In his popular Baby and Child Care book (a child rearing "bible" for many generations of parents since 1946), Benjamin Spock states that "play is very serious business". As curriculum increasingly gets "backed down" to younger and younger grades, and as testing takes on an increasing priority,  the importance of "play" for learning in education seems lost.

The play process is further short-circuited as increasing structure seeps into the few play opportunities that children do have. Once you climb above the early childhood level, fewer and fewer educators appear to be comfortable extolling the virtues of play in support of learning. Some educators are even uncomfortable when students refer to "working on the computer" as "playing on the computer".

Play is how we "try on the world". If educators leave "play" out of learning picture, they are missing out on some fantastic ways to engage students on multiple levels. Plus, there is a substantial amount of research supporting the educational benefits of computer games, role-playing, and simulations for learning.

Simulations are based on "learning from experience". Learning from experience is not a new phenomenon. We acquire information through our senses by watching and listening, and then we try it out by "doing" (and reflecting "how did I do?"). We learn by doing!


leaky learning



What a concept!

So, let's think up some "what ifs" and "let's pretend" scenarios for learning as we take some time to explore a few


Simulations and e-learning games

Concord Consortium

GenScope   & some GenScope Dragon Genetics Directions

GenScope Follow-up Study -- research article

Math Simulations -- there are a number dead links on this site, but worth digging through for a few gems

National Geographic Cruise Guide

Visible Human Project

Online Role Playing

Human Heart

A Field Guide to Educational Simulations

Educational Uses of Simulations

Educational Simulations Overview

Simulation Articles

Six Criteria of an Educational Simulation

More Simulations


Simulations for the Classroom


River City Project


Master Tools

More Simulation Resources

Sim School Resources

Simulations for the Classroom  US Institute of Peace


1. Explore the above SIMULATION resources

2. With a partner(s), brainstorm & dream up  Board Game ideas (see some examples compliments of Bernie Dodge and SDSU students). How might you digitize "board games" ? (Inspiration, web pages, multimedia, etc.?) Could your students create games electronically?

2. Continue to work on your tech integration recipes, and planning format if still necessary.  REVAMP your old lesson plan to reflect technology integration . Group work: share your recipe thoughts and ideas, lessons and ways to revamp for technology integration with your group/partner.