ease adoption in the classroom?  
  • Can we provide instructors the support to easily customize online, open-ended learning experiences in a way target student needs?


This is certainly a challenge. We seek partners who can assist us in developing an effective model to encourage and easily allow instructors to shape the learning experiences they give to their students.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Seeking Partners, but here's why to hesitate: Reason 2

In earlier posts, we shared  elements of simCEO that make it a valuable (and much-needed) way for students to learn in the 21st Century.

1) Students who move beyond recall and produce solutions with content.
2) Social Learning: Learning from and with one another.
3) Contextual Learning: Authentic roles & goals

The list above represents a change to what students experience in schools. But like any change, it does not come easily. These are challenges we have to overcome; we want to be up front with those challenges.

Do we have tested solutions to overcome all of these challenges? No.  But we believe deeply they can be solved, and they need to be solved.

That's why we are looking for partners who can help us overcome these challenges. But we want to attract the right kind of partner. With that in mind, we have come to Part 2 of our 4-Part series we call:
The list of reasons you shouldn’t partner with us.

Reason #2 Can we really assess content learning in an open-ended environment?
Schools naturally want to measure learning results for the resources they utilize.  Rote learning results are easily quantifiable. Yet, schools continue to strive (and struggle) to utilize and evaluate student learning from resources focused on 21st Century skills, the four Cs: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking.
In short, all that can be assessed may not be important. And all that is important may not be easily assessed. 
Education wants to implement 21st Century resources, but this is an uphill battle. 21st Century resources like Minecraft are incredibly popular with students and focus on 21st century skills (and are showing greater implementation in classrooms!)  - but they still struggle in their ability to become adopted by mainstream classroom teachers as these educators weigh the ‘measurable’ learning gains (aka “recall”) versus the time needed for students to play (and teachers to initially understand).
We believe that the right kind of open-ended simulations can deliver 21st Century learning gains and provide a more effective / authentic environment for students to learn traditional (measured) content.  We believe we have a framework to do this.
But admittedly, this is a perspective that is currently in the minority.  We are looking for partners who embrace this challenge and can help us envision solutions.