Simulating Students with Learning Disabilities in Virtual Classrooms: A Validation Study
Abstract: This study explores the validity of using a simulation as a tool to train future teachers to work with a student with a learning disability in an inclusion classroom. Often, it is difficult to provide experience for pre-service teachers to work with students with learning disabilities. This study seeks to determine if a simulation can accurately depict a classroom experience that a future teacher might encounter in today’s inclusion classroom. Specifically, the purpose is to validate the use of simSchool, a web-based classroom simulation program for training pre-service and in-service teachers to teach students with special needs. An actual student with a learning disability was observed in an inclusion classroom. Using those observations, a simulated version of the student was built into the simSchool program. Comparison of various attributes including behavior and personality revealed important findings concerning the ability of the simulation to accurately depict students with learning disabilities.