Sunday, April 19, 2015

Founder Post: GBL & PBL: Spring Fling or Long Term Romance?

Founder Derek Luebbe added a new post on his blog Does It Catch Mice?. 

GBL & PBL: Spring Fling or Long Term Romance? highlights the unique type of learning environments we need to leverage GBL and provide experiences that focus on 21st Century Skills and mirror the real world.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Much Heat Does Your Classroom Generate?

Came across this simple scale from the LoTi® Organization .

A fantastic way to help all of us get a better sense of what innovative learning can be. PBL, GBL or anything else - this scale speaks for itself as great learning.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Madness and Games-Based Learning: 5 Takeaways

This is a repost from 2013, shared to kick off March Madness. 

UPDATE: I've had some great discussions on this topic, and just for the sake of clarity...
1. "Games" can also be described "Learning Experiences". These experiences do not necessarily need to be confined to single "lesson" (or basketball game). They can take the form of quests, projects, etc. that evolve over many days.
2. I am not advocating that all games need a winner/loser.
3. For 2019, I'm picking North Carolina!

I love sports. Hardly a day went by when I was young where I wasn't playing basketball, tennis or something else.

I just returned from ISTE, hearing a great keynote from Jane McGonigal on the benefits of Games-Based-Learning. We're making progress (but still have a ways to go) in our attempt to create games that can be integrated into the classroom easily.

Sure, we can acknowledge that there will be adoption resistance by some schools and urge them to come on board. But we also need to acknowledge that we are not creating games that generate genuine, intuitive, widespread interest for teachers' use in the classroom while at the same time addressing the 21st Century skills we want to target. We are struggling to create games that link content to purpose. Until we do, we will only get early adopters and innovative teachers as consistent users of GBL.

There are characteristics of team sports that need to be better incorporated into the games we design for learning. These are the characteristics that make team sports so challenging and so rewarding for players - both in the moment and for their future.

We need to design game experiences that move beyond rewarding "right" answers with points and badges as the main goal. We need to start designing games with these five elements - present in almost any team sport, and sadly lacking from most classroom games.

If there are games out there that do all five of these (or even a few of them), please share. We need to recognize, honor, and PLAY these games!

1. Students need to create and regularly be able to adjust that creation to solve a specific problem. A basketball player is making multiple decisions every second. He is both planning and executing his creation in real time.

2. Students are simultaneously evaluating the actions of each other and making adjustments accordingly. Is someone shooting well? Get her the ball. Has the other team (player) changed there defense? I better adjust my offense.

3. The player's actions effect the entire game and all who are playing. 
When I decide to go for a steal, what happens if I miss? What will be the consequence? How will my teammates handle this?

4. The game is dynamic, constantly changing due to the actions of the other players and the outside factors. (coaches, referees ... aka: teachers)

5. Most important: There are multiple and competing goals with no right answer.  As a player within a team, there are multiple ways that we can strategize to try to win. That strategy is important and may change throughout the game. But in the quest to get a team victory, there are a hundred sub-plots going on. Should I shoot more if I feel like I can score against my defender?  What if I'm not my team's best shooter? Should I deviate from our planned offense?  What will my teammates think of me if I do this often? Is my girlfriend in the crowd... and what things could I do that might look good to her but harm my chances to have my team win?

A basketball game is multi-dimensional. We are individuals within a context of a community and those roles are sometimes confusing. If the classroom games we play are simply one-dimensional representations where there is a right answer and we want to try to find a fun way to have students arrive at that answer, we are sadly misrepresenting what the real world holds and missing out on a whole level of engagement and challenge. 

Give em a basketball instead.

Derek Luebbe is the founder and CEO of Jetlag Learning, makers of simCEO.
He is also the current Head of School at the Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), Pudong Campus.
Follow him on Twitter at @dluebbe and @simceo

Thursday, March 12, 2015

3 Ways For Students to Experience 21st Century Learning

We're excited to see how simCEO can change learning, and we want to share a few ways that more students can experience 21st Century Learning.

1. Enter the promotional code:   AuthenticLearning 
to earn 30 simCredits at the introductory price of  $99.00.

This promotional code is good through March 31. But don't worry, you can redeem your simCredits anytime in the next 12 months.

1. Visit the "Buy simCredits" page after you register.
2. Enter "1" Classroom" purchase - normally $349.
3. Enter the promotional code below. Your discount is automatically applied.  
4. Click the button to "Pay By Invoice" or "Pay By Credit Card".
5. Follow the instructions and 30 free simCredits will be added to your account within 24 hours.

2. Earn 25 free simCredits for each friend you refer.
Pass along an innovative learning resource to other educators, earn their gratitude and respect, and receive free simCredits. No purchase is necessary. What could be easier? 

1. Each friend you refer will need to share your username upon their initial registration.
2. When that friend purchases simCredits, an equal number of simCredits will be added to your account. (Maximum of 25 simCredits per friend, but there is no limit on the number of friends.)

If you think simCEO represents an innovative model of learning, then why not share it with other educational innovators !

3. Earn a $1000 worth of simCredits if you are teacher number 1000.

With teachers in over 60 countries who have played simCEO thus far, we're nearing teacher number 1000.  And we want to say thanks to all of the teacher-innovators who helped us get this far by sharing a $1000 worth of simCredits with the teacher that puts us over the hump. 

Stay tuned. It could be you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A New Model in Games-Based Learning

We're proud to release our new virtual office version of simCEO and hope that it represents a change agent in education.

We want to take Games-Based Learning (GBL) to the next level with 21st Century skills and environments that allow application of classroom curricular goals. 

We hope you agree with where we're heading and share this video with others.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

3...2...1... Launch !

Welcome to the simCEO Virtual Office,

Taking Learning To New Heights
(If you are a current user of simCEO making the transition to the new virtual site, please refer to some of the earlier posts on this blog. If we can help with anything, let us know. )

SimCEO has always been an innovative model to change learning. Now, with a virtual office layout, we hope to match that innovative model of learning with an innovative look and feel.

In addition to the more immersive experience, you'll still find all the flexibility and customization that was present in the previous version - plus, a few new features that we're excited to be sharing.

What’s Changed?
Simulation Home Page
A virtual office allows users to explore and find information.  Both instructors and learners also have a Dashboard on their simHome page to provide quick details of the most relevant information. Students are able to see a daily update of how well their portfolio and share price performed relative to other students in the simulation.
All users select an avatar to help guide them through the new simCEO office.
News Articles, Bulletin Board Announcements,  
All are accessed from the virtual office. All now display with a more authentic look and feel. Instructors can still customize each of these elements.
Market Research, Market Prices, and My Portfolio Page
All are accessed from within the office computer. Each element brings up a more detailed page of data. All transactions are recorded for users, and market and portfolio information contain more data about overall performance.
Messages to and from users are now accessed from the office phone.
Buy/Sell Shares
Buying and selling shares happens through the simCEO Investments building located on the simHome page.
Loans & Deposits
Banking functions occur from the bank building located on the simHome page.
This new feature replaces the “Environment” and “Rules” section of the old site. Within simResources, instructors can post information about the simulation to assist learners. This could be additional rules, a defined environment/setting, websites, PDF documents, etc.  
Business Plan Components
We still allow instructors to select assignments to help define the components of business plan. (They can still customize their own too.)  But we’ve changed the format to allow student answers to be more holistic. Once completed, students should have a portable beginning to a coherent business plan that they take and build upon.
Creating a Company
Learners still can create any type of company they desire. We’ve added fields to let them pick a company logo, motto and have linked these to their business plan and created personalized business cards for each student.
Coming soon:
1. A learner reflection journal: An internal method of communication between learner and instructor. This allows instructors to monitor and evaluate the rationale behind a learner's action (or non-action) within a business or investing scenario.

2. Instructor Community: With all the great customization we've seen from creative teachers, we decided to create a sharing space so that all that great work isn't done in isolation. Browse through ideas, borrow them, add to the list of resources so that other instructors can benefit as well. 

3. Personalized Messaging on Stock Charts: We're personalizing our stock charts by allowing them to display user logos who have sent you messages. So, the stock charts of tomorrow will give you price data and personalized messages - all in one!

4. Quizzes and case study assessments to track learning within the simulation, tapping into the authentic environment of simCEO by asking learners to demonstrate their understanding of entrepreneurial and financial literacy content.

On behalf of the entire Jetlag Learning team, we're very proud to be releasing the new version; we hope you are equally excited by all the new site has to offer.  

We'd love to hear what you think.


Derek Luebbe
CEO Jetlag Learning

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Transitions For Current Users: Old to New

Today marks a big day for us here at simCEO.

We're thrilled to launch our new virtual site, and hope that you are equally excited. It takes our text-version to the next level and adds many new features in the process. (We'll share those later!)

If you are a current user, we hope the transition is a smooth one. We'll be here for any question you have along the way. 

One difference that may cause confusion are the assignments which make up the business.

OLD: Learners completed multiple assignments. Each assignment could have multiple questions, answered separately.

NEW:  Learners complete multiple assignments. Each assignment can have multiple questions but are answered holistically in one field instead of separate answers to specific questions.

Why did we change?
We wanted users to complete a business plan that looked more realistic and holistic instead of fragmented business plans created by answering specific questions. We hope the new version gives the same teacher flexibility but allows for student business plans to be portable and realistic (to be used after the simulation) - a request that came from many of you!

If I'm playing simCEO, how will this transition affect my assignments?
The assignments serve the same purpose, but they are in a new format in the new version. We've made some adjustments to the questions that are asked as well. 
We saved and transferred all the data from each student's business plan. So, nothing is lost. But we compiled the answers for each of the questions on each assignment into one long answer for that assignment. Therefore, we've combined fragmented answers into one answer. This could cause some confusion  in terms of coherency and we apologize. 

We slightly renamed some assignments. In two cases, we merged answers from two assignments into one new one.

  • The new assignment named Assessing the Future includes the answers from the old assignments Assessing the Future and Industry Analysis.
  • The new assignment named Peer Evaluation includes the answers from the old Peer Evaluation and Diamond in the Rough.

Some users may want to be reminded of the assignments in their original format and the original questions.   If this is you, we're sharing a PDF and MS Word version which contains all of the old assignments and questions. 

We're grateful to our current users - the trail blazers ahead of their time. Please let us know if you find any problems with your simulation during the transition and we'll do all we can to support you and your students.

Hoping you enjoy the new site!

Derek Luebbe

Friday, February 13, 2015

Navigating the Virtual Office

Greeting simCEO fans,

With the launch of our virtual site just days away, we're excited by what our new look has to offer. To make sure that you can see what's in store, we thought a helpful key would come in handy.

All of our earlier simCEO features are contained in the new look, and we're sure you'll find some engaging and fun new elements as well. It's a whole new (virtual) world.

We hope you - and students everywhere - share our excitement.

simCEO Virtual Office and Student Dashboard
Virtual Office Key

Monday, February 9, 2015

Virtual Office Sneak Peak...

We're excited to be launch our Virtual Office, and we're just 7 days away!
Check out a sneak peak of the office with the student's dashboard.

We can't wait to to hear what you think.

Immersive. Fun. Learning.
Coming Feb. 15.

- The simCEO team