Panel Report: Teaching Politics After the Digital Revolution

RobotHere is a brief report on one of last month’s APSA annual meeting panels, Teaching Politics After the Digital Revolution. The report comes from Dave Bridge, the panel’s organizer and chair.

Dave presented on the advantages gained by using Microsoft Excel’s random number generator to create a new breed of political simulations.  Using the example of Rousseau’s stag hunt, he showed how the computer program can deepen students’ knowledge of political philosophy.

Chad Raymond showed the impact of using simulations upon teaching evaluations.  Demonstrating that the use of the Statecraft simulation increased certain evaluation scores, he concluded that the simulation can impact students’ perception of learning—which itself can positively affect their actual learning.

Kerstin Hamann, Hutch Pollock, Bruce Wilson, and Gary Smith reviewed the state of the literature regarding the digital revolution and the scholarship of teaching and learning.  With a content analysis of the three of political science’s most prominent publication outlets for teaching and learning scholarship (PS: Political Science and Politics, Journal of Political Science Education, and International Studies Perspectives), the authors cataloged articles regarding technology and the classroom.

Finally, Nicolas de Zamaroczy introduced results from a pilot study on the effects of computer games and on different attitudes toward global politics.  Surveying those who do and do not play games with global politics implications (e.g., Civilization), he found no significant different between gamers and non-gamers.

Victor Asal and Steven Jackson graciously agreed to be the co-discussants of the panel, and they provided insightful comments on all the papers.

If any of the above information sounds remotely interesting, consider participating in APSA’s Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC). The TLC for January 2015 is themed Innovations and Expectations for Teaching in the Digital Era.