On Friday 3.12.10 the Northumbria Law School hosted a day’s workshop in the Centre for Life on simulation that focused on SIMPLE, Simshare and the use of simulation in higher education – see the website for details of the workshop.
Given the weather conditions Thursday pm it was remarkable that anyone turned up, but 14 out of the original 18 participants struggled in – some from as far as Lancaster. Our five speakers apart from me were coming from further afield, and with the weather closing in I contacted Dr David Davies of Warwick Medical School and Karen Barton from Strathclyde Law School, to determine if they could present on an arrangement of Skype video call + remote desktop control app via Powerpoint. We tested on the Thursday, and again on the morning of the workshop in the Centre. I was also thinking of using a combination of canned video uploaded to Dropbox + Skype for the Q&As as a backup, but in the end decided to risk it with skype. Worked well, didn’t crash once. A third speaker, Karen Counsel from Glamorgan managed, astonishingly, to fly up from Glamorgan to take us through her remarkable innovations in first year Torts sims and Masters sims (IP, domain name disputes, forensics – DL, too, with Hong Kong students – we could learn a lot from her meticulous work), and our own Kevin Kerrigan was also presenting on his use of sims in Criminal Procedure in the Law School.
In the morning we had a series of case studies, and after lunch simultaneous roundtables on how to use Simshare (me), on using sim activities within the context of conventional teaching & learning (Karen Counsel), and on using sims with large-group classes (Kevin). Good feedback, eg:
The session was excellent on Friday - a really good group of people, nice environment and opportunity to chat and go through things. The roundtable worked really well. […] a very enjoyable, productive and comfortable experience.
My only suggestion for taking things forward is what you stated at the end that there are some hands on, very practical sessions set up. I'll be taking this back to [law school] as my new Head of School seems keen so I am hoping we can take SIMPLE forward. I think there were a few of us with shared interests there on Friday so a distribution list of contacts from the session would be great.
There were at least five participants from Northumbria U., most from Health, and a couple from Newcastle U, who were very interested in the work being done by SIMPLEtons nationally & internationally, and we’ll be taking that further in liaisons with them.
Thanks to a generous grant from CALI in the USA we have the invaluable services of an applications developer, Gavin Maxwell, till the end of June 2011; so if you’re thinking of developing sims using SIMPLE (or games that include sims, or vice versa) now is the time to be doing something about it. By all means get in touch with me. Note that the simulation-sharing site, Simshare, is about sharing any sort of sim, not just SIMPLE sims. So if you have any sims that you want to share with the world as Open Education Resources (OER), just go to the site, register, and upload & share... If you want further info, contact me.
We’ll be putting slides & related workshop resources up on the Simshare website (I’ll let you know when that’s available) and I’ll post some comments etc on Zeugma later. Any questions etc by all means get back to me. For more information on how you could use sims & games, see the forthcoming book edited by Prof Sara de Freitas and me, Digital Games and Learning (Continuum Press --early Jan 2011 – ideal Twelfth Night present, focusing as it does on Shakespearian themes of transformation, disguise, identity, etc… see flyer: Digital_Games_and_Learning); and two chapters in a book I’m editing with Caroline Maughan, Affect: The Impact of Emotion on Learning and Teaching the Law, coming out later in 2011. There will also be more workshops like this, both early in 2011 – one in Glamorgan on January 18 (hosted by Karen Counsel), and one in Glasgow, at Glasgow Caledonian University. (hosted by Michael Bromby there), the date of which will be up on Simshare as soon as we know it.
I’m planning to edit a long-overdue SIMPLE book, to be published around 2013/14. Currently we have five authors signed up, internationally, from US to Australia, writing both academic and technical chapters. If you’re interested in getting involved in using SIMPLE and writing about it, or know anyone who might be, do drop me a line.
Finally, and most importantly, thanks to UKCLE (especially Danielle Lysaght and Hansa Surti) for their invaluable financial support; to Gavin for Simshare support, to Kevin for stepping in at short notice to help out on the roundtables, and to Ian, Maureen and Ann for their excellent admin support, and for keeping their cool… What a team.