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Clark Aldrich featured on The Sim Café

I had the honor and pleasure of being interviewed by the insightful and gracious Deb Tauber for The Sim Café, an increasingly thought-leading and authoritative podcast for simulations.

Here is a link to the Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1852142/11669674

Here is a link to the referenced example: https://www.shortsims.com/house

And here are some time codes and quotes:

01:25 Introduction

02:35 Clark Aldrich's Journey to Simulation Design

04:15 The Shift from Technology-Heavy Simulations to Pedagogy-Rich Short Sims

"The best simulations that I've built - the most educationally impactful simulations - were not the ones with all the AI coding, and not the ones with the 3D live-rendered graphics or the dynamic sound, but frankly, were the very simple experiences that presented content in a way that seemed very simple and very intuitive.

But it's like the old Frank Perdue line , 'It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.' It takes a lot of complicated thinking to present things in a very simple, intuitive and elegant way. But there's no going back. This is the future for what I'm doing. It's going to be very pedagogically-rich, but technologically-simple simulations"

06:32 Example: The Demand Curve Short Sim

"During the course of this sim, we allow you to experiment and almost teach yourself about demand curves. I love Socratic learning as much as possible."

09:44 Traditional education curricula is mostly about analyzing; Short Sims are about doing, like leadership and innovation

"A giant problem in education is that we're mostly focused on analytical skills. We're not nearly focused enough on 'doing skills' - what is it like to be a leader? What is it like for George Washington to have been a leader in his situation? What is it like to project manage? What does it feel like to be innovative? What does it feel like to have stewardship over something? What does it feel like to worry about security? What does it feel like to bring people in and motivate them and get them excited about doing something? Schools just shrug their shoulders and say 'good luck to you.'

11:32 Institutions are shifting to a Sim-First approach to education

"I have many clients with whom I've been working for well over five or six years. These clients came to me initially saying, 'We want to throw a few Short Sims into our workbooks and lectures to make a point, or maybe as a little assessment at the end. And then every single year, these same clients have come back and said, 'Let's do more Short Sims and less workbook.' And right now they're in what I'm calling a sim-first mode - where they want most of their educational content to be delivered via Short Sims, and if we have to do a little bit of workbook at the end to clean up, fair enough."

14:44 The Human Brain only Learns By Doing something, not by being presented with content

15:30 Until Short Sims, we haven't known how to easily teach the skills that matter.

17:30 Drawing from a Range of Clients

"My strength has always been my variety of clients. Every client I have, from non-profit to military to corporate, has impacted how I develop Short Sims. And because I have a wide variety of clients, it's given me a richness of techniques that are available to me in every new Short Sim I ever make."

18:30 An 'Aha' of Focusing on real-world mistakes in researching Sims

"Probably the biggest 'aha' moment is: the best way to research a sim is for me to ask the expert, 'Where do people get this wrong in the real world?'"

21:39 Short Sims can help fix the polarization in society.

"Who today benefits from schools? In most cases, it's going to be the dogged, analytical person who's going to get the As , and so who's going to be sent off to Yale or Harvard. But the person who loves getting stuff done and helping people and rallying troops is going to be labelled a troublemaker."

25:02 We are at a Transformation Moment in History

"When it comes to sim design, we way overcomplicate things from a technology perspective, but way under-think things from pedagogy perspective."

"This is like a Gutenberg moment. We're opening up a revolution of media that can frankly change civilization and what it means to be smart and what it means to be educated."

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