brain · children · creativity · education · learning · play · school

Games Without Frontiers: Games, simulations, and the new school year.

Tic tac toe. Español: Ta te ti Polski: Kółko i...
Tic tac toe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For teachers, it’s time to start thinking about Back-to-School planning. Thankfully this teacher’s got an awesome plan to teach world politics:

Ask any student the following question; would you prefer to start the year with a lecture or playing a game? I’d wager the that nearly all learners would choose to spend their time with the game. As a younger student, I recall only being able to play in class once all of the curriculum was “done”, usually at the end of the school year. Of course, we know that learners of all stripes acquire, apply, synthesize, and communicate knowledge through participation in games and simulations. As a result, there’s a strong case to be made to embed complex critical thinking simulations and games right from the outset of the school year.

I’m currently putting the final touches on all of my lesson plans for the first term of both years of IB Global Politics. Here’s a partial list of the games and simulations the students and I will be playing in the first thirteen weeks:

Against All Odds; Fish Forever; Half the Sky; Malaria in Wanzuzu; Model United Nations; Pandemic; Prisoner’s Dilemma; Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock; Rushing River Cleanup; Survival; Tic-Tac-Toe; The Walking Dead

To say that I’m completely nerded out by all of this is an understatement; I can’t (hardly) wait for school to start on the 26th!

via Games Without Frontiers: Games, simulations, and the new school year.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the year unfolds for this class! If the teacher is excited, that’s definitely a good sign.

anthropology · behavior · community · creativity · environment · play · Social

Games in Real Life

Drawing of ancient Indian board game with piec...
Game board from India; looks kind of like a city grid. Image via Wikipedia

An article featured on the O’Reilly Radar last month that interviews Kevin Slavin, managing director of Area/Code, who is currently working with Frank Lantz to integrate gameplay into the fabric of reality, or what he calls “Big Games.”

Big games are “games that take place using some elements from the game system and some elements of the real world. Something Frank Lantz had worked on with Katie Salen and Nick Fortugno was called the Big Urban Game. It involved transforming the city of Minneapolis into a game board. They did that by using huge inflatable game pieces, about 25-feet high. The players, among other things, were moving these huge pieces around the city.”

“There’s a few of us who have been thinking about how “play” and the “city” were going to combine. We’ve been drinking the same Kool-Aid from the same cooler for quite a while.”

The way Slavin’s describing his vision reminds me a lot of parkour. Interesting ideas.

Read the full interview (highly recommended).