Archive for the ‘Digital Literacy’ Category

  • Using the Programming Historian


    Chad Black and I would like to jointly propose an afternoon session on using The Programming Historian website. This open source resource introduces historians with no background in programming to the Python scripting language.

    Chad and I could approach this as a “teach,” “make,” or “play” session, depending on the group. For example, we would demo a few scripts we’ve written after completing the lessons ourselves. We could also come up with an exercise as a group and see whether we can quickly make a script using the Programming Historian tools to address some problem the group comes up with.

  • Gaming in the Classroom


    I’m an enormous fan of games of all types–word, board, computer, sport, team-building, card, theater–but finding inventive ways to integrate them into the (history) classroom is challenging.

    Background: I’m thinking specifically of the work of Jane McGonigal as in her work Reality is Broken and in this TED talk. While this is very well trodden ground at the primary school level, it feels underused still in higher education. But the educational possibilities of creating or playing games are easy to see:

    • My friend Emmanuel Schanzer teaches math by having students code computer games through his program, Bootstrap.
    • A colleague who teaches government at the local high school uses Diplomacy with his advanced students to demonstrate the give and take of international diplomacy.
    • History’s lessons were the inspiration for recent kickstarters on election rigging (Tammany Hall) and the Salem witch craft trials (Salem).
    • AAA video game releases use extensive historical elements to add depth to the gaming experience as in the Assassin’s Creed Series.

    Let’s have a session where we brainstorm ways to take advantage of gaming’s possibilities for learning.

    We can do this as a TALK session (discuss how, why, and when to introduce gaming and brainstorm games that would be appropriate for our teaching areas), a PLAY session (where myself and others can demonstrate simple games that can be extrapolated for specific pedagogical lessons), or a MAKE session (if folks have ideas about specific things they’d like to turn into games).

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