Dr. Dale Cox is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Utah Valley University. Located in Orem, Utah, Utah Valley University is the largest public university in the state. Its Educational Leadership program, which Dr. Cox has been leading since 2019, focuses on using a hands-on approach built alongside Competency Standards.
Before discovering SchoolSims Simulations, Dr. Cox spent much time writing his own case studies for his classes. These case studies consisted of “what-if” scenarios, just like simulations, but were a very static form of learning. There was a lack of engagement, and the outcome was not as effective as he had hoped.
Dr. Cox discovered SchoolSims when meeting with the Utah State Department of Education. This experiential learning tool emulates real-world scenarios for current and aspiring school leaders, allowing participants to decide on a course of action, implement it, and experience its consequences, all within the same exercise. When he saw the opportunity for deep, robust conversations amongst his students, all for the price of a textbook, Dr. Cox knew simulations were something he would be implementing within his curriculum.
Dr. Cox found that he measured the effectiveness of the simulations in his classroom by having group discussions and writing reflection papers after completing a simulation. “When conversations start happening within the classroom, that is how I know my students are obtaining and understanding the situations.” The students would walk away from the class having a different perspective and forward-thinking more as a leader than a student.
Utah Valley University takes a more hands-on approach to learning in its Education Leadership Programs. They have found simulations to be the perfect fit for the school and Dr. Dale Cox’s courses. The simulations have promoted deep and robust discussion within the classroom and outside of the classroom. Engaging students in hands-on experiences and reflection can better connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Simulations have become an experiential learning tool for Utah Valley University that they simply cannot put down. It has been the core of their courses and has given students real-world experiences inside the classroom.