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Using Current Events to Develop Classroom Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  In this paper, I discuss two potential ways to use current events to develop classroom simulations and provide an example of each. I also provide helpful hints for anyone attempting to design and carry out a simulation. I close the paper with a discussion of the benefits, for both instructors and students, of using current events to design classroom simulations. Approach 1: Use Your Own Research to Design a Simulation The first approach to designing a simulation using current events is for instructors to utilize their own research agendas to create a simulation. This approach has the added benefit of being able to kill two birds with one stone: while instructors are conducting research for their next book, they can also collect materials that will be useful in carrying out the simulation. For instance, I have some interest in the conflict and peace negotiations in Uganda. During the summer of 2007, I was in Washington, DC for the Women in International Security Summer Symposium and had the pleasure of meeting Melanie Greenberg, president of the Cypress Fund for Peace and Security. Melanie is studying this exact issue and shared some materials for an active learning classroom activity. The idea for combining current events and classroom simulations came out of this discussion. I used the materials Melanie provided to develop a simulation based on the Juba round of peace negotiations in Uganda in an introduction to international relations course in the summer of 2007. Below, I describe the necessary steps for constructing a simulation 1 utilizing approach 1, with illustrative examples taken from my own experience with the Uganda simulation. Step 1: Establish Teaching and Learning Goals. Before beginning any simulation, the instructor should be sure that this type of learning approach will fit the needs of the students and the curriculum. This process will help instructors make decisions about when in the class to run the simulation, what concepts should be emphasized in the process, and how evaluation of 1 drawn in part from Smith and Boyer 1996 3

Authors: Glazier, Rebecca.
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In this paper, I discuss two potential ways to use current events to develop classroom
simulations and provide an example of each. I also provide helpful hints for anyone attempting to
design and carry out a simulation. I close the paper with a discussion of the benefits, for both
instructors and students, of using current events to design classroom simulations.
Approach 1: Use Your Own Research to Design a Simulation
The first approach to designing a simulation using current events is for instructors to
utilize their own research agendas to create a simulation. This approach has the added benefit of
being able to kill two birds with one stone: while instructors are conducting research for their
next book, they can also collect materials that will be useful in carrying out the simulation.
For instance, I have some interest in the conflict and peace negotiations in Uganda.
During the summer of 2007, I was in Washington, DC for the Women in International Security
Summer Symposium and had the pleasure of meeting Melanie Greenberg, president of the
Cypress Fund for Peace and Security. Melanie is studying this exact issue and shared some
materials for an active learning classroom activity. The idea for combining current events and
classroom simulations came out of this discussion. I used the materials Melanie provided to
develop a simulation based on the Juba round of peace negotiations in Uganda in an introduction
to international relations course in the summer of 2007. Below, I describe the necessary steps for
constructing a simulation
utilizing approach 1, with illustrative examples taken from my own
experience with the Uganda simulation.
Step 1: Establish Teaching and Learning Goals. Before beginning any simulation, the
instructor should be sure that this type of learning approach will fit the needs of the students and
the curriculum. This process will help instructors make decisions about when in the class to run
the simulation, what concepts should be emphasized in the process, and how evaluation of
1
drawn in part from Smith and Boyer 1996
3


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