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Matthew Farber - Getting Students Engaged in Historical Topics Through Games


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This presentation was given at the 2016 Serious Play Conference, hosted by the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Matthew Farber share how students remixed the social deduction game, One Night Ultimate Werewolf to align with course content, in this case, the Salem Witch Trials. Participants will have an opportunity to play! He will also show how students created American Revolutionary War-themed interactive historical fiction stories using Twine.

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Matthew Farber - Getting Students Engaged in Historical Topics Through Games

  1. 1. Getting Students Engaged in Historical Topics Through Games Matthew Farber, Ed.D.
  2. 2. @MatthewFarber Slides:
  3. 3. Social Deduction
  4. 4. Syrian Journey: Choose your own escape route
  5. 5. 1979 Revolution
  6. 6. The Spielberg Test “Movies are the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts.” -Roger Ebert Video games will prove their worth as a potent storytelling art form “when somebody confesses that they cried at level 17.” -Steven Spielberg Reddit: Life is strange Episode 5; did you cry?
  7. 7. Life is Strange
  8. 8. Life is Strange
  9. 9. Spent, and Empathy
  10. 10. Iterative Design
  11. 11. State of Being Game Jam
  12. 12. Challenge • Redesign One Night Ultimate Werewolf to be about the Salem Witch Crisis. • Use above grade level Lexile range books, like The Crucible. • What would Ted Alspach do?
  13. 13. Other Social Deduction Games
  14. 14. Gamifying History? “The slave mission was built on the idea that user could ‘understand what a real slave felt’ while walking around in Lucy’s shoes. Unfortunately this is also where the game failed because one cannot simulate the emotional scars of slavery” -Rafranz Davis, 2015. WNET responded with an editorial on EdSurge, citing several social historians who advised the design of the game: The mission portrays enslaved African Americans with agency and personal power (even when social, economic, and political power was non-existent), and as central actors in their own destinies. Our goal is for all students to develop a greater respect for African Americans' struggle and African American history as a part of American history. Although we regret to hear that some people have found the game to be problematic, we stand by it.
  15. 15. A Game as a Model
  16. 16. Midnight Ride
  17. 17. Level Design in Saratoga Sim
  18. 18. Valley Forge Sim
  19. 19. Play Creates the Zone of Proximal Development
  20. 20. @MatthewFarber Thanks You! Related Edutopia articles: • New Tools for Interactive Fiction and Engaged Writing: • History, Empathy, Systems Thinking, and Gaming: Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game- Based Learning (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies)