The other day I got an email from a teacher who was upset about all the talk regarding classrooms of the future and that simulations are replacing real world experiences. A case for simulations.
I am all for simulations over real world experience under these circumstances:
Student safety: take for example a chemistry experiment, allowing student to play with a virtual chemistry set before letting them loose on real chemicals makes sense to me. I'm not saying that students should never touch real chemicals, but at first they can learn in a much safer environment inside of their virtual lab.
Animal safety: I once saw a great demo on a Gizmo simulation involving genetics and mice. In the simulations you could have as many mice as you wanted reproduce -- nice. Or how about the virtual frog dissection. Frogs all over the world cheered when this simulation was announced.
Long distance field trips: don't get me wrong, I love field trips as much as the next teacher, but my class does not have the time or the money to go on long distance field trips. Which why I love virtual field trips to places like the rain forest, space station, Gettysburg, etc. Hey, if you can't them there in the real world them a simulation is a close second.
I never look at school technology as replacing something great, instead I want it to make it better.
What do you think?