Knowledge Matters, Inc., has announced the release of Virtual Business Management (VBM) 2.0, its latest upgrade in a suite of business curriculum software.
The standards-based program adds a multiplayer capacity to the original version allowing teams to "steal" each other's customers and employees while motivating cooperative thinking and team strategy. Currently used in 3,000 schools in the U.S. and abroad, Knowledge Matters' Virtual Business programs are designed to give students interactive learning experiences as virtual business owners, managers, and supervisors.
To mimic real-life management situations, VBM developers worked in conjunction with a major food distributor to embed variables in the simulation that test players' abilities to score ever-higher profits running a distribution company. New features in the upgrade include:
- employee strikes and collective bargaining
- industrial accidents and lawsuits
- more finite control over truck routes
- consequences of different forms of business ownership
- more realistic resumes
- performance warnings and pay raises
- better visual cues (like steam rising from angered workers heads)
- new surprises that hinder operations (like road construction)
According to the announcement, Knowledge Matters, Inc., set out to harness the appeal and complexity of computer games to teach and assess specific curricular content. Games such as Sim City, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Zoo Tycoon transfix players with convincing virtual environments designed to entertain, but are not geared to specific, measurable, teaching goals. Educational simulations currently available use decision-tree software that presents fairly transparent "either/or" choices. Knowledge Matters' simulations require the comprehensive thought processes of entertainment games and are based on curriculum teachers use, the announcement states.
Played at increasing levels of complexity, VBM offers assessment options that include printable lesson worksheets, projects, and performance journals to help the teacher evaluate student performance. VBM 2.0 supports courses in introductory business, management, supervision, entrepreneurship, marketing, business math, and others.
Knowledge Matters' family of Virtual Business programs are correlated to three national standards and 25 state standards as well as included in textbooks by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, the announcement states.
Source: Knowledge Matters, Inc., http://www.knowledgematters.com