|The Interactive Communications & Simulations Group at the University of Michigan has served the K-16 community for over 30 years. We support a dynamic assortment of innovative web-based programs harnessing the power of simulation gaming, activism and service learning, and social networking for educational purposes. Our working model of the Internet is not just as a passive repository for information, but as an interactive space where new kinds of learning can occur. Thousands of students from over 400 public and private schools in 36 American states and 25 countries overseas have been involved in ICS exercises. In networking together far-flung classes of students together with their teachers and university mentors, ICS creates “global classrooms” which may be comprised of hundreds of students, but which are manageable because of the structure of the exercises.
A small group of educators at the University of Michigan form the core of ICS. Working closely with classroom teachers, we have developed a range of student-centered activities that have gripped and challenged young people around the world. While the projects are carefully designed to foster unique student learning opportunities, they also allow teachers the flexibility to meet existing curricular objectives.
ICS programs are not distance-learning courses in the traditional sense of the term. Rather, they are collaborative projects defined by extended interactions between students at different schools, thematic content in a variety of subject areas, opportunities for personal engagement through character-play, self-expression or social activism, and (often) involvement of university-level mentors under the supervision of the project directors. Each project involves meaningful, often intensive, communication among K-12 students, mentors, and facilitators. ICS activities use custom-built environments specific to each project’s goals.
Thinking about joining? Contact us. Most programs run late September through December and again late January through April.