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.

Flight Simulators

Thus far in class we have explored the notion that video games may facilitate learning better than traditional methods we have grown accustom to, such as traditional schools and online classrooms.  Time and again we refer to this notion of learning but what exactly do we mean by learning? Learning is a very broad and encompassing term that can include essentially everything from academics to self defense.  When we say that video games may better facilitate learning are we referring to all types of learning?  Can a video game teach a 6th grade student how to write a five paragraph essay as well as an accredited english teacher? Can a video game teach a solider military strategy as well as a decorated officer?  Clearly there are some elements of certain types of learning that make these subjects better suited to being taught through traditional methods as opposed to by a video game, but what exactly are these elements?  Are we able to segregate certain types of learning into categories  based on their inhereent characteristics and conclude that certain categories of learning are better suited to be taught by a videogame whereas other types of learning are better suited to be taught by a livinging person?  Take for instance a solider training to become a pilot.  Almost all aviation training programs utilize flight simulators, a type of video game, to teach aspiring pilots how to fly planes.  Although most of these training programs use a combination of simulation and actual flight experience, for regulatory and safety purposes, in order to train their students, which of these mediums is a more effective teaching tool?  This summer I was able to meet and speak with a few air force pilots at the intrepid museum in New York City and the topic of flight simulators came up.  Although the pilots I spoke with all went through programs that incorporated both flight simulation and real flight experience, the majority of their training was spent in flight simulators and these pilots made it seem as if they learned more in the simulators than they did from their actual flight experience and their flight instructors.  What are your thoughts on this idea that learning can be separated into categories and are their certain tasks, such as learning to fly a plane, that are better suited to being taught by a video game as opposed to an actual person?

The following is a link to Precision Flight Control INC which is one of the leading flight simulator and flight training devices manufactures on the market.  Precision Flight Controls INC has a wide customer base which includes hobbyists, educational institutions, private sector aviation, business aviation, military flight training and the aerospace industry in general.

Tired of the same old planet? Give it a makeover!

From the good folks at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (don’t bother them when The Big Bang Theory is on) comes this: The Extreme Planet Makeover!

Is it a game? Not really, more of a simulation. But interesting nonetheless.

(Found at Boing Boing, this blogger’s favorite blog)