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Chapter 1. Communicability in Educationa... > TAKING SIMULATION FURTHER

TAKING SIMULATION FURTHER

We have seen already the features of human computer interaction that arise when students and tutors interact with a fairly basic simulated digital office environment, however in the future it is likely that simulations will become even more elaborate, making use of increasingly sophisticated software and allowing the integration of further multimedia technologies. Further development of existing software will allow participating students and tutors to take part in simulations remotely via mobile phones, Blackberrys, iphones and other devices used while on the move. Mobile technology will also facilitate the use of alerts that draw the participants' attention to the arrival of a new piece of information related to the scenario in which they are currently involved. It is anticipated that attempts to increase realism will mean that digital simulations will begin to include also the integration of phone calls and recorded phone messages between characters in the simulation. Furthermore, the use of streamed video of client interviews, court hearings, advertisements for example as well as a move towards allowing students to create their own content for upload beyond the word processed documents that they currently use as currency in the simulation. This might include their own video and audio files of interviews, photographs of evidence and photographs and video of crime scenes and other pertinent locations. Architectural simulations might in the future allow the integration of CAD drawings or other drawing/viewing software and medical simulations might allow the integration of case notes and x-ray photographs for example.

It is also likely in the future that educational simulations will take place over ever larger geographical areas, crossing physical land and language borders, which will bring with it its own new set of user requirements. To date there has been one example of an international project, which was a simulation that took place in the Cyberdam environment in May 2009. 2 teams of Dutch law students negotiated an employment tribunal against 2 teams of Scottish students without the necessity of them having to meet physically, or pay for expensive international telephone calls. The project was a success, but was arguably only possible due to there being an English language version of the virtual environment available. Future projects involving other countries where neither Dutch nor English is spoken would require further translation of the site before simulation activities could proceed. Moving beyond simulation exercises that are confined to a particular subject area, there are plans at Strathclyde University for interdisciplinary projects that involve students studying for qualifications in various professions to interact with others studying for qualifications in professions with whom their future professional selves they might need to interact. For example one could imagine students of legal studies acting on behalf of architecture students who are themselves acting as project managers on a construction project. All of this of course adds to the richness of the educational experience and gives students a taste of the activities they might encounter when they reach the real world of work.


  

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