Tablet Use in class Simulation and Designing Interventions involving Complex Crisis

JUPS271 (01), "Conflict Transformation" is a required seminar class for the Major and Minor in Justice and Peace Studies Program (JUPS) and offered every semester. Each section typically has around 20 students enrolled. The course objectives are learning theories, models and interventions that transform society following periods of violence, atrocities, wars, genocide, humanitarian crisis and economic collapse. The goal of using the ITEL project was to bring real world problems into the classroom and allow students to engage with the challenges of designing interventions in complex crisis. Using ITEL project and technology I designed in class simulation to replicated real world problems involving "crisis decision making". I planned to transform several components of learning in this class with my participation in ITEL "Cohort Track A" and incorporate "Deepening Discourse and Engagement with Tablet Computing".


Students engaged with a real world simulation based on current crisis. Different stakeholders and perspective into looking at the crisis were identified. Each student was placed in a team of 5 different actors involved in designing an intervention to a real world crisis. Each team was provided with access to Google Drive in an IPad with specific material including websites, pictures, newspaper articles and memos pertaining to a particular perspective. Each team member was given an IPad and a limited amount of time to work in teams and in designing an intervention based on the specific information provided for their group. Each group had one hour and access to an IPad to prepare for a policy style briefing in front of their peers. Teams were encouraged to use the IPad tablets in their presentation. Following the simulation, students debriefed the challenges in "crisis decision making". They also had to participate in a post simulation survey and assessing the pressure of working on a time limit and in teams compared to making decisions individually and in a non-stressful conditions. This would allow participants to evaluate the challenges of designing interventions and crisis decision making.


There were three main outcomes based on technology enhanced simulation.

  1. Students had to make team presentations providing a sketch/map of actors, context and content as it relates to the working in groups. In each area they had to present by categorizing and outlining specific interventions based on their teams collective decision making. The decision made by the teams were then compared to the real world current policy on the issues. Discussion followed on similarity and differences in crisis decision making and the role of technology.
  2. After the presentations and at the end of the simulation, students would write short reflections and debrief by identifying the challenges faced in their decision making and the factors that had a positive and negative impact on their decision making.
  3. Students were also asked to fill out a short survey on the skills learned (Active listening, interoperating data, analysis from multiple lens, relationship between actors and stakeholders, problem solving) and assess the role of technology in learning and problem solving.
  • Use technology to allow students to explore the complexity of crisis decision making from multiple lenses, involving multiple actors as it pertain to the disciplinary field
  • Use technology to learn problem solving skills using real world scenarios
  • Use technology to transform the boundaries of the classroom into collaborative spaces where students can interact with each other, and information
  • Use technology to interoperate and analyze information from a variety of perspectives
  • Use technology to provide spontaneous responses
  • Allow students to explore technology to interact among each other and interoperate different information from multiple perspectives
  • Allow technology to delve into experiential learning

In a short survey conducted after the simulation, students commented an increase in learning in the following areas:

  • Replicating real world scenario using technology based simulation helped better understand the complexity of crisis decision making compared to reading about it.
  • Almost all the students in class considered that participating in the simulation using iPad and technology enhanced their learning as it replicated real world in a more realistic way.
  • Using technology helped students engage better with the information instead of having folders and newspaper in paper.
  • Increase in confidence when making decisions in teams as they could use technology to do instant research when needed given the constraints of time.

I would like to explore using technology to explore other possible uses in the classroom and would likely be applying for future ITEL grants. I benefited from interacting in monthly meetings with faculty and staff and it was interesting to learn about different projects using technology.