Chance, Choice and Change: The Joy of Learning
In this address, Fred Goodman will speculate about why games may be useful in getting
people to “change their minds” as contrasted to “preserving their beliefs.” The subtitle
involves the kind of mind-changing he hopes for the most … getting people who see
learning as a necessary evil to “change their minds” and see learning as a never ending
process that they look forward to with excitement and joy.
Frederick L. Goodman is a Professor of Education Emeritus at the University of
Michigan who has specialized in the design of information systems, simulations and
academic games for close to five decades. In the 1960’s he was a consultant to the then
U.S. Office of Education with responsibility for the design of the decentralized
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC).
In the late 1960’s and 70’s he created games as diverse as They Shoot Marbles, Don’t
They? to teach Detroit area school children about police-community relations after the
Detroit riots; The End of the Line to teach a variety of professionals about problems their
patients and clients might experience as they age; a TV Game Show called Decisions,
Decisions piloted by NBC aimed at weaning the public from Jeopardy-like trivia shows
by focusing action on asking good questions and processing the answers logically; and
LogiFax, a game that puts a premium on learners designing games rather than just
Since 1984 he has been involved with a program at the University of Michigan School of
Education called the Interactive Communications & Simulations (ICS) program devoted
to connecting schools around the world for intensive, term-long, exercises such as a
simulation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is the author of several entries in American
Educational Research Association (AERA) sponsored Handbooks and Encyclopedias on
"Instructional Gaming" as well as numerous articles on the subject.
He was active in NASAGA from the mid-1970’s through the early 90’s. Now residing in
Westlake Village in the Los Angeles area, he is still active designing exercises with the
ICS group at the University of Michigan.
Gaza, the Rez, and No Hair: How Games and Activities Can Turn
Trauma into Triumph
As game developers and facilitators, we have the power to change the world. Upper
class urbanites in North America are looking for connection with others and inner peace
just as desperately as people stuck in Gaza are hoping for connection with others and
global peace. And Stephanie knows it. Sharing experiences using games around the
world, including how activities helped her cope with her own life-threatening illness,
Stephanie shows how games can connect and heal. Stephanie will explore research on
behavioral economics, motivation, happiness, innovation, technology and social
development, and experience vs. memory. And why we should care. Stephanie will
challenge us to cross disciplines, connect around meaning and purpose, and use our
skills to make the world a better place . . . one person at a time. By the end of this
keynote, NASAGA will have made a positive difference in the world. Start thinking about
your favorite group game, and get ready to morph it into a personal experience for real
Stephanie Pollack, MA, is an interculturally and artistically focused experiential
educator, trainer, facilitator, writer, and consultant. Stephanie has 20 years of experience
working in a variety of cultures and environments on 6 continents. With her business
Creative Facilitations she develops and leads innovative organizational and individual
transformation processes, retreats, trainings, educational programs, and community
building events around the globe. Clients include Royal Caribbean Cruises, University of
Virginia, Mercy Corps - Gaza, and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Stephanie is passionate
about combining the arts and interactive methods to inspire ‘A-Ha’ moments for cultural
proficiency, conflict prevention, leadership and team development, and healing.
Stephanie’s life experiences, including a few near death ones, have helped her to
appreciate the joys that can exist in this world . . . and she spreads this positive energy
everywhere she goes.
Stephanie wanted to attend university in Canada and major in theatre. Her father
requested she do neither. A respectful daughter, she complied. She’s spent most of the
past 20 years traveling the world and playing theatre games, grateful that she knew her
calling as a teenager and determined to live it fully as an adult.
The Fun Factor
The last time we were in Vancouver (2007), a few of us (namely me) were especially
provoked, thought-wise, to learn that simulation games don't have to be fun. Though the
veracity of that particular observation is unquestionable, it does bring up another
question: what does fun contribute to a simulation game? To the players' experience? To
the learning? To the effectiveness of the simulation? OK. So it brings up a lot of
questions. Some of which I hope to address in this keynote. The rest of which I hope to
stimulate you to answer for yourselves.
Bernie DeKoven's lifelong belief that things can be made more fun led him to develop
and implement new ways of playing, New Games for groups of all ages and sizes, from
singles, couples and families to schools, communities and cities.
In his book, The Well Played Game, he voiced a philosophy of "healthy competition" that
formed the core teachings of the New Games Foundation. Bernie has designed award-
winning games for Ideal Toy Company, Children's Television Workshop, CBS Software
and Mattel Toys. Junkyard Games, based on the game Bernie introduced at the last
Vancouver meeting, is currently the most successful simulations available from HRDQ
Bernie is a lifetime member of The Association for the Study of Play and winner of the
2006 Iffil-Raynolds award for "outstanding achievement in the field of fun" from the North
American Simulation and Gaming Association. Bernie is the author of
the deepFUN.com website.