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Overview

Background

For several years we have been creating Participatory Simulations on custom wearable computers made at MIT. We have had a lot of success with these machines in teaching concepts about a variety of systems, but unfortunately they were costly to make and quite fragile. The PDA Participatory Simulations project is our attempt to get these same ideas out to a larger audience.

Philosophy

These games are based on the idea that people learn well when they are highly involved in what they are learning about. We have found that these games are great motivators and work well with anyone from inner city students to Fortune 500 employees. There is definitely a craft to running the activities themselves, so don't expect to get it right the first time. Many of the games almost run themselves. But they do require your help. It is up to the facilitator to guide the participants through the activity, sometimes subtly and other times more overtly. One of the keys is getting students to speak what they are thinking. Write down everything that everyone says so that all ideas can be considered.

The Future

Over the coming months and years we hope to make more and more of these games available (for free). We also hope to eventually have Pocket PC version (though we currently are working on another Pocket PC project that we hope to release this year) and a development environment. And somewhere else off in the future we hope to produce a book that collects the activities, curriculum and related assessment.

Project Team

The PDA Participatory Simulations project is based out of the MIT Teacher Education Program. It is lead by Eric Klopfer, Director of MIT's TEP. Development of the simulations was done primarily by MIT undergraduates as research projects. These developers include Philip Guo (Palm Master), Tina Hsieh, Nick Bozard, and Victor Cosan. Judy Perry, TEP Research Manager currently oversees the development of new games. Susan Yoon is the mastermind behind the Discussion Game and is aiding in the development of new games. Some of the projects are based on earlier work by Vanessa Colella.

 

 
 


MIT Teacher Education Program