15 November 2008

Global Dynamics ~ Simulations For Learning...

While looking into the global electric grid, I ran across this OS Earth Global Simulation Workshop, a role-playing game engaging students in the challenges of running the planet. This is apparently a descendant of Buckminster Fuller’s World Game where he wanted students to aspire to...
"make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone."
Still a worthwhile goal. And with computers, the range of games and simulations accessible to all has never been greater. These games and simulations can be tremendous tools for teaching and learning as documented by MIT alums Edery & Mollick in their book, Changing the Game. Consider the popular Sim video game series by Will Wright at Maxis, including SimEarth. Curiously enough, Wright's first big success, SimCity, was based on the Urban Dynamics work of MIT Sloan Professor Jay Forrester, creator of the System Dynamics method. Forrester went on to build the World Dynamics models which became the basis for the Limits to Growth family of models (and popular books).

While the intellectual battle still rages between the so-called peaknik doomsayers and their opposites, the cornucopian doomslayers -- both with different prognoses about what is happening and/or will happen with our Planet Earth and our role in helping or hindering things -- what we can at least agree on is the need for more data, greater transparency, sharing of underlying assumptions, opening up of the underlying models -- whether mental, econometric, system dynamic, computational, etc -- and a relentless pursuit of greater understanding and truth. Games and simulations can play a transformative role here.

No comments: