ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"Teaching Complex Systems in the Classroom with Video Games"

Teaching Complex Systems in the Classroom with Video Games Poster or presentation International Conference on Complex Systems 2004 May 16-21, 2004, Boston, MA Brock Dubbels The Center for Cognitive Sciences 310 Elliott Hall The University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612) 827-2714 Abstract: A case will be made for exploring the use of commercial video games to teach and develop skills necessary in understanding complex systems and rule based environments. Specifically, one game, Civilization III will be examined and presented as opportunity for students to engage in play, as well as be led with guided reflection to deconstruct the experience of the game as a representational system created as a virtual environment, where rules and assumptions about the world are simulated, and whether these rules and depiction of the system are representational and how these rules and assumptions work in co-variation to create response to student developed tactics and strategies. Key elements involve the role of decision making, ability to differentiate a complex system from a simple system, and use of supporting materials to question the assumptions that the game was built upon to engage players in strategy generation for interacting in a complex and dynamic virtual environment with quantifiable outcomes, and examining history and our knowledge of the world as factual, but process and context dependent.