A few thoughts from the initial day of the 2012 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference:
I missed the opening speakers due to a fog-induced flight delay.
The Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC, is pretty swank. The conference sessions are being held about four floors below ground level, an ideal location for the Iranian nuclear development program. One tunnel connects to the Metro Center station, so it’s easy traveling between the hotel and DCA.
This year’s conference track on IR simulations and role-play again promises to be interesting. We’ve already had Dr. Robert P. Amyot of Hastings College present evidence that brings a fundamental premise of pedagogical simulations into question: that simulations in and of themselves significantly enhance student learning. He argued that learning is more a function of how much time students spend writing and thinking about a topic. Instructors should therefore focus their energies on discovering whatever motivates students to do this, rather than on a particular pedagogical style or tool.
Tomorrow Dr. Victor Asal of SUNY-Albany will be reprising his role as the grandfatherly mentor when he presents a variety of gaming exercises related to identity salience and political violence.