June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1272.1 - 13.1272.8
The Toothpick Factory© A Simulation Game for the Soft Skills
FLATE, a NSF-ATE regional center for manufacturing education has as one of its goals to provide curriculum and related professional development for community college faculty and teachers that meets the needs of employers. Responses to every industry survey and questionnaire FLATE has ever conducted throughout the State overwhelming indicates soft skills, including teamwork and all aspects of communication, are high on the list of necessary, but still absent skills. One of FLATE’s first objectives was to mitigate this need.
To reduce the skill gap for soft skills, FLATE developed a simulation game, “The Toothpick Factory ©” and an associated training package to teach technology teachers and faculty how to implement the game in their classrooms. Although there are a plethora of activities that offer short experiences and activities that emphasize teamwork, many are puzzle solving and survival scenarios that drop a group into a situation that requires them to work together to usually “get out” of an unrealistic place and/or situation. Other “what ifs” are even more removed from the working environment and are often used as “ice breaker” activities. These implementations may result in some learning by experience; however they do not drill down to, and emphasize the characteristics of good manufacturing workplace team work skills.
The Toothpick Factory © is a series of activities set in an actual working environment, a production facility that makes custom toothpicks. It comes with a full suite of game parts, as well as lesson plans, classroom teaching materials, and debriefing guidelines. A professional development workshop is available to help potential facilitators learn how to most effectively use the simulation. This presentation will outline The Toothpick Factory© simulation game, highlight the workplace soft skills it reinforces and summarize the initial implementation data and responses both in classrooms and facilitator training sessions.
Barger, M., & Sutton, J., & Roe, E., & Gilbert, R. (2008, June), The Toothpick Factory: A Simulation Game For The Soft Skills Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3881
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