ISA 2014-Advancing the Learning Environment in the Digital Age

Four of the five ALPS editors are together again, presenting on this ISA Innovative Panel on various aspects of simulations, games, films, and the use of digital technology. Patricia Campbell of American Public University opened the panel with a discussion of the parameters of the digital world of pedagogy. Pamela Chasek of Manhattan College just presented on her Model UN course and how technology has really aided the endeavor, from using the internet for pre-conference research to having students text her when they are about to give speeches in their committees.  Also, I think that every Model UN team should have an award called “The Mike Tyson Award for Diplomacy”.

Susherwood again won the award for best graphics in a presentation, this time for the use of varying images of fruit as a metaphor for assessment, while Victor Asal discussed his WWII negotiation simulation, which helps students learn about mediation, rationality, and discrimination.  One key aspect of the simulation is that certain students, based on either the country they represent or particular attributes, are cut completely out of the simulation and unable to ‘win’. This tied into my own presentation with Nina Kollars, which was on the role of failure in courses and the need to focus on the experience and lessons learned by the losers in our games and simulations.

Patrick James of USC talked about his book, The International Relations of Middle Earth, which focuses on how we can learn positivist and critical theory from the Lord of the Rings.  He later shared that doctoral students are finding this book and its approach useful in studying for comprehensive exams.

Unsurprisingly, this last presentation hit me the closest, as I teach a course that is grounded in learning politics from film and fiction.  I’m going to pick up a copy of the book at the exhibit, and start incorporating the insights into my course.

But the best part was at the end, when a member of the audience called for some public diplomacy on behalf of pedagogy, to create a culture where learning about teaching is valued (and better attended!)

2 thoughts on “ISA 2014-Advancing the Learning Environment in the Digital Age

  1. I know I’ve lost brownie points by being the only ALPie not to attend. Please recruit guest contributors! And I also need to check out that book on Middle Earth IR.

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