< New Media and Learning Workshop 2004

Simulations and learning games

Simulation is "the imitative representation of the functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another" (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary).

Demonstrations where the teacher is simulating some real world system in a classroom environment is one of the most commonly used way of teaching. For instance when studying solar system we use a model (3D or 2D) of the solar system to understand how the planets are located and moving in the real system.

Games are also commonly used in teaching and learning. For instance business games simulating how to run a business are widely used in business schools and management training. In most of the business games the players are doing business decisions, which are then processed according to some ready made rules and then the results are given back to the players.

When thinking using computers in learning, simulations are one of the most promising areas of applications. Also simulations running in portable devices making it possible to mix the real world and the simulation in a new way opens number of new interesting possibilities.

  • Sodaplay loves play, learning and art. Excellent online playground with models and robots. Playing with Sodaplay is fun and maybe educational. Find out yourself.
  • Social Impact Games: Entertaining Games with Non-Entertainment Goals. Interesting web site with a database of 130 games for education, policy, health, business, military, politics, design etc. Site still under construction.
  • Kukakumma Muumaassa is a computer game for children that is controlled through movement and voice. The game does away with keyboards and traditional game controllers and uses a web camera and a microphone to "see and hear" the player. MA thesis project from Media Lab UIAH.
  • EduSim offers simulations and software for leadership training, workplace issues, team building, human communication etc.
  • ABSEL - association for business simulation and experiential learning promotes the use of experiential techniques and simulations in the field of business education and development.