Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Real Life Simulations

In the article Former Justice Promotes Web-Based Civics Lessons, Sandra Day O’Connor “explained why she had embraced the Internet and interactive digital media as an essential tool for preserving American democracy. In cooperation with Georgetown University Law Center and Arizona State University, Justice O’Connor is helping develop a Web site and interactive civics curriculum for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students called Our Courts (http://www.ourcourts.org)/.” She also goes on to say “she had seen in her children and especially her grandchildren how involving interactive media can be and noted that interactive education can in some ways be more effective than traditional methods.”

I’m glad to see public officials who are retired, using their knowledge to help our students and using technology to do this. This woman is 78 years old and isn’t using excuses that she doesn’t use technology or doesn’t know how to do certain things to keep her from doing something to keep on making a difference. Who would better know the process of the court system than a United States Supreme Court Justice. I think this will be more meaningful to students because they will have knowledge of what a judge may be looking at.

My husband is a retired judge and I can’t tell you how many times I come home ranting and raving about a certain issue and he has to look at it from different perspectives. I know that he has done it for many years and it is second nature for him. I am the type that will fight for my student’s rights and only tend to see it from my perspective. Sometimes his attitude drives me crazy but it also helps me step back and see how other people may see an issue. This “take a breath” action helps me to think about the situation instead of reacting to a situation.

Hopefully this new site will help teenagers to see issues from a different perspective too. I am interested in seeing what issues will be available for students to “debate” and what the outcomes will be. This is a great way to see the court system in action by being involved in a safe situation. Maybe some adults need to try this out too!

I realized how these kinds of sites would be perfect for a special education student. This would be a safe environment that is open to teachable moments and is relevant to their daily lives. Now that a judge is doing this, can we also have a site created by a policeman and teacher.? Students could play the part of the policeman, teacher, or citizen. Maybe we could have simulations with banks where you go in and set up checking and saving accounts. (Maybe there are these sites and I just don’t know it). How about a simulation to get power, phone, and water turned on in a new home. There could even be simulations where students could practice customer service and play the part of the clerk or the customer. I have lots of ideas, no knowledge on how to make a site like this, and maybe I’m just living in a dream world. But, hey, you have to keep the dream alive!

Photo credit: Courtroom Drama by Erin Nealey

No comments: