One of the key challenges of teaching a college survey course such as introductory American government is the lack of interest on the part of students, many of whom take the course to satisfy a general-education requirement. Recognizing that young people are fascinated by video games, the author devised a governance simulation built on the popular computer game SimCity. Although the video-game industry designed these sophisticated simulations to be played by a single participant rather than a large group, the author created a simple set of rules that allows students to run them collectively. This article examines five factors for which an instructor must account if games such as SimCity are to have educational value. The author argues that, if conducted properly, this type of in-class exercise provides a fun and interesting way to teach students about the inherent challenges of governing in a democracy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science