Three days in conference has yielded much… but I am reminded yet again…that the foundational choices and decisions we make to engage our students must begin and end with clear intent.
The single most commonly articulated point: MAKE CERTAIN YOUR OBJECTIVES ARE CLEAR. If we begin with this in preparation, selection of activity, debriefing, and assessment you will find success in achieving learning in the room.
Drawing a clear line from objectives to execution and assessment is the challenge and the lifeline in playing with games and simulations. As Amanda Rosen and I consistently commented throughout the days in conference, it isn’t enough to select teaching tools/media/games that emphasize a topic…
The lesson is the same for us as it is for our students…. identify a clearly articulated thesis/argument. With this in mind the selection of your activity will highlight the key dynamics or reinforce the worldview you seek to elevate rather than rummaging around for impressions and opinions about an issue.
Intent is everything.
For example: Daniel Beers from Knox College presented his work in real-time simulation. He ran a simulation about the Haitian earthquake, and certainly this is a wonderful topic…but we must ask ourselves about the purpose. What did Beers hope to convey to his students through that topic?
Beers’ purpose was to highlight the dynamics and challenges of internally displaced persons under crisis and to humanize the devastation through the simulation.
Beers’ simulation was well-tailored and clear-eyed in execution…. the result of a clearly articulated objective at the outset.