Related to my recent post on replacing traditional textbooks with digital content:
For the last two years, I have used the Stop Disasters! game in my course on humanitarian emergencies, which is online. A significant number of the students are outside the USA when they take it. Stop Disasters! runs on Flash. Flash is an application that has been incompatible with Apple devices for years and its owner, Adobe, will cease supporting it entirely in 2020. Web browsers now require installation of special plugins and whatnot to run it. This means that my students may not be able to play this game without jumping through a bunch of technological hoops, a burden that I can’t justify imposing on them.
Unfortunately a lot of online pedagogical games and simulations are Flash-based; a few that have been discussed on this blog include Ayiti: The Game of Life, 3rd World Farmer, and Inside Disaster. Clicking on the link for the simulation at the Inside Disaster website produces a black screen, so it is no longer accessible whether one has Flash running or not.
These online tools have an irritating tendency to have short lifespans, which to me greatly lessons their convenience. Board games don’t end up in the technological dustbin of history at anywhere near the same speed. Maybe it’s time to switch back to exercises based on tangible objects rather than software applications. But how does one do that in the online environment?