North Lakes Academy teacher Eric Nelson has taken off with his Fantasy Geopolitics project and is taking it to new levels. It started off as a small idea he created to get his students to become active in world issues. This competition forced students to get involved and discover what was going on in the world, and they really enjoyed it.
“It was very competitive, for someone who isn’t all that engaged in school, it caused me enjoy school more and I put in a lot more effort” said Colton Thell (12). Fantasy Geopolitics changed his perspective on work ethic, classes, and school.
Fantasy Geopolitics is essentially about running the world. First, you create teams of countries that you draft. Once you’ve drafted enough countries, which usually consists of one to five per student, you gain points depending on how many times those countries are mentioned in three different news sources: The New York Times, Al Jazeera and Reuters. Once your country is mentioned in one of these sites, you gain points. The goal is to score as many points as you can, and is very similar to the popular Fantasy Football game many NFL fans use.
“It’s a social learning game that follows countries and world leaders as they compete for news headlines, it’s Fantasy Football for history standards,” Nelson said.
NLA will be implementing this throughout the school. Christopher Stewart, the other social studies teacher at NLA, is already using this creation in his 9th grade Civics classroom. Nelson will be taking Fantasy Geopolitics to another level by making it an elective for the second semester of the school year. Fantasy Geopolitics is exploding at NLA, and it’s even being taken further beyond the classrooms.
Three months ago, Nelson took a trip to New Orleans to get Fantasy Geopolitics on its feet with a start up organization. This organization helped take Fantasy Geopolitics further than Nelson had ever thought he could. He worked on his project, and how others could benefit from it.
In order to have taken this idea further, he needed to find and prove why Fantasy Geopolitics was solving a problem for students.
“I did a lot of testing of my assumptions, so I assumed Fantasy Geopolitics is solving a problem, which is students were disengaged in learning about the world they live, in an era which global competence matters more than ever,” Nelson said, explaining why Fantasy Geopolitics will make a difference for students across the nation.
Nelson made an impression in New Orleans when he pitched his idea. After all the work, it had finally taken off.
“It was awesome… the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the most fun, and the most rewarding.” Nelson said.
Nelson is using what teenagers use most to his advantage: FaceBook. Fantasy Geopolitics has a FaceBook page that students and adults can access to learn more about the project. Currently, Fantasy Geopolitics is in its pilot stage, and is only being used in three different schools currently. Although that is pretty minimal, it is available here at NLA. Make sure you check out the Fantasy Geopolitics FaceBook page, and get active in the world we live in.
This has spurred another competition between Nelson and Stewart, as evidenced in the following exchange during the interview:
Stewart: “My posts in [the] Fantasy Geopolitics facebook page is 95% more successful than anything [Nelson] has posted so far.”
Nelson: “True story. No one reads it because it’s above one hundred and forty characters.”
Stewart: “It’s okay, it’s 95% more successful.”
Nelson: “That’s true, statistics. Nazis also used those, to kill Jews.”
Stewart: “Propaganda sometimes is what you need to rule the world.”
[Dean of Students Cam Stottler walks by]
Nelson (jokingly, staring after him): Stottler’s a tool.