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Teachers Teaching Teachers #118 - Interactive Communications and Simulations with Jeff Stanzler - 08.20.08

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  • Length: 55:05 minutes (12.59 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 31Kbps (VBR)

Our guests on this podcast were:

  • Jeff Stanzler. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, School of Education, Interactive Communications and Simulations, USA
  • Kurt Hansen, government teacher, Bishop Hartley High School, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Abbi Gee, English teacher, Da Vinci High School, Jackson, Michigan, USA
  • Traci Gizzi, social studies teacher, Winston Curchilll High School, Livonia, Michigan, USA

Listen to learn about the web-based simulations and writing projects
hosted by the University of Michigan's Interactive Communications & Simulations group. With the help of university student mentors, students in classrooms around the world are trying to resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict, or are exploring modern China, or bringing historical figures to life as they debate the world's responsibilities in Darfur. Hear from teachers and a former university student mentor about an array of projects your students can join as soon as this fall, which offer fertile ground for exercising their creative imaginations, writing with a purpose, and sharing their ideas with an engaged audience of peers.

"arab-israeli-conflict-3," uploaded on July 20, 2006 by ManilaRyce

For Chat Log click Read more, below.


20:55:34 SusanEttenheim: hi abhoiles and sam! welcome
21:01:12 SusanEttenheim: hi davec welcome
21:01:51 Davec: hello.
21:02:50 Davec: sorry, mis-clicked.
21:05:53 Michael D.: Good evening
21:06:06 SusanEttenheim: davec can you hear us ok now?
21:06:13 Davec: I can now :-)
21:06:23 SusanEttenheim: hi michael can you hear us all? thanks davec
21:07:01 Michael D.: yes I hear you
21:08:49 SusanEttenheim: hi everyone - will you please jump in here and introduce yourself?
21:08:54 SusanEttenheim: where and what do you teach?
21:09:20 Michael D.: High School Library Media Specialist - New York
21:09:47 Davec: Dave Chamberlain - Southern NH. I am a 5th grade teacher but this year I've taken a title-1 math/math coach position in a rurual middle school.
21:09:48 SusanEttenheim: Michael as you heard, I'm without Paul tonight so jump in here whenever and help! You know the routine!
21:09:56 Michael D.: Was reviewing the simulation programs before - I'm very excited to see some of them
21:09:56 SusanEttenheim: welcome Dave!
21:10:06 Michael D.: Am I ever shy Susan? LOL
21:10:22 SusanEttenheim: dave that sounds like a big change!
21:10:37 Michael D.: Are you accepting applications for schools to participate now?
21:10:54 Davec: My undergrad is in computer science, and I did that job (with a heavy math background) for 20 years before moving into teaching a few years ago.
21:12:06 SusanEttenheim: wow Dave interesting
21:12:33 SusanEttenheim: everyone for links!
21:14:02 SusanEttenheim: hi peggy glad you're here!
21:14:08 SusanEttenheim: hi bnemeth welcome!
21:14:09 Michael D.: This might have to be answered later - but I'd like to know about whether the reading/writing level for this needs to be on grade level and specifically could ESL students participate in any of these programs and/or can it be modified to bring it down to a reading level that is accessible?
21:14:20 SusanEttenheim: please introduce yourselves - where and what do you teach?
21:14:24 Michael D.: just wanted to throw that out there while it was on my mind
21:14:25 PeggyG: Hi Susan-had this on my calendar and completely forgot to tune in-sorry I'm late
21:14:45 SusanEttenheim: good question Michael!
21:15:10 Jeffstanzler: Michael, we try our best to accommodate a reange of learners. Traci will talk about this later
21:15:31 Michael D.: ok
21:15:34 SusanEttenheim: great jeff! you see what I mean about talking and chatting together!
21:15:45 Jeffstanzler: got it, susan
21:15:50 SusanEttenheim: Hi alexr and elhelfant - glad you're here!
21:16:06 SusanEttenheim: Alex - I bet you've been involved in projects like this?
21:16:26 SusanEttenheim: ehelfant and alexr please introduce yourselves - where and what do you teach?
21:16:59 PeggyG: sorry I missed the beginning-which project are they discussing?
21:17:06 SusanEttenheim: how's the sound everyone? ok?
21:17:20 PeggyG: sound is great for me
21:17:40 Davec: I'm using winamp to listen, and it is coming in great.
21:17:49 SusanEttenheim: great! thank you
21:18:00 SusanEttenheim: davec have you done any projects like this?
21:18:23 SusanEttenheim: and peggy- have heard of projects like this? I'm thoroughly intrigued
21:18:50 PeggyG: I have but I need to listen more -not sure about their project
21:19:11 SusanEttenheim: peggy please jump in with questions anytime!
21:19:43 SusanEttenheim: welcome guest478! Just me tonight Paul is on vacation! welcome!
21:19:48 PeggyG: Thanks. I will. Is there a link for the project?
21:20:13 abhoiles:
21:20:21 Davec: I've done some paper activities that sound somewhat similar, but I like the idea of the blogging. I have to find out more though.
21:20:30 abhoiles: that link should work, peggy
21:20:32 SusanEttenheim: thanks abbi!
21:20:36 abhoiles: yep
21:20:41 guest478: what does 'terrorist' mean in this context?
21:20:43 alexr: Whew, made it. Browser crash.
21:20:45 PeggyG: Perfect. Thanks.
21:20:48 alexr: hI EVERYONE.
21:20:56 guest478: yo alexr.
21:21:10 SusanEttenheim: hi alexr glad you're back!
21:21:18 Michael D.: that's a loaded question in this context and would be a good one to have students answer I'd think.
21:21:36 PeggyG: great explanation! sounds like a very complex project but so incredibly powerful.
21:22:14 guest478: more firefox browser crashes
21:22:37 SusanEttenheim: my firefox was freezing alot today too - thought is was my computer!
21:22:56 Jeffstanzler: Place out of Time=POOT
21:23:28 SusanEttenheim: wow my ears have perked up! we're Eleanor Roosevelt High School!
21:23:39 SusanEttenheim: heyyyy durff is here!
21:23:42 SusanEttenheim: welcome!
21:23:46 mrsdurff: here as requested
21:24:01 mrsdurff: and trying to eat dinner
21:24:02 SusanEttenheim: I'm going to have to give this recording to our principal!
21:24:07 PeggyG: funny-there must be a bit of a lag for me because you commented on Eleanor Roosevelt before I heard her say it :-)
21:24:08 Jeffstanzler: Your students have to portray Eleanor, Susan!
21:24:13 SusanEttenheim: yikes poor alex tonight
21:24:32 SusanEttenheim: alex do you do simulations at your school?
21:24:54 SusanEttenheim: guest478 did you do any simulations with your project?
21:25:23 guest478: @Susan... it's dave cormier
21:25:29 guest478: still my pseudonym
21:25:53 PeggyG: this is just fascinating! the students really have to know a lot to be able to use the information to problem solve. I'll bet they love it!
21:26:01 SusanEttenheim: jeff - when you have time- could you say more about what you mean? what would that actually entail- "playing" Eleanor - what exactly would happen?- when there is time in the conversation
21:26:02 guest478: i wish i hadn't missed the early part of this discussion
21:26:08 SusanEttenheim: hi rjacklin welcome!
21:26:15 SusanEttenheim: where and what do you teach?
21:26:21 mrsdurff: hey rob
21:26:21 guest478: i worry about the political implications of interpreting history... but these are the things that I generally worry about
21:26:25 Jeffstanzler: Got it, Susan...will explain "playing"
21:26:32 guest478: that is... historical figures.
21:26:48 SusanEttenheim: in what way guest478?
21:26:51 mrsdurff: rhizomatic history of course
21:27:00 SusanEttenheim: hi drezac welcome! where and what do you teach?
21:27:10 SusanEttenheim: ? durff?
21:27:18 guest478: If i understand... the idea is to take the perspective of a historical figure on a given topic
21:27:24 abhoiles: yes!
21:27:27 mrsdurff: ?
21:27:27 guest478: hemingway on spain
21:27:28 PeggyG: do the students need to keep their personal biases out of the simulation or does that matter?
21:27:30 drezac: technology near Chicago
21:27:39 abhoiles: personal biases are kept out
21:27:42 abhoiles: or tried to be kept out
21:27:43 Jeffstanzler: Ideally they try to's hard
21:27:53 guest478: @abhoiles there's no such thing as 'keeping out a personal bias'
21:28:07 abhoiles: this is true, which the students learn
21:28:08 PeggyG: I'll bet it's very hard. They're bound to develop strong opinions as they go through this.
21:28:15 SusanEttenheim: hi gail glad you're here!
21:28:26 SusanEttenheim:
21:28:40 Michael D.: Does it teach the students to make decisions in the best interest of their group?
21:28:40 guest478: my direct curiosity is where is the info taken for the construction of the historical personailities...
21:29:04 Davec: We do colonial simulations in 5th grade here. Some students "adopt" a character, help create a backstory for them; others are real characters. We debate different events etc. I like the idea of using the blogs for more thought provoking questions.
21:29:05 gail desler: Hi Susan, glad to be here!
21:29:12 Jeffstanzler: Do you mean the arab-israeli simulation, Michael?
21:29:23 abhoiles: @ guest, that would be a good question for traci
21:29:25 PeggyG: do they all speak English?
21:29:47 guest478: @Jeffstanzler even if that wasn't what Michael meant... I'd love the answer to that
21:30:14 Michael D.: I think it applies to any simulation where they will have a leadership role
21:30:36 guest478: @michael sure it does.
21:31:05 mrsdurff: i am officially not here
21:31:14 guest478: @Jeffstanzler examples?
21:31:17 drezac: I'm trying to catch up on the topic.
21:31:18 PeggyG: @durff-invisible?
21:31:31 guest478: thanks...
21:31:34 SusanEttenheim: hi lorna -welcome!
21:31:51 Lorna: HI Susan
21:31:54 guest478: I've done the literary interpretation stuff with Chinese stories in Korea
21:32:02 guest478: Great learning experience
21:32:03 SusanEttenheim: drezac - you can also check out
21:32:11 guest478: mostly for me :)
21:32:22 SusanEttenheim: say more about that guest478?
21:32:28 SusanEttenheim: hi james welcome
21:32:37 James Sigler: Hi Susan
21:32:37 gail desler: Place out of time - have you already posted the link, Susan?
21:32:51 guest478: There's a classic chinese story about a man who becomes a tiger and kills a man and then turns back into a man
21:33:02 guest478: and then the family of the dead man take him to courst
21:33:03 guest478: court
21:33:07 SusanEttenheim: abbi - traci - have a poop link handy?
21:33:09 guest478: we re-enacted the court case
21:33:32 SusanEttenheim: wow and how did you deal with the biases?
21:33:46 Davec: A simulation like this is a way of finding out how you might act/react during the given time period whether you are a real character or a made-up one injected into the storyline.
21:33:47 PeggyG: @Gail-the link for Place out of time is on the wiki posted in friendfeed
21:33:54 SusanEttenheim: hi 123 welcome!
21:34:04 Michael D.: I like this role play - it sounds well constructed
21:34:21 gail desler: @PeggyG Thanks.
21:35:00 PeggyG: I wish I had been able to have a class like this when I took American Government! I might still remember what I learned.
21:35:12 SusanEttenheim: how true peggy!
21:35:27 Jeffstanzler: I'm with you, Peggy...thanks.
21:35:40 SusanEttenheim: hi kimwren welcome!
21:35:41 PeggyG: Did students continue these conversations outside of class?
21:35:47 SusanEttenheim: where and what do you teach?
21:35:54 Jeffstanzler: Curt will talk about this, Susan
21:36:02 kimwren1: Hello!
21:36:11 Jeffstanzler: Sorry...Peggy!
21:36:12 Davec: As far as how to deal with altering/interpretting history: I'm thinking early middle-school, not high school, but we work a lot with inferring and fact .v opinion. This is a great way to help students work on that and learn about the major events and some of the things that lead to them.
21:36:29 Michael D.: even high school students need that
21:37:06 Davec: @Michael D: my own kids are in HS, you're absolutely right
21:38:07 guest478: how do people feel about this scaling to teachers without Abbie's open mindedness and very cool teaching approach?
21:38:33 PeggyG: teachers have to give up some control with this kind of curriculum-it's very hard for them
21:38:42 Jeffstanzler: Great question. That may something to do with why we're a "mom and pop" ship, guest478 :-)
21:38:45 SusanEttenheim: jeff - here's good question for you from guest478! can you address that?
21:38:45 guest478: @PeggyG they certainly do
21:38:54 Jeffstanzler: Yes, sure
21:39:04 Michael D.: Have you guys collected feedback from students about their experiences?
21:39:29 Jeffstanzler: Debriefing at the end of the project is ket, Michael...we do it every time
21:39:46 Michael D.: that's great
21:40:14 PeggyG: this is so exciting-makes me wish I could be part of the class!
21:40:27 SusanEttenheim: jeff could you also talk a litle about how to do this? how many computers do you need? how much time online? how much of your curricultm is this? how does it fit? is it extra or instead of....?
21:40:40 Jeffstanzler: sure thing, susan
21:40:52 PeggyG: how long does the simulation last?
21:41:02 SusanEttenheim: hi kcaise! welcome
21:41:15 kcaise: hi everyone
21:41:33 PeggyG: wow! those students are definitely engaged!
21:41:41 guest478: 'stupid government teachers' lol
21:41:41 SusanEttenheim: hi kimwren1 welcome!
21:41:53 drezac: still trying to understand this...
21:42:01 SusanEttenheim: don't we all know those!
21:42:09 SusanEttenheim: questions drezac?
21:42:17 guest478: @Susan haven't we all been that person at one time :)
21:42:21 PeggyG: how do the students handle political debate when they are outside of the simulation? just curious.
21:43:02 guest478: I used to take myself way too seriously to be anything vaguely resembling a good teacher
21:43:31 drezac: I'm coming at this from a middle school perspective, so...
21:43:52 SusanEttenheim: how might this fit in for you drezac?
21:44:21 PeggyG: that's the key--collaboration among "equals"-everyone has something to contribute
21:44:41 abhoiles:
21:44:46 abhoiles: here's the website again, everyone
21:44:55 tgizzi: Peggy - It is a great opportunity for students to look at their biases by trying to represent thier leader dispite their personal perspectives
21:45:04 SusanEttenheim: thanks abbi
21:45:25 Michael D.: If I taught social studies this would be amazing - I am going to bring this back to my school for sure - I hope we can get this podcast up quickly
21:45:39 SusanEttenheim: lol will do michael!
21:45:49 drezac: I'm supposed to be intergrating social studies into my tech class
21:45:50 Jeffstanzler:
21:45:57 SusanEttenheim: i feel the same way- I want to take this to my school too!
21:46:06 abhoiles: @ drezac, that would be perfect
21:46:22 SusanEttenheim: wow jeff talking and typing at once!
21:46:25 drezac: it would, but I came in late, so I need more infor.
21:46:34 abhoiles: in Place Out of Time, students can post blogs, "speeches," etc.
21:46:42 abhoiles: lots of opportunities for different tech
21:47:40 Davec: So if I followed along correctly, the sites are protected, is there the opportunity to etwin with other schools? I'm thinking again about things like our colonial simulation. It could be fun to etwin with a UK school about the differences at that point in time.
21:47:41 Michael D.: I like that being on the web and from an outside source like U. Mich it will definitely help students buy into it and feel like it's more authentic and the way it's set up - it sounds like it gives the students the perfect amount of control, collaboration, and structure.
21:47:56 Jeffstanzler: I hope so, Michael...
21:48:08 PeggyG: is it a semester-long simulation?
21:48:14 guest478: thanks for this folks... pretty cool concept. thanks for being so open in your answers!
21:48:17 Jeffstanzler: yes, Peggy
21:48:19 drezac: Can I see an artifact from this?
21:48:42 SusanEttenheim: drezac use the links at
21:48:58 Jeffstanzler: e-mail me drezac (
21:49:13 SusanEttenheim: hi maureen welcome!
21:49:25 PeggyG: great explanations Tracy
21:49:43 Jeffstanzler: Tracy is the best, Peggy
21:49:57 Maureen/bcdtech: Hello all. Was grating zucchini- lost track of time. Missed almost all!
21:50:13 PeggyG: how are the students graded for these projects? do you use rubrics?
21:50:19 Michael D.: I'm not familiar with the actual mechanical workings of it but would it be possible to have students do writing during class time and then later transpose it to the computer if daily access is a problem? I suppose putting it to them like a draft.
21:50:20 tgizzi: thanks jeff, my # 1 fan
21:50:22 SusanEttenheim: don't worry maureen - there's a lot of info today! we'll get it out asap!
21:50:33 Michael D.: or are the resources they need all online
21:50:52 Davec: @Michael, combine it with a webquest maybe?
21:51:08 abhoiles: @ michael D, you certainly could do that
21:51:30 drezac: yes resources
21:51:57 SusanEttenheim: gail - questions/comments??
21:53:55 PeggyG: I am so impressed with this. We weren't taught to "think" in my HS classes-just listen and regurgitate.
21:54:10 SusanEttenheim: me too peggy!
21:54:10 PeggyG: That's why I've forgotten it all!
21:54:21 Michael D.: this is true - I learned about government from Model Congress at my school
21:54:27 Michael D.: not class
21:54:31 drezac: okay, I'm caught up and I'm very interested. How do I get involved?
21:54:38 Jeffstanzler: I'm with you, Michael.
21:54:52 SusanEttenheim: yes and model un right?
21:54:58 Jeffstanzler: Email me, Drezac and we'll get you rolling...
21:55:14 SusanEttenheim: [Jeffstanzler] e-mail (
21:55:17 Jeffstanzler:
21:55:18 Michael D.: I'm going to be in contact I'm sure Jeff - I just need to talk to my teachers and I'm positive I can get someone on board
21:55:32 Michael D.: how many classes are you allowing per school?
21:55:34 Michael D.: is there a limit?
21:55:50 gail desler: @susan - I'm looking at the website for Place Out of Time. Providing students with opportunities to view historical events from different perspectives is hugely important.
21:55:52 SusanEttenheim: jeff's email is going to be very busy!
21:56:05 SusanEttenheim: yes gail
21:56:15 Jeffstanzler: I'll earn my pay this week, Susan ;-)
21:56:19 PeggyG: You are all amazing teachers! I'm not sure everyone can do what you do.
21:56:35 drezac: Is there an age group you're looking for?
21:56:44 PeggyG: evening at improv-what a great visual :-)
21:56:45 SusanEttenheim: wow big question peggy- jeff - can everyone do this?
21:56:47 tgizzi: Peggy, as for grading, I assign student research and writing projects. They have seperate rubrics for each project like a character sketch, news post, plan of action... I also give them open points for each post they make and let them know how many I expect per week. I hope this helps.
21:56:49 Jeffstanzler: Mostly MS and HS, drezac
21:56:58 drezac: That's good.
21:57:16 PeggyG: @tgizzi-thanks, that's really helpful.
21:58:12 PeggyG: no apologies needed-I use Bear Bryant quotes too and I'm not an old football coach :-)
21:58:35 PeggyG: messiness is what teachers are often afraid of
21:58:45 Michael D.: I'd agree - any type of project that asks students to make decisions that have outcomes helps them learn to make choices....something everyone needs to learn - I can't say how awesome this project sounds
21:58:50 PeggyG: it is definitely one of its strengths!
21:58:58 drezac: Messiness = controlled chaos
21:59:02 Jeffstanzler: I know, Peggy. Maybe we can gently move people along though, eh?
21:59:14 Jeffstanzler: nice one, drezac
21:59:18 PeggyG: I definitely hope so!!!! It's a high priority!
22:00:12 PeggyG: are the students more tolerant of other perspectives after this experience (in their real lives)?
22:00:57 tgizzi: Peggy, I have lessons and rubrics available if you choose to participate...
22:01:13 PeggyG: what a great conversation! Thanks to all of you!! I've learned a LOT!
22:01:27 Jeffstanzler: Great questions, Peggy.
22:01:40 Michael D.: Thank you everyone who came - and thank you susan for MC'ing it :)
22:01:49 gail desler: Thanks, Jeff! I'm looking forward to exploring the website and thinking about the possibilities.
22:01:52 Davec: thanks
22:01:54 kcaise: thank you everyone
22:01:55 PeggyG: @tgizzi-thank you. I'm not currently teaching (retired elementary principal & univ. instructor) but I have people I want to share it with
22:01:56 drezac: I'm a new tech teacher who is being told to basically come up with things like these
22:01:57 abhoiles: yes, thanks susan!
22:02:17 PeggyG: Thank you Susan & ETT!!
22:02:20 drezac: Looking forward to your email stanzier
22:02:24 gail desler: NIght Susan and everyone
22:02:26 SusanEttenheim: thank you everyone!
22:02:29 Michael D.: no one collaborates better than those who like tech :) you're in the right place
22:02:35 Michael D.: good night!
22:02:36 tgizzi: Peggy, yes, their understanding and perspectives grow and the lens they look through gets larger and clearer.
22:02:36 mrsdurff: and enjoy pseudos
22:02:38 PeggyG: good night all!
22:02:54 mrsdurff: night - is it Labor Day yet?
22:03:00 Jeffstanzler: Looking forward to further conversations.
22:03:16 alexr: I love when you host Susan -- Great job.
22:03:19 alexr: night.
22:03:29 James Sigler: night
22:03:30 abhoiles: thank you susan, goodnight everyone
22:03:36 drezac: guess I'll go! Thanks!




As one of Mr. Hansen's

As one of Mr. Hansen's former students, I can attest that the Arab-Israeli Conflict simulation is very effective and educational. Our class became very involved in the simulation, researching our character's political position and creating what we viewed as being realistic responses to the various problems our group was faced with. Our class became so absorbed in the game that a member from "Israel Central", "Israel Opposition" and "Hamas" in the Green Game would get into arguments about current events with each other at the beginning of our Calc II class a few times a week. It really makes the students think critically and it was surprising how much we had learned by the end. It was excellent and I would fully recommend this program to everybody. It's brilliantly effective.


For those listening to the podcast, I wanted to say that our projects run in the fall and in the winter each year. We start at the end of September and would welcome TTT listeners who would like to join us. There's no cost. E-mail me if you want to talk about the possibilities...Jeff Stanzler (
More information at: