“What if students could play a Fantasy Football League game that taught them about the world through current events?” That was the idea that Eric Nelson asked when he created Fantasy Geopolitics. Students select a country and earn points based on the number of times that country is mentioned in the New York Times and by the tone of the article. If a news story discusses positive stories, additional points are earned. If the story is negative, then points are deducted. Students can change their picks, or even trade with each other. Points are automatically calculated overnight, and the leader board is updated so students can see their progress.
In addition to the general rules of the game, I added a few conditions of my own:
- Mondays and Fridays are Mandatory Drop/Add days. Students are required to drop the country they have and add another country from the available list. They are not allowed to trade with other players on those days, and they must keep that country for 24 hours. After that, they can do as they please until the next mandatory drop/add day.
- Students must maintain a Google Map and drop pins when they change countries. They should label the pins with the dates they have the countries. And that map must be embedded into their WordPress blog, and then provide daily summaries of the events and what their next move is. This is done to reinforce the earlier lessons about Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Here are some examples of my students’ blogs: