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  • Student Postmortem: Reliving the Revolution

    [08.31.06]
    - Karen Schrier


  • FeatureConclusion

    Participants had fun and were engaged in the game. Even if they didn’t learn every detail of the Battle of Lexington, they were immersed in a rich learning experience. For a few hours, they acted like historians—they rummaged through an archive of Revolutionary War information, chose the meaty evidence, and used it to help them write a brand-new historical narrative of the past. But they weren’t in a library or staring at the Internet, they were walking around Lexington, following in the footsteps of a historic figure, and rediscovering the Battle where it actually happened.

    The game play added to this: the participants had to create efficient strategies and on-the-spot decisions to gather enough evidence to make a compelling case before time ran out. Each role only got one piece of the puzzle and contradictory stories of what might have transpired to initiate the first shot. Thus, they had to share and argue their interpretations with the other roles during the impassioned debate that ends the game.

    So, throughout the experience, the participants practiced essential skills like bias identification, decision making, delegation, and problem solving—skills they might not normally encounter in classroom activities. Not only that, but the participants reignited their waning interest in history, and even began to see why it’s important to be historical thinkers in an increasingly global digital economy.

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    Next Steps

    Educators, researchers and game designers—and really anyone—should create their own educational AR games. Seek new environments, topics, platforms, content and game play, and test it out with people. Find other ways to engage students and help them practice critical thinking and new media literacy skills. Most importantly, teachers should support their students in designing these types of games and experiences. By considering how to represent history or their neighborhood or a book in a game, students will be able to reflect more deeply on their own assumptions, values, and preconceived notions.

     

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