How I Use It
This game puts students in the "Mayor's seat" to drive change and solve problems in a town related to the environment and citizen needs. Students are excited to "be in charge" of their town and try their ideas about solving "real world" problems. In my Literature class, students read nonfiction pieces about the world in which they live. Adding SimCityEdu provides an opportunity for students to not only read about current issues, but also grapple with real-world problems and work together for solutions. I like putting students to work in pairs, so they can bounce ideas back and forth to each other and work on problems such as getting students to school who live in remote areas.
Before using SimCityEdu, I recommend that teachers play the game first, becoming familiar with the missions and how to use the game in class. Students also need to be taught the basics such as navigation, how to work with missions, and how to work together in a team.
Check out the "Getting Started Guide" here: http://bit.ly/1ueXfK5 Try the first mission, and see what you think!
Learning how to collaboration is one of the most important aspects of this game. Students must learn to work together and share ideas in order to solve the missions for the town. There are many ways to integrate SimCityEdu into the curriculum, and GlassLab offers lesson plan ideas and support to help with integrating educational gaming into the curriculum. Giving students "real world" decision-making experience in a classroom setting is an awesome way to reinforce the curriculum.
Possible "con's" might include the expense, and student frustration about limited time for mission completion. Several laptops or a computer lab is needed for gaming.
All in all, I think this game has much to offer students studying Social Studies, Science and Literature.