The Learning Scenario drew my attention for two reasons. First it was on a topic suitable for my students of the last year of middle school (age 13-14) who study WW1 in their history curriculum. Then, it allowed applying a “flipped” game-based approach. Instead of asking students to play educational games to learn, students create games on topics they study in school following a process similar to that of Project-based learning (PBL). We are experimenting with this method in our school within the Erasmus KA229 project “Edugaming”, together with our Portuguese and Swedish partners.
The game creation platforms
In our game-based approach, students create games using various platforms, such as CoSpaces (as in the original scenario) and also Minetest (an open-source version of Minecraft). The class decided to use Minetest because most of the students were already familiar with Minecraft. Also, it only needs a server to allow two teams to play together and we had it available from the Erasmus project. Instead, only a few of the students had used CoSpaces before, which requires coding to create the game.
Designing the game
Before creating the game, students collected information in a worksheet on the topic of WW1. Then, they decided what they can use in the game. At this stage, Europeana collections on WW1 was paramount. Students analyzed the images and videos of this collection to learn about how trenches were made. They also learnt about the life of soldiers and the type of weapons they used. Then they decided what type of game they wanted to create and established game rules in the game plan.
Implementing the game
The next stage was to implement the game plan in Minetest platform. Students built trenches and created obstacles such as mines and barbed wire on a Minetest server so that they could play against another team.
The main goal was to conquer the trench of the other team. Unfortunately, the project was completed only at the end of the school year, so they could not play the game with the foreign partners. Maybe they will do next year!
Differently from the original LS, our implementation focussed more on the dynamic of the trench warfare. But anyway, it allowed assessing students’ knowledge of trench life by looking at how faithful to the historical period the created game was. In this implementation, Europeana was very useful to provide real documents, pictures and even videos to inspire the game.
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CC BY-SA 4.0 –The featured image used to illustrate this article belongs to the author of this blog post.