GSE Faculty Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

September 2005


This paper reports on teachers’ perceptions of the educational affordances of a handheld application called Participatory Simulations. It presents evidence from five cases representing each of the populations who work with these computational tools. Evidence across multiple data sources yield similar results to previous research evaluations of handheld activities with respect to enhancing motivation, engagement and self-directed learning. Three additional themes are discussed that provide insight into understanding curricular applicability of Participatory Simulations that suggest a new take on ubiquitous and accessible mobile computing. These themes generally point to the multiple layers of social and cognitive flexibility intrinsic to their design: ease of adaptation to subject-matter content knowledge and curricular integration; facility in attending to teacher-individualized goals; and encouraging the adoption of learner-centered strategies.


Postprint version. Published in Journal of Science Education and Technology, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2005, pages 285-297.

NOTE: At the time of publication, author Susan Yoon was affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, March 2007, she is a faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.


simulations, handhelds, complex systems



Date Posted: 06 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.