Category Archives: Online Games, Tools & Tests

Lying eyes: test yourself for change blindness

Change blindnessHow perceptive are you? How accurately do you see the world?

With a quiz created by Jeremy Wolfe, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Visual Attention Lab and Harvard Medical School, test yourself for change blindnessthe perplexing difficulty that all of us have in perceiving alterations in the things that are right in front of our eyes.

As philosopher Henri Bergson once said, “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

(Thanks to Stephanie West Allen for so kindly sending me the link to this story.)

Faces of the dead in Iraq: an interactive graphic

Facing the dead in IraqIn poignant tribute to the U.S. service members who have lost their lives in the Iraq war, the New York Times has created a graphic that literally puts a face to the numbers who have perished.

Each face that appears is made up of many small squares, each representing another face. Click on any square to see another face appear, with information about that person displayed to the right. The squares are ordered by date of death, the most recent deaths appearing in the upper left corner of the image. You can also search by last name, home state, or home town.

(With thanks to ICT4Peace. Please read Sanjana Hattotuwa’s observations, including his thoughts on those who are missing from this moving depiction of the human cost of war.)

Animated short gives tips on how to behave on the internet

How to behave on the internetOnline misunderstandings flare up easily, but there’s a way to prevent them.

For a crash course on internet etiquette, view “How To Behave On An Internet Forum“, created in old-school-style, 8-bit animation.

(Spotted on Boing Boing.)

Against All Odds: online game builds awareness of refugees' plight

Against All Odds computer gameConflict and persecution produce tragedy unimaginable to those of us who reside far from lands where gunfire sounds or where human rights are threatened.

To raise awareness of the plight of the world’s refugees — the thousands who have fled their homes to seek asylum — the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has created Against All Odds, an online game that seeks to build understanding of the grim realities that face the 1 out of every 300 people world-wide who are refugees today.

The Against All Odds web site includes a teacher’s guide and a fact sheet.

This is of course not the only use of online games to teach social messages. You can read more at the following posts: “War games: digital technology provides medium for educating and influencing” and “USC students develop virtual game to bring real-world attention to Darfur crisis“.

Thanks to Thinking Ethics for the link.

Let's kill all the lawyers: web-based negotiation platform seeks to revolutionize the creation of contracts

Tractis provides a new web-based platform for contract negotiationNegonation, a Spanish start-up, has launched Tractis, a web-based platform to revolutionize the negotiation, management, and execution of contracts in e-commerce.

But it’s not just about helping business get done. Negonation’s goal for Tractis is far more ambitious:

Our goal is to provide a way to make online borderless justice possible. Yeah, you heard us right. We want to develop a new legal system that overcomes the inefficiencies, complexities, injustices and sluggishness of traditional legal systems. We want justice for, from and by the Internet nation. Tractis is only the beginning.

Tractis is designed to manage what Negonation’s founders call “the whole life cycle of contracts”. Users can select from a library of templates to create a contract, invite others to participate, and develop a single text to produce contracts guaranteed to be legally binding. Prior versions of contracts, comments, and attachments are archived and readily accessible. Negonation plans to add an online dispute resolution mechanism for addressing the inevitable disagreements that can arise from contract negotiations.

You can take an online tour of Tractis to gain a sense of its interface or review its FAQs.

O brave new world…

(Hat tip to Inside Opinions.)

What's your learning style? An online test lets you find out

What's your learning style?As a trainer, I’m keenly aware that adult learners all have different learning styles. The trick is to find ways to engage them all.

Interested in finding out what your own learning style is? You can find out at the Vark Guide to Learning Styles by taking this online questionnaire.

Free review copies of Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory now available to trainers

Free review copies of Kraybill Conflict Style test now availableRiverhouse ePress, founded by Ron Kraybill, a trainer and advisor in conflict transformation and peacebuilding since 1979 and an Associate Professor of Conflict Studies at Eastern Mennonite University, announces the release of free review copies of Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory.

The inventory is a recently developed five-styles-of-conflict inventory used by business managers, organizational consultants, and conflict resolution trainers worldwide to teach personal conflict management skills. What makes this inventory unique is its ability to recognize cultural diversity among its users.

The 22-page instrument sells for $3.95 per copy in quantities of one hundred or more. A free trainer’s guide is available on the publisher’s website. Trainers and consultants may request a free review copy in PDF form, by sending an email indicating their organizational affiliation to A PDF file will immediately be forwarded.

For more information, you can visit the Riverhouse ePress web site.

Riverhouse ePress’s founder also publishes the latest addition to the World Directory of ADR Blogs, Paxblog: Alternative Perspectives on Security and Peace, which reflects blogger Ron Kraybill’s 25 years of experience in international peacebuilding efforts.

(Fans of personality tests should visit these earlier posts from Online Guide to Mediation: “Test of character: using instruments to probe conflict styles and moral intuition“, “Hidden agenda: online test reveals conscious and subconscious bias“, “Let’s face it: testing your understanding of facial expressions“, and “New world order: new web site promotes ‘culturosity’“.)

Web site serves as online guide to help families avoid fights over inheritance

Web site assists families avoid estate planning disputesThe University of Minnesota has produced an online guide designed to assist families prevent and address disputes over estates. Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate offers information and resources to aid families in making tough, emotionally fraught decisions over the inheritance of personal property.

There are free articles available as well on this site, along with some quizzes to assess your estate planning preparedness.

Mediators, however, will come away disappointed. Although this excellent site offers useful material and resources, mediation was somehow omitted from a web site created to assist families prevent, reduce, and address conflicts over estate-related issues.

(Thanks to Joel Schoenmeyer, author of the Death and Taxes Blog, for the link.)

Apocalypse now: computer games either a positive or negative force for social change

A computer game for the end timesJust in time for 6/06/06, here’s this post on computer gaming armageddon.

Computer games can provide a powerful medium for promoting positive social change, influencing public opinion, and raising cultural awareness, as I have discussed before on this blog (here and here).

While many such games serve beneficial (or at least benign) ends, some teach a very different lesson.

Into the first category fall two games described recently on ICT for Peacebuilding, an intelligently written and intellectually engaging ADR blog and one of my favorite reads on the Internet.

One such game is Third World Farmer which introduces players to the hardships and tragedy faced by farmers in the developing world. The second, from this post on global warming, is Climate Game, created to educate youth about the realities and dangers of climate change.

Promoting a very different kind of social change, however, comes the video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a “Christian” game about the end times which pits “believers” (i.e. the forces of Good–that’s capitalized, of course) in an apocalyptic (literally) military battle-to-the-death against the Antichrist (who heads up the “Global Community Peacekeepers”–hey, who knew that peace was a tool of the Devil?) together with armies of nonbelievers and sinners.

(Thanks to Objective Justice for this link.)

Computer games and virtual worlds used to teach diplomacy and conflict resolution

Virtual worlds used to teach conflict resolution and diplomacyThe internet, with its endless capacity for facilitating community and collaboration, has increasingly become a place of complex social interactions, where real-world transactions are negotiated through the medium of cyberspace and where virtual worlds emerge complete with laws, social norms, currencies, political structures, and economies.

But virtual worlds are more than just mere entertainment. They can serve as effective teaching tools as well. reports that the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy has announced finalists in their “Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games” Awards. Finalists as reported on the USC web site are:

Exchanging Cultures, a diplomatic game built inside “Second Life,” was created to facilitate the creating virtual communities and relationships based on the exchange of cultural items like: dances, art crafts, food receipts, architectural models, clothing, cultural routes and images of real original places for travelers and explorers.LINK.

Global Kids Island: Fostering Public Diplomacy Through Second Life Global Kids, Inc. envisioned a Public Diplomacy program within Second Life where the youth in the after-school program will spend the month learning about a global issue, experience an interactive and experiential workshop designed to educate about the issue. Their demonstration will be shown at the awards ceremony. For more information on the organization: LINK

Hydro Hijinks is a class project designed to promote discussion about international water issues and to educate players from around the world about sources of international conflict over water rights. Watch the video tour of the game at: LINK

Peacemaker is a cross-cultural political video game simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which can be used to promote a peaceful resolution among Israelis, Palestinians and young adults worldwide. More information, please visit their website: LINK

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 8.

USC is currently involved itself in a Public Diplomacy and Virtual Worlds project designed to “explore how virtual worlds can be used as effective tools to bridge cultural gaps, to foster new ways to resolve conflict, and to learn and teach new skills in dealing with each other to build a better world.”

In addition to these projects, the gang at recently reported on the outstanding efforts of one inventive team of peer mediation educators, Jennifer Nieto and Peggy Ward, to utilize Second Life, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (a virtual world in which numerous participants can interact simultaneously), as a tool for enabling high school students to role play in mediation simulations and practice mediation skills in a non-threatening virtual environment. (I was totally psyched to discover a link to Online Guide to Mediation on their site, for which I am most grateful.)

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