Researchers at the University of North Texas are studying the effectiveness of a computer simulation program, called simSchool, that is designed to prepare teachers for the modern youngster and help stem the flight of educators from the nation’s classrooms, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fewer than half of first-time teachers remain in the field for more than three years, said Tandra Tyler-Wood, associate professor of educational psychology at UNT. And the rate is even lower for special-education teachers. So UNT researchers are studying the simSchool program with a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Future teachers play what amounts to a game where they must respond to simulated classroom situations and students with a range of characteristics–and the results look promising. "I think it lets teachers see that you’re not going to be successful with all children all the time," said Tyler-Wood, who is leading the research. "You’re going to have to try different things to become a successful teacher." Research shows that prospective teachers who used simSchool rated their teaching skills 30 percent higher than those who didn’t use it. Users were also 41 percent more confident that they could teach students regardless of outside factors, such as home environment…

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