SimCityEDU: A Review of the Past Two Years of Gameification
October 2, 2015|Posted in: SimCityEDU
I can’t say enough about how great the SimCity project has become. Yes, this post is LONG overdue. I have now completed two years of using SimCity as a catalyst for learning in my classroom. I really don’t see it as a game anymore, it simply is a really engaging way to reach my students with lessons they need. What impresses me the most is how well the students problem solve together. There are serious discussions about finances, ecological impact of new industrial zoning, and decision making on the need for stadiums vs. expanding hospital services. I love these mini-debates that happen all the time.
There are of course the outliers. Students’ whose team members might be absent that day, so they take the reigns and add 34 skate parks because…clicking is fun. But they pay a heafty price when their partners come back and see their budget run down to near zero and unneeded parks littering the city. And of course there are the cities that go bankrupt and I feel the need to have them do a post mortum on what went wrong. Usually it’s an over abundance of services. But they learn, and I learn. I learn what I need to warn the next year about. About just how much preparation I need to do before turning over the reigns. This year, I’ve given them so much frontloading that they are shaking with excitement to get their hands on their land. Yet, I know that frontloading has established each team with a careful plan…it’s not the wild west. We work methodically.
I was recently rereading my first blog posts about this project and smiling at how tentative I was about turning the game on and letting the grand experiment happen. But, I am so thankful I did. My three classes who have taken part in this project have exceeded all of my expectations, and this current year is headed that way too.