Barnard College had a typical problem. Teaching history often meant reading facts and memorizing them. To make history seem more real, professor Marc Carnes decided to turn history into a role-playing game where students took on the roles of various characters in the historical event and had to interact with one another. By actively influencing history with the context of a game, students could better understand the role of the different players in the game.
The game, called “Reacting to the Past,” teaches skills like speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork—in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. While students must adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations; and students must also pursue a course of action they think will help them win the game.
To learn more about “Reacting to the Past,” click here.