wiSim is an environment for distributed simulations. It allows groups of students to work and collaborate on a simulation using their mobile devices (PDAs or mobile phones).
An ordinary simulation executed on a computer is generally controlled by a single user who enters the data (inputs) and gets the results (outputs).
Instead of maintaining all in one place controls and results, wiSim spreads these elements across a group of participants. In this way users have to negotiate verbally the interaction onto the simulation, thus striving for an optimal collaborative effort of their learning experience.
Every participant can interact in wiSim using a mobile device. Initially, the user can choose a specific group to join or he/she can create his/her own for other to join. Afterwards, the group can start working on a simulation taken from a list available on the server. Subsequently, the server divides the inputs and outputs of the simulation among the group members. The following step requires the group to enter the parameters necessary to initialise the simulation, which is executed on the server. The results are then dispatched to the users’ mobile devices, allowing them to discuss the extra tweaking required to solve the assignment.
The simulation is created a priori, normally by a teacher. The author of the simulation decides the whereabouts of the interaction, namely how many participants, who is going to receive what, the working principle of the simulation and the format of the outputs.