So what do school board members, superintendents, and other education leaders across the nation have in common with the Navy? Education, games and simulations!
The Navy and other military branches work hard to connect with today’s students and schools to provide resources across the country through their ROTC and outreach programs. Although, ROTC programs are such a huge benefit to students, they don’t always get the attention and support they deserve when it comes to the education system. Why? The obvious answer is that schools have so many mandates and bench marks to hit that often time’s result in additional programs losing their much deserved attention despite their benefits to the education system and student learning and development. We’ve seen this happen again and again with music and art programs as funding and staff are scaled-back, and with after-school programs, outreach and volunteer programs in schools when there are staffing shortages. So with the military’s support of education, their outreach to schools, and their effective use of technology in their own education and training efforts why aren’t schools tapping this readily accessible and mutually beneficial relationship more often? Well, a group of Annual Conference attendees will be participating in a site visit to a naval base on Coronado, just outside downtown San Diego to answer that question. The Navy will share what they have been doing to ensure that the fluency of their highly trained squadrons remain informed, experienced, and safe. How do they do this? The answer is simple – technology, education, and continued professional development.
Games and simulations are not new to training in the military. The Army and Marines use it to simulate the experiences that their infantry officers will encounter while in combat. The belief is that the more times a soldier is exposed to situation the more clearly they will be able to navigate the challenges and ensure the safety of their men and those they are there to protect. NSBA aims to demonstrate how this very same idea can be applicable in the classroom by exposing students to simulations and games around biology, anthropology, math, spelling, and grammar. S.T.E.M. is a hot topic in education today and games and simulations hit all four parts of the initiative: Science.Technology.Engineering.Math. Is it possible for games and simulations to bring S.T.E.M. to life and maybe encourage more young girls to explore the fields of science, technology, math and engineering? The statistics are promising.
Simulations are used in the military because they are the most realistic way to bring to life the words on the pages of the books that were written to train and protect our soldiers. Reading something and experiencing it are two totally different realms of learning and retention. If a pilot reads about how to land a plane or do a night-trap (landing a plane at night on a ship) they may understand the concept but would they feel affluent and confident enough to get in a plane and try it without first having the safety of a simulator to practice? The same is true for how students learn. People learn by doing. Adolescences learn to drive and car by driving on their permit under the watch of their parents. A pilot learns to fly by testing their wings out in a simulator first. A doctor learns to operate on a cadaver. To provide students with the ability to get their hands dirty and learn by doing is an invaluable gift that hopefully more schools will explore. Games and simulations provide that access across the curriculum and grade levels.
NSBA’s site visit with the Navy will demonstrate the amazing efforts and honorable mission of the Navy as well as their utilization of games and simulations in education. To learn more about the visit please stop by our website and to find out more about the Navy and their ROTC efforts and use of simulations please visit their website.
We hope to see you in San Diego!