By R. Garry Shirts
If someone were to ask me to identify the mistakes most often made by game designers, including myself, I would, after assuring myself that the questioner understands that game design is a very personal activity and that there are no right answers, reply in the following dogmatic manner: […]
1. Taking a Linear Approach to Game Design.
Most articles and books on simulation design suggest that one should follow a logical sequence of development: first define your objectives, then identify the actors and so on. Such prescriptions are accurate post-facto descriptions of what emerges from the game design process but are not, for the most part, accurate descriptions of that process. I suppose that one can design simulations in this manner, but such an approach defines the important parameters of the game before one starts and precludes an imaginative solution.
The designing process, in my experience, is not sequential at all—new idea “F” requires an adjustment or rethinking of ideas “A” “B” “C” and “D”. And such adjustments in turn may suggest changes in idea “F”. One moves back and forth among the ideas and parts of the game much as the performer who keeps a dozen or so plates of china spinning simultaneously on tall slender polls.
2. Trying to Work with Non-Simpatico Personalities.
It isn’t always possible to choose one’s game designing mates, but if given a choice, they should be selected carefully. Especially for the beginning stages when ideas are being generated. One negative person can stifle the creativity of thousands. Many different skills are required to develop educational simulations. The person who may be very creative at thinking up alternatives may not be able to write, follow the game […]
By R. Garry. Shirts, Ph.D.
For the past 40 plus years, I’ve been designing simulations to help people learn how to work together productively, live together in harmony and resolve conflicts peacefully. I’ve designed simulations and other experiential learning activities for corporations, schools, government agencies, and churches.
Each simulation is like a mini-laboratory of human behavior. In this “laboratory” one sees the way people compete, allocate resources, respond under pressure and most important, how they relate to one another under different conditions. So if we assume there is some carryover from simulations to the real world, then what we learn from designing simulations ought to give us some insights and help in designing healthy, real-world organizations.
Today, my goal is to give you some suggestions for creating a new school culture in which staff members, teachers and students feel safe, feel valued and have the opportunity to be as productive and creative as each person wants to be. […]
I should point out that these criteria are based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which are as follows:
His great insight was that one can’t address a higher need if the lower need is not satisfied. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the graphic.)
I also believe that it holds for communication as well. If one tries to talk to a student about achievement when he or she is worried about his or her safety, it’s going to be hard to communicate effectively with that student until the safety need is met. At least, it is important that one acknowledges one’s need for safety or any unmet need before moving up the needs ladder. But that is another […]