09 May 2014

Games Without Frontiers 2.0, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Moved My Blog

(yes, this is a promo video for IB Global Politics at NBPS)

A recent episode on Twitter, one where a server error (apparently) caused my account to revert to my old user name, lose my Twitter handle, and forced me to create a second account and recover the @games_frontiers brand I have spent the last year cultivating, has resulted in a change in the way in which I work online. This #twitterfail was actually a blessing in disguise; far too many of my academic interests (world politics, simulations, progressive educational pedagogy, and interacting with students) had become entangled with tweets about Manchester United, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, music, pub life, and more. This bifurcation of life on Twitter (a phrase I never thought any sane person would utter) has also accelerated a project that I had started working on earlier this spring; moving the Games Without Frontiers blog and brand beyond the Google/Blogger platform.

One of my goals for the upcoming 2014-15 school year is to write more reflective pieces about the work the students and I do in class; everything from simulations and games to reporting on feedback and reflective, summative assessments. This is something that I started 2013-14 doing very well but fell off as trips abroad, the wedding, and finishing my dissertation took more and more of my time. A related goal for the coming school year and beyond is to actually write more about two of the topics in educational research that interest me most; student engagement and narrative feedback as a formative assessment tool. Publishing these ideas to the blog will allow me to flesh out ideas that will eventually end up at conferences and in publication. With one article already submitted and another in draft for submission later this month, expanding my research, presentation, and writing is something I certainly want to continue spending my time on. Finally, my experience this past year on Twitter and to some extent on this blog, has led me to conclude that there are far more opportunities to engage and collaborate with educators around the globe, to be what Silvia Tolisano refers to as a "connected educator", than I am currently taking advantage of. I feel that I can do this better than I am currently if I expand and improve my blog by migrating it to Wordpress, as well as spend more time in academic-only social spaces such as Twitter and Google+. For all these reasons and more, there will be no more updates to this space after 1 June 2014. All future posts will be on: (I've also archived all of the old posts from Blogger to this site).

Part of this move has to do with the issue of intellectual property. This blog is hosted and maintained by my school; at some level, I do not own the ideas, plans, and other information I post here. With my dissertation complete, I plan to write and publish more in the realm of student engagement and narrative feedback. The work I do with the International Baccalaureate with IB Global Politics beyond my own teaching also rubs against the narrow construction that this is a 'school-only' workspace. Maintaining sole ownership of my ideas is vitally important as I move to turn blog posts that become conference papers and then transform into publications.

Not to worry; I have no intention of ever deleting this blog. There are far too many posts, comments, and links to resources on simulations and games, student engagement, and lesson plans here to abandon this project. In fact, I would love to see my colleagues who are a part of the IB Global Politics pilot start to post their own class' work here (I can help facilitate this by making you co-authors if you want). I hope that all of faculty and students who come into the IB Global Politics community will use these resources as we continue to move IB Global Politics from pilot to open offer to the thousands of IB DP schools in the next few years.

For students, particularly those heading into their second year of IB Global Politics at NBPS, I have every confidence that your experience will be enhanced by this shift. All of our work-weekly postings, plans, readings, resource, and more-will still be pushed to my NBPS Google+ page. Many of you already receive our course information within this network, so you won't be impacted by the change. You should also see that I'm already ramping up the frequency of current events articles and other Glopo-related items on the Google+ page. I also want to encourage you to follow a few of your intrepid colleagues and become engaged in discussions about all things Glopo (current events, chats on simulations and games, etc) on Twitter via @games_frontiers. This will also allow us to stay in touch about class and your EEs over the summer as you head off for internships, travel, or the beach. Finally, you can peruse the new Games Without Frontiers to see some of the new features, assessments, and other content (for example, two years' worth of unit plans for IB Global Politics will be published here before the end of summer) that I've been working on. For graduating seniors; I fully expect that we'll continue to discuss coffee and non-Glopo items of dubious interest on Twitter once you've recovered from successfully navigating your IB exams and the perils of not tripping over your gown as you receive your diploma.

Thank you to all of the students, colleagues, parents, discussants, retweeters, and readers who have interacted with this blog in the past 15 months. I sincerely hope that you migrate over to the new Games Without Frontiers and continue to, or better year, expand your engagement in our shared interest in world politics, the use of simulations and games, and progressive educational practices. Any success I've had in constructing and disseminating the approach/ideas/implementation of how we do IB Global Politics at NBPS on this would not have been possible without your input and participation-thank you.

Games Without Frontiers
Engaging the study of world politics through simulations & games

05 May 2014

Updates for IB Global Politics

I know that many of you have been following this blog on Google+. If you're not doing so already-especially if you're a student at NBPS-then you want to be sure to head over to that page and add IB Global Politics to your circles.

I'll be posing updates for IB Global Politics on Google+ and Twitter in the coming days & weeks that may not appear on this blog. Please be sure you're keeping up with the latest and greatest #glopo topics on either of those social networks.

02 May 2014

The week ahead in IB Global Politics

Image (c) 2014 New York Times

IB Glopo HL1
5 May: Finish discussion of Kaufmann, C. (1996). Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil War. International Security, 20(4), 136-175. Prep for simulation, Bamara Border Dispute
6 May: Simulation & debrief, Bamara Border Dispute
8 May: Read, Byman, D. (2002). Dilemmas and choices. In Keeping the peace: Lasting solutions to ethnic conflicts (pp. 213-225). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
9 May: Play, Review Roulette with Byman (2002)

In addition, you should be reading the following articles outside of class this week: Stearns, J. (2013). Helping Congo help itself. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved September/October, 2013, from; Stearns, J. (2013, November 11). Congo's sudden calm. Retrieved from

IB Glopo HL2
5 May: Current Events; CFR: The World Next Week
6 May: Current Events; BBC: Global News
8 May: Mock Paper 2-Development
9 May: Review and debrief on Paper 2

01 May 2014

US warns of South Sudan genocide

Images (c) BBC News

US warns of South Sudan genocide. (2014, May 1). Retrieved from 

A great and timely article on identity-based conflict in South Sudan. Be sure to read this tonight, before tackling Kaufmann, C. (1996). Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil War. International Security, 20(4), 136-175 tomorrow in class. What does Kaufmann's theory tell us about the conflict in South Sudan? What sort of policy options are available to political elites in South Sudan/in regional capitals/around the world?