About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1606-1617
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

TEACHING CHILDREN INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE WITH THE ELECTRONIC LIFE SIMULATION “REALLIVES” (WORK IN PROGRESS)

A. Struppert

Macquarie University (AUSTRALIA)
In times of globalisation, intercultural competence has become a key competence for everyone, not just managers or professionals working overseas. As children get in contact with other cultures in kindergarten and school already, intercultural competence needs to be developed early. Intercultural competence is defined here as a learning process, in which intercultural awareness, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills are developed that enable a person to interact effectively, appropriately and successfully in intercultural contexts. Many schools have recognized the need for intercultural competence and integrated activities, e.g., student exchanges, into their curriculum.
One innovative and promising way of teaching intercultural competence in school is the use of electronic games and simulations. As children around the world use these media and seem to learn from them easily, researchers suggest they should be employed in schools, too. (e.g., Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2007; Gee, 2003) Being interactive multimodal media, electronic games and simulations are considered motivating, engaging and fun, and they can cater for individual differences better than traditional media. Some even believe electronic games and simulations are more appropriate learning tools than textbooks or lectures for today’s “Games Generation.” (Prensky, 2001). As they must be learned in order to be played, electronic games and simulations represent natural learning environments. They also combine play and learning similarly to natural child’s play.
A simulation is a representation of parts of the real world that allows for active exploration and enables players to make experiences in a safe environment, to see the consequences of their actions and reflect on them without time pressure. It provides for the active experiences and reflection necessary to develop spontaneous and, later on, more abstract concepts described in Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Cycle. Players can learn independently but also help each other (peer learning), or turn to the teacher, if necessary. In the simulation "RealLives", players lead the life of a person anywhere in the world from birth to death. They must make decisions about education, profession, family, health, finances etc. and are confronted with typical problems, e.g., natural disasters. Playing this simulation could help players gain knowledge about different countries and cultures and develop an understanding of how life is in different parts of the world. This knowledge and understanding together with empathy could lead to the development of positive attitudes towards culturally different people.
So far, there has been a lack of research investigating the potential of electronic games and simulations for developing intercultural competence. “RealLives” has been used in schools, mainly in the US and Canada, but no research has examined this use so far. This study reduces the existing research gaps by investigating the use of “RealLives” in middle school classrooms in the US, Switzerland and Australia. It examines how students and teachers in the three countries interact with and interpret the simulation, what and how school children can learn with it, and how the use of such technology impacts on the classroom situation and the roles of students and teachers. It also discusses problems when using electronic games and simulations in the classroom and implications for teachers and schools.
@InProceedings{STRUPPERT2009TEA,
author = {Struppert, A.},
title = {TEACHING CHILDREN INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE WITH THE ELECTRONIC LIFE SIMULATION “REALLIVES” (WORK IN PROGRESS)},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1606-1617}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Struppert
TI - TEACHING CHILDREN INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE WITH THE ELECTRONIC LIFE SIMULATION “REALLIVES” (WORK IN PROGRESS)
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 1606
EP - 1617
ER -
A. Struppert (2009) TEACHING CHILDREN INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE WITH THE ELECTRONIC LIFE SIMULATION “REALLIVES” (WORK IN PROGRESS), EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 1606-1617.
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