Students experience business operation with computers’ help

Students experience business operation with computers' help Vermillion and Wakonda school district students are learning about day-to-day business and industry operations by using computer software for simulations.

"Working in small, collaborative groups, students assume the roles of key employees in various companies," said Ryan Phillips, project manager of the Classroom, Inc. program across South Dakota. Currently, 196 teachers in 92 school districts have their students participating.

Student face daily assignments and challenges of real-world workers. Eleven different simulations dramatize operations in diverse industries, including banking and economics, community development, environment, health and health care, hospitality, information technology, publishing, and sports media.

"The simulations are designed to improve students' basic skills in such areas as math, language arts, and science, problem-solving, decision-making abilities, and sense of ethical responsibility � all crucial for meaningful success at work," Phillips said.

Sioux Falls School District first used the simulations in 1997, thanks to support provided by Citigroup. Given the priority of technology integration in South Dakota schools, the South Dakota Community Foundation funded a statewide expansion in 1999.

Technology and Innovations in Education (TIE), based in Rapid City, coordinates the statewide program. The simulations were originally developed for New York schools and are widely used there, as well as in Texas and West Virginia.

Dr. Jim Parry, director of TIE, is impressed not only by how the project helps students learn about the workplace, but how it brings people together. "Teachers are working with students, teachers are working with other teachers, and students are working with other students � creating a diverse community of learners, focused on building basic skills essential for success in today's world," he said.

TIE anticipates statewide project expansion, and has funding to support teacher training and to provide a free simulation for participating school districts.

More information is available from Phillips at 605-394-1876 or rphillips@tie.net

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