An Interesting Simulation

Currently I am taking not one but two education classes at the university. One, most obviously, is education 222, but the other, not as well known is education 462 about the Arab-Israeli conflict. This course takes “simulation” to a completely different level.

Simulation, as we have spoken about in class, is video game based with an emphasis on real events. Now this is similar to what we do in EDUC 462, but with a spin on the “game” theory. This is not a traditional video game simulation as many know and play daily, but in fact it is an educational conflict simulation connecting college students to high school students.

What we do in this class is serve as a “mentor” for high school students who are assigned to a nation and, more specifically, a diplomat who they will be portraying throughout the simulation. The students begin by providing an overall statement of the goals of the nation, and our job as mentors is to provide feedback to the students, providing them with points of emphasis and places to learn.

Throughout the simulation the mentors and diplomats converse back and forth regularly while depicting actual events in a simulated world. The educational experience is unbelievable and is something that is invaluable to these students in high school who have a college student mentoring them.

I highly recommend this class to anyone who has an interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as those who are interested in how simulations are used in classroom activities.

Video games reveal kids’ core competencies

Came across this article,, and was very excited to post it here in the blog. The article basically outlines almost all of the ideas that we have been covering in class. It discusses how researchers are now proving statistically that learning, and assessing learning, through video games can make learning more enjoyable and effective for children. “Based on a student’s responses to various situations that come up during the course of playing a video game, the game itself can be programmed to assess where that student might be especially strong or weak in core competencies,” Shute, one of the main researchers said. The article contends that current assessment isn’t valid or effective and that by using games we can actually do a better job. Score one for the video gamers.

Read more: Video games reveal kid’s core competencies – The Times of India

Videogames in every aspect of life?

To be honest when I saw this video ( I thought it was hilarious that someone could take a videogame quite so literally. But it got me thinking, videogames are useful for practically EVERY type of learning, even outside the classroom.

For example when Eric Klopfer was speaking today about how mobile learning can  be applied to many aspects of biology, it got me thinking about taking these types of games outside the classroom as presented by Jerry Heneghan.

Specifically, it would be beneficial to play games similar to MarioKart (minus the shells) so that beginner students can get a taste of what it feels like to be behind the wheel and truly learn the rules of the road before hand. Would it really be so crazy to offer simulations or games for soon-to-be parents to learn how to properly take care of a new born? Or maybe even use a videogame to teach new athletes the rules and proper formations for certain sports?

With my interest in medicine, I think that the benefits found in learning through videogames may be easily applied to doctor/patient relationships. What if a patient could play a game enacting the surgery they are to undergo? Or play a game like the sims which teaches them how to appropriately practice recovery exercises? The former sounds a bit morbid, but it seems that information is power. Often times when a doctor is explaining a complicated procedure to a patient, it is easy for the patient to become lost in the charts, one dimensional diagrams and stats. In my own experience as a patient, all I could picture in my head when a surgery technique was being explained was the game of Operation. What if patients could be walked through the procedure via a game to see exactly what steps will be taken to help their ailment? Or even further, what if they could compare procedures to see which fits their preferences best (ie, invasive or not)?

Besides, wouldn’t it be great to have a game for EVERYTHING?