Student success remains a top priority for educators in colleges and universities. As educators strive to create more supportive and successful learning environments, they must adapt to changing technology and the latest educational tools while continuing to invest in themselves and their professional development to serve their students better.
“Research has shown classrooms and teaching faculty provide the most direct organizational influences on student success. This includes how educators are integrating technology into the classroom, frequent contact with faculty, emphasis on the first-year experience, and the development of connections between classroom work and learning opportunities outside the classroom” (Hearn).
In this blog, we will explore how these factors for student success can be implemented in the classroom. Additionally, we will delve into the innovative use of simulations in educational leadership, teacher-candidate, and counselor-candidate courses to further enhance the learning experience for both educators and students.
The integration of technology into education has become more crucial than ever. “Using technology during whole-class instruction can foster student engagement for auditory and visual learners. Integrating simple technologies, PowerPoints, games, internet homework assignments, or online grading systems can be difference makers in students’ growth in the classroom” (“How to Integrate Technology in the Classroom – School of Education”).
Other technologies include learning management systems (LMS), digital content creation tools, and adaptive learning platforms that personalize the learning experience to cater to individual student needs. Simulations are an excellent investment in education, as they enhance the learning process and provide students with immersive, interactive experiences that bridge the gap between theory and practice, making education more engaging and impactful.
Effective communication is the backbone of any successful educational institution. Educators should invest in improving their communication skills and leverage technology to centralize communication channels. Email, instant messaging, and online forums can streamline communication between educators, students, and parents, ensuring everyone remains informed and engaged. Simulations also serve as a centralizing force in education by providing a common platform for collaborative learning, enabling students and educators to interact, share ideas, and engage in meaningful discussions, further enhancing the communication and learning experience.
The first year of a student’s educational journey can set the tone for their academic career. Educators can invest in creating a robust first-year experience by “creating a student-centered, success-oriented culture.” This includes providing comprehensive orientation programs, mentoring and advising the development of learning communities and living-learning centers, and academic support services. A positive initial experience fosters a sense of belonging and sets students on a path to success. Simulations can also play a pivotal role in creating a robust first-year experience by immersing students in realistic scenarios that introduce them to the academic environment, helping them build confidence, competence, and a sense of belonging from the outset.
Preparing students for the future workforce is a vital aspect of education. Educators should invest in enhancing their curriculum to include career readiness programs that teach students essential skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability. Additionally, partnerships with local businesses can provide students with internships and real-world experience. Simulations play a crucial role in career readiness by allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, helping them develop hands-on skills and a deeper understanding of their chosen fields.
Education is not just about academic achievement but also personal growth and development. “Research suggests that educators who receive substantial, high-quality professional development can boost their students’ achievement by roughly 21 percentage points” (Kwang et al.).
Educators can invest in themselves and their students by incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) into their teaching practices. SEL helps students develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal skills, which are essential for success in school and life. Simulations are powerful tools in the classroom that enhance academic achievement and stimulate personal growth and development, fostering a holistic learning experience for students.
Simulation-based experiential learning has emerged as a powerful educational tool, providing students with immersive, hands-on learning experiences that prepare them for the challenges of the job by placing them in real-world scenarios. These simulations can be particularly beneficial in educational leadership, teacher candidate, and counselor candidate courses:
SchoolSims provides immersive, interactive scenarios that replicate real-world academic challenges. Educators and students can use these simulations to develop problem-solving skills, practice decision-making, and enhance their understanding of complex educational scenarios.
Educators must continuously adapt to the evolving educational landscape to achieve student success. Educators can better support their students’ academic and personal growth by investing in technology, centralizing communication, creating intense first-year experiences, developing career readiness, and stimulating personal growth. Additionally, integrating simulations in educational courses, such as those offered by SchoolSims, can provide valuable experiential learning opportunities that prepare educators and students alike for the challenges they may encounter in their educational journeys. As the academic field continues to evolve, staying informed and embracing these trends will be essential for educators committed to student success.
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Hearn, James. Student Success: What Research Suggests for Policy and Practice. 2006.
“How to Integrate Technology in the Classroom – School of Education.” School of Education, 2021, drexel.edu/soe/resources/student-teaching/advice/how-to-use-technology-in-the-classroom/#:~:text=The%20use%20of%20technology%20during,students’%20growth%20in%20the%20classroom. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
Kwang, Suk, et al. Reviewing the Evidence on How Teacher Professional Development Affects Student Achievement. 2007.