So You Think You Can Bring Peace to the Middle East?

I’ve never used a computer game in my teaching, but Andrea Schneider and Kathleen Goodrich ‘o8 make a good case that the game PeaceMaker has a lot to teach dispute resolution students.  The game puts players into the position of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President, with an opportunity to achieve peace and win a Nobel Prize or fail and lose office.  Andrea and Kathleen describe how the game can be used to teach principles of dispute resolution in a new paper entitled “The Classroom Can Be All Fun & Games.”  Their paper, which is available on SSRN here, was recently published at 25 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 87.  The abstract appears after the jump.  Do readers have any other suggestions for computer games that can be usefully incorporated into law-school teaching?

Different areas of study have developed “serious games”, videogames with a message beyond pure entertainment, to test the application of differing frameworks to particular problems. The video game PeaceMaker, created by ImpactGames, simulates the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and allows the participants to take on the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President. This simulation can be used as a teaching mechanism that allows students to gain hands-on experience in applying several dispute resolution concepts as they work toward achieving peace and winning the game. This article discusses the use of serious gaming in education and specifically the use of PeaceMaker to study theories and practices of conflict resolution. The article describes the PeaceMaker’s overall structure, function, and applicability in the classroom, as well as the theories and concepts of international conflict resolution that can be taught through its use.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tom Kamenick

    One that jumped into my mind were the games at

    This is Sandra Day O’Connor’s project. I doubt they would be valuable as a serious tool at the law school level, though. They seem aimed at middle school kids, having problems with blatantly obvious answers to anyone with even a modicum of legal knowledge.

    I remember attending the talk that the makers of PeaceMaker gave at Marquette a couple years ago. At the time, I remember playing the game and thinking that it didn’t accurately recreate the situation in Israel, but did provide a very robust interface and complex gameplay mechanics.

    I wonder if their engine could be modified to utilize user-created inputs for the starting situation and goals and characteristics of the factions? That could be a highly useful tool, I think.

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