Dear Real Lifer,
This is the first installment of our new monthly newsletter. In it we will offer glimpses of life in countries around the world, news about Real Lives 2010, and games or contests for you (and your students if you are a teacher) to participate in, along with special offers for schools and charitable organizations.
The Genesis of Real Lives 2010|
Work on Real Lives initially began in 1996. I had been lying awake one night thinking about the board game of Life. It occurred to me that it would be a powerful simulation if people started out in different circumstances - some rich, some poor, some with lots of opportunities and some whose opportunities were relatively few. This would be more like the real world, especially if you threw in things like disease, war, hunger, and poverty, which distribute themselves unequally around the world.
The first version of Real Lives was released in 2002. Subsequent versions were released in 2003, 2004, and 2007. Real Lives 2010, the latest version, was released this past August. For the first time, I collaborated on development with others - initially Cyril Fougere in Toulouse, France, and later, for much of the main development work, with Neeti Solutions, in Pune India (see www.neetisolutions.com). Neeti's Parag Mankeekar and Lukesh Bundele deserve special mention here. Parag initiated the relationship between our two companies and has continued to provide ideas and inspiration. Lukesh did most of the development work on Real Lives' new user interface. Many others at Neeti contributed in significant ways to Real Lives 2010.
Spotlight on Haiti|
The earthquake in Haiti has awakened us to the problems people face in that country. But Haiti was a disaster before the ceilings began collapsing. You can get a sense of this from Real Lives country tab. When you choose a Haitian character, the statistics in the country tab show that most Haitians did not have safe water to drink or adequate sanitation or medical care before the earthquake. One out of every 13 babies died before reaching the age of one. Average wealth per capita was under $1000. Corruption was rampant; government social services were poor.
Real Lives simulates life in these statistical conditions. There is no way to simulate the devastation that Haitians are experiencing now, in the aftermath of the earthquake. As a teacher, you can have students live a life in Haiti using Real Lives and then discuss with the class how things are different now. What problems do people have to deal with? Why were conditions so poor in Haiti? What prospects are there for improvement? How can we be a part of that?
Tell Your Stories Here|
Future editions of this newsletter will feature stories from Real Lives users in this space. Do you have an inspiring story to tell about how Real Lives reached your students or a great idea for using Real Lives in the classroom? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll share it here and on the website at www.educationalsimulations.com.
Free Real Lives Site License Contest|
Would you like to get a license to use Real Lives on an unlimited number of computers at your school? Email me at email@example.com with the story of what your school or your class is doing to help out in Haiti or raise awareness of issues in Haiti. The school with the best program will win a free Real Lives 2010 site license.
Thank you for your interest in Real Lives!
-- Bob Runyan, creator of Real Lives