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Game Informed Learning for Homeland Defense Education Richard White University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Homeland Defense & Security Education Summit.

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Presentation on theme: "Game Informed Learning for Homeland Defense Education Richard White University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Homeland Defense & Security Education Summit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Game Informed Learning for Homeland Defense Education Richard White University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Homeland Defense & Security Education Summit February 28, 2007

2 Richard White UCCS Adjunct Professor Education Consultant Retired, USAF Author

3 Program. The Center for Homeland Security has developed a set of graduate courses leading to a Certificate in Homeland Defense: – Intro. to Homeland Defense – Interagency Relationships – Understanding the Threat – Protection of Critical Infrastructure Benefit. Courses may be used to complete a Master of Public Administration from the UCCS Graduate School of Public Affairs. UCCS Graduate Certificate in Homeland Defense

4 PAD 5950 Intro. to Homeland Defense Provides an overview of homeland security, with an emphasis on homeland defense and NORTHCOM, its mission, government organizations it interfaces with, and constraints on those relationships. Students gain an understanding of homeland security from the perspective of the Department of Defense, NORTHCOM, and the Department of Homeland Security.

5 Active Teaching Experience 00 – 03 AF Academy – Computer Simulations 03 – 05 Aesir Group – Role-Play Exercises 05 – 07 CW Productions – Game Based Curricula

6 Active Teaching Framework (before class) Lesson Study 00:00 – 00:10 Lesson Review 00:10 – 00:30 Student Exercise 00:30 – 00:50 Discussion

7 Game-Based Learning Game-based learning has emerged as a general name for the use of games in education. Despite early work showing rich inferential learning taking place as a result of gameplay, most game-based learning has been geared towards using a game as a host into which curricular content can be embedded. (Begg, Dewhurst, & Hamish 2005) DHS Jeopardy HSS Hangman

8 Game-Informed Learning In contrast, game-informed learning suggests that educational processes themselves should be informed by the experience of gameplay – a tenet similar to the principles of contemporary active learning approaches such as constructivism and problem based learning (PBL). (Begg, Dewhurst, & Hamish 2005)

9 10 Tips for Building Game-Informed Exercises 1. Suitability 2. Simulation 3. Simplicity 4. Deception 5. Competition 6. Teamwork 7. Consequences 8. Realism 9. Toys 10. Chance

10 Tip #1: Suitability Evaluate your audience. Design games within their collective experience. Don’t be too technical. “Youth and enthusiasm are no match for old age and cunning.” Students aka “Subjects” Subject #1 - Young - Enthusiastic - Inexperienced Subject #2 - Less Young - Realistic - Retired USMC Let’s hurt him. My Fall ‘06 PAD 5950 class was comprised of ½ military, ½ civilian, ½ 20-something, ½ 40-ish.

11 Tip #2: Simulation Students respond well to situation-based, role- playing exercise. Design exercises that concentrate on the central issues of the lesson. Lesson: Islamic Extremism Exercise: Before the Court The Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority have agreed to plead their cases and accept the decision of the United Nations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. Each side has appointed attorneys supported by extensive staffs to argue their cases before a UN panel of judges. Both sides will plead their cases together, before the judges retire to chambers and vote to decide who wins the dispute. The majority decision will win. Unknown to students, both sides were given the same background information from which to plead different arguments.

12 Tip #3: Simplicity Don’t obscure the lesson in complexity. Keep sight of the objective. Game should be explainable in 5 minutes. Lesson: National Security Strategy Exercise: The Great Game Europe Britain, France, and Germany are vying for power. The country that amasses the most wealth, wins. My most complex game, “The Great Game” about national security strategy, had 5 rules. Note: I later learned my exercise is very similar to the game of Diplomacy©.

13 Tip #4: Deception Every exercise should employ an element of deception. Prevent students from “gaming the system.” Lesson: Terrorist Threat Exercise: Orange Alert Students must thwart a terrorist attack. Terrorists are planning to release a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in Washington DC. Students must gather clues to identify the terrorist faction, their method of attack, and their chosen target before they can strike. Teams separately raced to solve puzzle, barely beating the clock. Would’ve finished faster if they pooled clues… just like the IC before 9/11. Exercise loosely based on game of Clue.©

14 Tip #5: Competition Sharpens focus. Garners emotion. Aids deception. Lesson: Intel Operations Exercise: A Stitch in Time Students employ the Intelligence Cycle to foil a terrorist attack. Students have limited time and resources to track down the terrorist plans. The team that divulges the terrorist plan first, wins. Fooled once, teams this time pooled their resources, but were still delayed by lack of central leadership… just like IC on 9/11.

15 Tip #6: Teamwork Increases participation. Injects alternative views. Plays to diverse strengths. Lesson: CBRNE Exercise: Building the Bomb Students form terrorist groups and travel the world recruiting experts to help build and deploy a weapon of mass destruction in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, terrorism has become a growth business. Other terrorist groups are planning similar attacks. If they strike first, the United States government will clamp down hard on the city, making it nearly impossible for others to attack. Teams must attack first to achieve their objective. Halfway through the course, I conducted a “draft” forcing teams to exchange players and redistribute talent across groups. This exercise was inspired by my wife’s favorite reality show, The Amazing Race.©

16 Tip #7: Consequences Limit future options based on current choices. Students more carefully weigh situation when they understand there are consequences. Lesson: Combating Terrorism Exercise: Brinkmanship In the days following 9/11, the United States quickly ascertained that the attacks were perpetrated by al Qaeda terrorists trained in Afghan terrorist camps run by Usama bin Ladin (UBL). Students will re- enact the negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban governments to try and resolve the situation peacefully. Exercise is modified “prisoner’s dilemma” built on decision tree whose path is determined by both teams’ decisions.

17 Tip #8: Realism Incorporating realistic, topical themes increases interest and participation. Assign students command roles in strategic, operational, and tactical situations. Lesson: Pandemic Flu Exercise: Survivor Students assign priorities to DHHS Pandemic Treatment Groups for receiving anti-viral medication and pre-pandemic vaccine, then compare answers to priorities developed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This exercise infused the ensuing discussion with vigorous debate based upon opposing opinions and beliefs.

18 Tip #9: Toys Tactile sensation draws students deeper into exercise. Poker chips, dice, and index cards instill sense of “ownership”. Lesson: National Guard Exercise: National Security Students play the roles of the Chief Executive, National Guard Bureau, and Joint Chiefs of Staff in allocating military resources to emerging national and international incidents. The objective is to limit damage to US national security and homeland security. Active & Guard resources represented by poker chips. Teams were reluctant to share resources to counter emerging threats.

19 Tip #10: Chance Deterministic exercises reduce overhead, maintain focus, disarm student challenges. Limit the role of chance to create credible exercises that sustain student interest. Lesson: 9/11 Survivors Exercise: Escape Students must escape from a burning high-rise before it collapses. Students are attending conferences in three separate locations in the high-rise. Terrorists have detonated suitcase bombs in three different rooms below. The resulting blast damage, fire, and smoke have made certain parts of the building inaccessible. Students must navigate through unfamiliar stairwells and corridors to find a means of escape before the building collapses in 20 minutes. Students are randomly assigned teams. One team is isolated in such a way it’s physically impossible to make it out before the building collapses.

20 10 Tips for Building Game-Informed Exercises 1. Suitability 2. Simulation 3. Simplicity 4. Deception 5. Competition 6. Teamwork 7. Consequences 8. Realism 9. Toys 10. Chance

21 Integrated Game-Based Courses Textbooks + Instructor Guides 1. The Department of Homeland Security: An Overview. Pearson Custom Publishing, Now Available Coming Soon 2. Homeland Defense: An Overview. Pearson Custom Publishing, 2007.

22 Game Informed Learning for Homeland Defense Education


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