Teaching History with Digital Historical Games

Author(s): Juan Hiriart

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "From Tomb Raider to Indiana Jones: Pitfalls and Potential Promise of Archaeology in Pop Culture" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Digital games and simulations based on historical themes or settings have been used in school classrooms for more than 50 years, however, still key questions concerning their representational appropriateness, educational effectiveness, and practical implementation remain largely unanswered. In this paper I would like to give an overview of a research project set to analyse the potential of digital games for historical education. Following an action-research approach, a series of game prototypes based on Anglo-Saxon history were iteratively designed and tested within a primary school. While playing the game, children spontaneously engaged in dramatic exercises of re-enactment, which revealed as much about their personal identities, lives and world views in the present as about their conceptions of an imagined past. In many cases, their assumptions and naive theories became interrogated and in some instances challenged by their experiences within the game, resulting in dissonances that lead to powerful "teachable moments". Driving from these experiences, I would like to open the debate on the role of digital games in education, focusing on their potential to create affective interactive spaces, capable of involving players/learners emotionally and empathetically with the past.

Cite this Record

Teaching History with Digital Historical Games. Juan Hiriart. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450391)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25443