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Wed, Sep 11, 2013

Quandry, a Free Online Game, Teaches Perspective Taking and Conflict Resolution

A conflict resolution game has been named game of the year at the 2013 Games for Change Festival in New York! The game, entitled Quandry, is aimed at upper elementary and middle school students. The premise is that you, as the player, are serving as the captain of a space colony. Part of your job responsibilities are to step in and assist the other colonists when disputes arise. You have to learn the various dimensions of the dispute by talking to interested parties to get their perspectives, while sorting facts from possible solutions from more general opinions or preferences. For the tough cases, you must eventually propose your solution, one that seems best based on your interviews, to a council of elders on Earth who will make the final decision. You get maximum points by listening to all the game characters, and accurately predicting how they will respond to the eventual solution, something that is only possible if you’ve come to understand each character’s point of view.

Check out the game’s trailer video here: http://www.quandarygame.org/contest

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2013 09 11 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  Fun Stuff  Learning Objects  

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Tue, May 07, 2013

Democracy is Us website launched

As a creative project developed in response to the Looking at Democracy Challenge, I recently launched a new website at http://democracyis.us/active. If you like the project, I would appreciate your vote of encouragement. Voting for the Popular Choice Award runs from May 6-16, 2013. 

The project seeks to promote conflict resolution in education as a core foundation for democratic living. I had some fun with the design, developing a “parallax” side scrolling scene where a biker rides along the “pathway to democracy” passing various reminders of good practice. You can even swap bikes if you prefer a different ride than the initial high wheel bike. Also included is a timeline of examples of people-powered nonviolent actions for change and a calendar that lists information on world holidays, peacemaker birthdays and more. At the center of the site, however, are the videos showing a selection of good examples of conflict resolution education (broadly defined) being enacted in schools and communities. Also provided are some core resources should the viewer decide to try and implement some of these ideas where they are.

Here’s the entry description:

Democracy works best with an educated citizenry who have developed skills of conflict resolution, public engagement, and civility as part of their schooling experience. This proposal harkens back to the philosophy of education espoused by pragmatist John Dewey in his 1916 book Democracy in Education, while looking forward at the positive strides being made in conflict resolution skills development in education. Democracy can get us where we need to go, but it is human-powered. Making it work requires a proper education and the ability to work with others often unlike ourselves. However, by getting involved and engaging with others we can all look forward to an interesting and productive journey. Democracy is us! Ride on!

Also, please check out the prezi, embedded below, that I developed to explain the project’s focus.



I was hoping to include a bike riding game on the site, wherein the biker has to navigate some tricky terrain and avoid various obstacles to democratic practice, but I ran out of time, so I guess it will have to wait till after the contest wraps up in June when I’ll be free to make additional changes to the site. In any case, I do hope you like it and share the site with others. Ride on!

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2013 05 07 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  Fun Stuff  Learning Objects  Tech News  

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Sun, Oct 11, 2009

Collection of Political Cartoons on Obama’s Receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize

Here’s a fascinating (and sometimes funny or a bit painful) collection of the political cartoons reacting to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. It was pulled together by Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonist Index site.
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Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 10 11 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Thu, Oct 01, 2009

CR Day Drawing to Win Free Conflict Resolution Education Games

As part of the International Conflict Resolution Day festivities, the Conflict Resolution Education Connection that I run is hosting a giveaway of conflict resolution educational games. If you are over 18 years old and are affiliated with either a K-12 school or a college or university you can enter to win.

Harmony Island CaseThe Grand Prize winner will get copies of both Harmony Island: A Conflict Resolution Tropical Adventure (appropriate for grades 6-12) and a Cool School: Where Peace Rules! USB flash drive package with great educational resources preloaded (appropriate for grades K-3), and a special Teachers Calendar providing lots of Conflict Resolution tools and tips. 

flashdrive packageWe will be giving away 4 additional copies of each game (in addition to the Grand Prize pair). When you complete the entry form (link is located in our CR Interactives collection of games pages) you’ll need to let us know which of the two games you prefer. (Get more info on Harmony Island or Cool School on that page).

Winners will be chosen at noon (Eastern Time) on International Conflict Resolution Day and alerted via email. Good luck!

Cool School Characters

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 10 01 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Mon, May 25, 2009

PowerPoint Game Templates

Educators interested in adding some interactivity to their presentations will appreciate the work already done for you in these PowerPoint Game Templates provided courtesy of the Jefferson County Schools in Dandridge, TN.
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Available templates include:

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader
Password
Wheel of Fortune
Jeopardy
Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Twenty Questions
Guess the Covered Word
Holiday Squares
Weakest Link
Concentration

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 05 25 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Sun, Jan 18, 2009

The Dream Continued - Songs Inspired by MLK

TheDreamContinued.org is a creative music project celebrating the spirit of Martin Luther King through music and raising money for non-profits that King would have been proud of. The project was started by Maya Armstrong, who happens to be the daughter of my OTL colleague Anne-Marie Armstrong, on MLK Day in 2008. While listening to a recently discovered sermon of Dr. King?s Maya decided to write a song celebrating King’s voice and vision and to put out a call to other musicians. The result a year later is really exciting. There are now free downloads of 30 truly inspiring songs that are also available for purchase on two CDs entitled DREAM ON! (folk-Americana-indie rock styles on one disc and R&B, jazz, world, gospel on the other). Listeners are invited to donate to a number of good causes and to send pictures of themselves flashing their peace sign. Here’s more description of the project from the site:

Our vision can be summarized by two quotes of Dr. King’s:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”

These two quotes encompass much of Dr. King’s message. The first addresses the what: the importance of recognizing and standing up to injustices in society, and the second implies the how: to effect true and lasting change, we must first begin with our own hearts.

Furthermore, we recognize that Dr. King’s dream neither began nor ended with him. It is our intention to help build a community that tolerates neither racism nor any other divisive “ism” and that continues to actively work toward a positive, peaceful future.

The overall message conveyed by the songs in the Dream On! compilation is positive and uplifting yet thought-provoking. It is at once a celebration of the progress we’ve made and a challenge to recognize and stand up to continuing injustices in our society and in the world at large.

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Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 01 18 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Sat, Mar 22, 2008

Facade - Interactive Game that Draws You into the Drama

A company called Interactive Story has created a “interactive drama of one act” called Facade in which you play as a party guest witnessing the unfolding of a marital conflict. You have no single objective: you can heighten the tension by flirting with one spouse or the other; try to reconcile the couple, or just watch as the scene unfolds. You interact with the game by moving around the apartment and picking up items or by typing comments to add to the dialogue. The game uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine to drive the game. Depending on what you say (or in this case type), the narrative goes in a different direction. The game is a free download, available for both Window and Macintosh platforms. The advanced nature of the characters’ AI may signal a coming change the gaming landscape, creating new opportunities for interaction and learning.

Conflict Resolution practitioners may find it challenging to be caught in the middle of a clearly conflicted relationship. How will you handle it?  Check out this video trailer from the game to get a better feel for the experience or download a copy and try it for yourself.

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2008 03 22 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Fri, Mar 14, 2008

Mediation in Higher Ed - Like an Argument with Boxing Gloves?

The Times Higher Education, at their newly revamped website, recently published a story discussing a visit to the UK from folks at the Georgia State University-based Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, leaders in systemic conflict resolution within Higher Education in the United States. The story is entitled “Experts outline a collegial way to resolve conflict”. What struck me as funny was the quote from a professor supporting the notion of mediation in higher education. He notes that mediation, when compared to current grievance systems, “is almost like getting back to the old days where academics used to be able to have a good argument with everyone wearing the same size boxing gloves.” Oh really?

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2008 03 14 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Tue, Jun 19, 2007

Make Beliefs Comix Creator

Now you can create your own comix strip online with the fast and easy Make Beliefs Comix Online Educational Comic Generator (for Kids of All Ages). The Flash-based tool lets you build multi-panel comics with talk or thought balloons that can be printed (to a pdf on my mac) or emailed to others. The site was created by Bill Zimmerman, author of Make Beliefs: A Gift for Your Imagination and illustrator Tom Bloom.

comic of faculty conflict

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2007 06 19 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Thu, Apr 26, 2007

Animated New Yorker Magazine Cartoons

Thanks to Ringtales, you can now laugh along with animated New Yorker cartoons, and receive new ones three times a week as they are released via a podcast feed. Great fun.

cartoon choices

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2007 04 26 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Wed, Feb 28, 2007

Virginia is for Peacemakers - New Peace License Plate for Virginia

sample license plate The American University International Peace and Conflict Resolution blog reports that
The Virginia General Assembly has approved the production of a new specialty license plate that will promote community peacebuilding and contribute to the financial support of community conflict resolution centers across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia ?Peace Plate,? was designed by Roanoker Liz Frankl.

Before DMV can begin to manufacture the plates, 350 vehicle owners need to agree in advance to purchase the plates. Application forms are available at (see http://www.vaccr.org/peaceplate.htm or can be obtained by sending a self-addressed and stamped envelope to VACCR Plate, c/o Conflict Resolution Center, P.O. Box 1185, Roanoke, VA 24006.

The tagline is “Community Peacebuilding”. Great idea!

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2007 02 28 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Sat, Dec 23, 2006

Chasm - a Challenging Game for Puzzle Solvers

Some talented game developers in Australia got together at the Game On site and they have produced some really cool games. Game On is an initiative designed to foster, develop and support innovation in Australia?s digital media industry. Check out Chasm and see if you can be a hero and save the town! (requires Flash 6 or higher)

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Chasm Game

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 12 23 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Thu, Sep 28, 2006

Online Motivational Poster Maker

For a bit of fun or just to express some pent-up creativity, check out this online motivational poster maker. The free online service lets you link to a photo from flickr or another online location or upload one of your own and then add a motivational or humorous phrase.

Shifts Happen

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 09 28 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Fri, Sep 01, 2006

Official Seal Generator

Check out this free online “Official Seal Generator”. Now you too can look official!

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Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 09 01 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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Mon, Jul 31, 2006

Higher Ed Cartoons from MatthewHenryHall.com

If you’re looking for a break and some humor, check out these Higher-Ed cartoons from Matthew Henry Hall. There are some real funny ones. For instance, “Publish or Paris” made me laugh. What tickles your funny bone?
Cartoon from matthewhenryhall.com

  

Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 07 31 | Filed under Fun Stuff  

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