In one classic simulation named Barnga (1990), which focuses on cultural clashes that develop quickly amongst peoples of all cultures, participants are asked to experience the shock of realizing that despite their good intentions and despite the many similarities among them, people interpret things differently from one another in profound ways, especially people from differing cultures. Participants have observed and learnt through simulations, such as Barnga, that they both can-and-must understand, as well as reconcile--these differences if they want to function effectively in a cross-cultural groups. (Pittenger & Heimann 1998; Suematsu, Takadama, Shimohara, Katai & Arai 2003/2004, Thiagarajan & Thiagarajan 2006).
Recently, a variety of modeling agents, including agent-based models (Axelrod, 1997; Fortino, Garro, Russo, 2005; Hughes, Clegg, Robinson, & Crowder, 2012), have been combined with classic game-simulations in order to studying a variety of topics, such as in studying the impact of publication venues by researchers in the computer-science domain or how behaviors can be taught and learned among newcomers in any new global work community, i.e., as performed regularly in the BARNGA simulation.
The purpose of this theoretical and educational-change-oriented paper is (a) to encourage the wider usage of simulations, such as Barnga, in our schools and in educational & administrative training environments, (b) understand the cross-curricular nature of such simulations and the requisite learning made possible through debriefing and repeated participation in such activities, and (c) to provide a framework for evaluating which sorts of simulation and group-work activities & learning projects work best in the Middle Eastern context. Finally, this paper also provides an overview (and checklists) of simulation employment and utilization intended for interested educators. This focus on procedure is very pertinent in the Omani context because new procedures for course delivery and for certificates and diplomas are strongly advised by the Omani Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA, 2009a,b).
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