Editor: Simulation & Gaming: An Intn’l Journal
French University System
2 Hardy Close, Martinstown
Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9JS England (UK)
v: (205) 752-0690 (U.S.) 0305 889-352 (U.K.)
Education, K12; Education, higher; Education, continuing or distance; Other — simulation/gaming methodology
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; Creation of new ideas, products, or services
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Promoting an International Dimension in Education via Active Learning and Simulation
Project IDEALS is a computer-assisted learning environment based on multi-site, semester-long, socially-interactive simulations. Computer technologies allow distant teams to communicate, hold real-time teleconferences, and to obtain feedback on their performance and progress.
Project IDEALS is firmly based on the principles of experiential learning; it encourages students to become fully involved, motivates them to work hard, and helps them take responsibility for their own learning.
- To develop competence and confidence in communicating with people from other cultures, and so help create international friendships.
- To give students greater knowledge and understanding of international events and issues in global environmental problems, sustainable development and global interdependence.
- To enhance professional skills in such areas as team work, decision making, problem solving, leadership and negotiation, and to develop computer literacy, clear writing and critical thinking.
The central component of Project IDEALS is a large-scale simulation assisted by computers and telecommunications. Students take on the roles of high-level negotiators representing various countries at an international conference. The country teams are situated at different campuses (usually one team per campus) and communicate using computer networks and specialized simulation management software. Currently, teams are situated in such countries as Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Canada, Finland, Peru, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Estonia and Australia.
The ultimate goal of each simulation is for teams to negotiate an agreement related to some international situation — for example, to hammer out the text of a treaty governing the use and regulation of the oceans (including resources, fishing, pollution, heritage of humanity, north-south issues, transport of hazardous waste, etc.). Other topics may include the future of Antarctica. Scenarios may involve real or hypothetical countries.
In Project IDEALS, the experiential learning cycle is paramount, emphasizing the importance of regular and structured reflection on experience to convert it into learning, which in turn becomes the basis for further practical experience.
Computers and telecommunications
In order to participate, each site needs a minimum of one microcomputer (e.g., BBC, IBM compatible, Macintosh), a modem, a printer, a telecommunications package, and a simple word processor. Faculty and students do not need any special computer skills in order to participate. Each site will also need access to the Internet (NSFnet) telecommunications network.
The main simulation management software, called Polnet II, allows messages to be sent to any number of other teams at other sites and for those teams to sign on at any time to retrieve those messages and to send their own. It also enables teams to participate in real-time tele- conferences, in which several teams communicate in a synchronous, conversational mode. It collects and provides feedback and research data on-line (through questionnaire and text analysis components).
References: Crookall, D. & Arai, K. (Eds.) 1992. Global Interdependence: Simulation and Gaming Perspectives. Springer-Verlag.
Crookall, D. & Saunders, D. (eds) 1989. Communication and Simulation: From Two Fields to One Theme. Multilingual Matters.