Europe Alive is a number of simulation games based on a web platform. The games focus on present and engaging issues in European cooperation.
At the same time, many special features of EU cooperation will be demonstrated. How are European laws on the internal market made? How are decisions on foreign politics taken? How does the EU Court of Justice work? Who are involved in different areas? Which role do the European institutions play? What kind of interests, considerations and principles lay behind? How can we influence that as citizens? And why bother?
It's all learning by doing. The web platform introduce the students to their individual missions and push them forward after a carefully thought out plan. Video and text messages guides them into interactions with other students and teachers and helps them to present their positions. While their tasks become still more complex, they will gradually feel more comfortable. Soon they will find themselves and fellow students engaged in negations with governments, communication with journalists and meetings with lobbyists – and having fun.
The focus and theme change from one game to another. But they have a basic design and several features in common, that facilitates the interactions among students and help them keep track of the overall picture.
Each participant plays on the basis of a number of well-defined priorities – some of which are overlapping with other actors. The Priorities are pieces of a puzzle that must fit together to make a decision. Participants have to find relevant partners and be ready to compromise to reach agreement. All changes to Priorities during the game are updated and visible on the computer.
The platform also has a “common currency”, named Influence Points (IP). You can hand over and receive IP’s as part of the negotiations and at the end of the games you can count your losses and wins. There are a number of feedback mechanisms and opportunities that will reward participants for doing the right thing or punish thoughtless or ruthless behavior. Reactions from lobbyists, stories in the media, orders from your head of government and opinion polls can also give or cost IPs.
The games on the platform are competitive: you can get all or some of your Priorities realized or loose Influence Points. But basically the games are about cooperation inspired by the principles of collaborative learning that allows students to learn by creating a common result in close cooperation with each other.
The number of participants can be determined by the institution or school, but it is possible to play with between 20 - 200 students. All they need is access to an internet, pc’s and smartphones. The length of the different games can vary from 1,5 - 6 hours.
Working with the platform will give the students:
- A sense of the EU as a mechanism for negotiation where member states with relative strong common European institutions produce a common set of rules and coordinated political answers and where factual considerations count alongside national interests and political considerations.
- A sense of the special features of the EU compared to other forms of international cooperation. The EU is based on legal principles where the political structure can produce usable law and the power balance is supported by a tradition for mutual recognition. EU embodies the internal market and is based on the four freedoms (free movement of goods, persons, services and capital).
- Basic knowledge of the special features of Parliament, Council, Commission and Court of Justice, their interaction and key concepts of the decision making process.
- Knowledge about channels of influence for member states and (groups of) citizens, lobbyists and media.