Global Simulations

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What is a Global Simulation?

A Global Simulation is a task-based approach to teaching language, developed in France, that places students in the center of the world of the target culture for an extended period of time (usually a semester). Through the use of authentic materials and activities, learners become immersed in the culture virtually. Global Simulations are built around a premise or situation, e.g., living in a U.S. dormitory or working at the Smithsonian museum. Learners complete tasks that may contribute to a final project that wraps up the simulation.

Three key components of a Global Simulation:

  • reality of function - students suspend their disbelief and act as though the simulation was real
  • simulated environment - students function realistically, but in an unreal environment
  • structure - students have a series of tasks that become increasingly demanding

Where can I find out more about Global Simulations?

Educating Global Citizens through Global Simulation - listen to Beatrice Dupuy at the University of Arizona talk about implementing Global Simulations in Russian and Turkish language classrooms

Global Simulation in Russian - visit the website of the Russian Global Simulation at the University of Arizona

A Global Simulation Intermediate-Advanced Russian Instructor Resource Manual - read a detailed manual about the Global Simulation project at University of Arizona

Le cirque: A Global Simulation - learn about the French Global Simulation at the Language Academy in San Diego

Global Simulation. Project Director: Beatrice Dupuy. Selected Bibliography - investigate academic resources on Global Simulations

The Building: An Adaptation of Francis Debyser's Writing Project. A Global Simulation to Teach Language and Culture - read about the process of designing and implementing a Global Simulation

Alternate Reality Games (ARG's)

What is an ARG?

ARG stands for Alternate Reality Game. These games are played by a carefully planned blending of reality and fiction, real world places and virtual spaces (online spaces), and individual know how and the power of group collaboration.

A story is the driving force behind an ARG. Like any good detective story, this story contains a series of problems that need to be solved in order to figure out “who’s done it”. You can think of the story like Scooby-Do. You’re minding your own business, traveling around in the mystery machine, and you end up in a town where something has gone wrong, or someone needs help. So you and your friends, being the natural detectives you are, help solve the problem/mystery. So you start “poking your noses in other people’s business” and after putting together various clues you have come up with a hypothesis. Then you set out to enact your plan of capturing the culprit behind the problem (solving the overarching problem). And of course at the end you catch the person(s) behind the problem…but wait it’s not really pirate ghosts (or is it ghost pirates?) its old man Willy and his sons! And “they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you and your lousy dog”.

Unlike Scooby-Do, we have the power of technology and more specifically the internet and all that comes with it. The blending of real world places and virtual spaces is a key component of creating an immersive story. This immersion can be created by using the medium of the internet i.e. blogs, wikis, YouTube, twitter, WebPages, and so on. The real world integration can come in the form of artifacts and interaction (posters, fliers, news papers, phones or Guerilla Theater).

Drawing on individual player’s skills and interests can be a very powerful method of creating investment or a “hook” into the game. The skills that individuals bring to game play can be magnified by group collaboration. Collaboration is usually an essential piece to the story/game because the clues and puzzles that players encounter are too difficult for individuals to figure out. In essence collaboration is a crucial part of the game and should be necessary for its completion.

Some useful web sites related to ARG’s:

From more background on what they are and how they are played, as well as a few examples, are listed below:

• Educause 7 things about ARG’s:

• Wikipedia ARG info:

• Quick and dirty guide to ARG’s:

• Unfiction, detailed info about ARG’s:

• Local games lab, an educational ARG example:

• District 9: