Move the Turtle is a Kickstarter game turned app. It is designed to allow young students to approach object oriented programing through an easy to use graphical interface.
I have used the App as an extension of my basic programming course. In the elementary grades, this is a perfect app to teach elementary programming (hehe). Students use the interface to program the actions of a turtle. As the name implies, the students get more and more creative as they learn additional commands and processes that can get the turtle from point A to point B.
Democracy 3 is a game that snuck up on me! I was happy and minding my own business when an article came across my desk about a new App with an in “Depth Government Simulation.” I scoffed a bit because who would be able to explain the nuances of government in a single Application. I downloaded the game, and there it sat while I was waiting to review a couple of other simulations. During this past summer, I was cleaning off my iPad and stumbled across the app again, in my queue to delete. It did not seem fair that I delete the App without even launching it, so I took a few minutes to fire the game up. An hour later, I but the game down unable to think straight.
At its core, Democracy 3 is a government simulation game. You take on the role of the newly elected ruler of a country of your choice. Each turn in the game is the span of three months of your reign. During that time, you earn and spend political capital, try to balance the budget, and make changes to further your society. Where the app excels is in its description of the interconnectedness of policies. I was immediately tasked with wanting to reduce the crime rate in my country. I banned drugs, criminalized prostitution, and provided additional support to the legal system – which all made logical sense. After six months, my GDP was down, my parents were upset, and crime had drastically increased.
In an education context, I see this game as a very powerful way to model government. Students have the ability to manage policies and then see the downstream effects of those policies. In the skilled hands of a seasoned educator, this will be a wonderful way to engage students in Government.