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07/02/2010 - ISAGA 2010 Conference Slated at Riverpoint

Next week, Spokane will see a number of international visitors who will attend the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) conference held at Eastern Washington University, Spokane on the Riverpoint Campus -- July 5 to July 9. The Riverpoint conference will be the 41st ISAGA annual conference, but the first one ever held in the Western United States. Furthermore, this conference has been held in the U. S. only four previous times. "This is a unique conference for Spokane, and equally unique for ISAGA," explains Elizabeth Murff, PhD, conference chair.

ISAGA's tag line is "changing the world through meaningful play," and it is an international organization, incorporated in the Netherlands, for scientists and practitioners developing and using simulation, gaming, and related methodologies. The methodologies include: simulation, gaming, role-play, structured experiences, policy exercises, computerized simulation, play, virtual reality, game theory, debriefing, experiential learning, and active learning. The five day conference will include papers, talks, and activities featuring all of those topics. Professionals will come from universities, industry, government and business. ISAGA has no interest in gambling; only in "learning games."

One highlight will be a game conceived of and developed by an eleven-year-old. Other notable sessions will include Retired Air Force captain Allan Hagelthorn, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for outmaneuvering multiple SCUD missiles while piloting a B-52 during the Persian Gulf War, who will explain how "simulations which were part of the Air Force's pilot training helped save his life and the lives of his crew." Also presenting will be Dr. Robbie Paul, a member of the Nez Perce tribe and the WSU faculty, who will demonstrate a millennia-old Native American teaching technique -- interactive storytelling. The three stories she plans to demonstrate teach valuable lessons on self-esteem, anger management and facing your fears. Sessions will include both lecture presentations, and several game playing sessions 'where the attendees will actually play the games.

For game playing sessions, the presenter will explain: what is in the game; what the game is meant to teach; and then the players will play and critique the game in terms of whether or not it did the job. Game sessions will include board games as well as other types of simulations and computer based games. All games are for learning 'for the teacher and for the student. According to Murff, "ISAGA has tremendous value for educators at all levels, including K-12, who want to move learning away from rote memorization and towards the utilization of concepts. These methods have a profound effect on the student's ability to learn, retain, and use various skill sets. Attendees use the conference's interaction to help perfect their games, and in many cases will %u2018get the next great, new idea'."

Although the conference is International with attendees from Austria, Belgium, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA, the conference is in English. Anyone interested is invited to register an participate. Full conference registration is available for both ISAGA members and non-members. In addition one-day registrations are also available. "Anyone who just wants to find out what it's all about via a 1-day registration would find the Tuesday, July 6 program most interesting and accessible, says Murff. That is the day Dr. Paul will presenting. However, "all days are good." Conference proceeding will be published.

Murff, with the help of Dr. Rex Fuller, Dean of the School of Business and co-chair, and the business school staff, pulled the conference at Riverpoint together in only a year and a half after the original conference site had to cancel. Along with EWU, other conference sponsors include Washington State University, Spokane, which will open their simulation labs for conference tours, and the University of Washington. Other sponsors include: Simulation & Gaming Journal, ProfitEntree 'Profitability Software and Consulting, and Focus Group Marketing and Creative Services.

The world is coming to Spokane. Dr. Murff invites you all to "come and learn good stuff. Students learn best by trying things out in an active way. It is much better for learning that static lectures."

To learn more about ISAGA, visit www.isaga.info. To learn more about ISAGA 2010 or to register, visit isaga2010.wordpress.com.

Billie Moreland
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