Teaching Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: How Reacting to the Past Games Can Transform Teaching and Learning

AHA Session
Sunday, January 8, 2017: 8:30 AM-12:30 PM
Room 501 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Rebecca Cawood McIntyre, Middle Tennessee State University

In this four-hour workshop, participants will play a micro-version of the Reacting to the Past game, The Trial of Anne Hutchinson: Liberty, Law, and Intolerance in Puritan New England. Participants will receive a game book, role sheet, and reading materials prior to the workshop.

After a short break, the second part of the workshop will feature brief presentations on assessing the effectiveness of Reacting to the Past games for teaching historical thinking and skills. The presenters will then lead breakout sessions.

Registration for the workshop must be purchased in advance through the registration form ($25 members, $30 non-members) by December 15.

Gretchen Galbraith, Grand Valley State University

Session Abstract

This workshop will address important pedagogical questions, asking participants to consider Annie Murphy Paul’s recent question for readers of the New York Times: “Are College Lectures Unfair?” (Paul, 2015). Much research has been devoted to demonstrating how the lecture—when used alone—is a delivery mechanism that fails to produce the types of deep learning that many college faculty administrators, and yes, students, expect from the American higher education system. This is especially true for female, low-income, and first-generation students. This practice session hopes to answer this question by modeling an active-learning strategy through Reacting to the Past game play and encouraging discussion about the effectiveness of RTTP games for teaching historical thinking and skills, especially in relation to the AHA Turning Project core competencies and outcomes.

The first part of the four-hour workshop will serve as a micro-Reacting to the Past game in which every attendee will land inside a game-in-motion and experience the pedagogy from the student perspective. Participants will debate key ideas, rally around their fellow faction-mates, and cast votes to determine how the game develops. So that participants can prepare for the game and arrive ready to play, they will be sent a game book, an assigned role, and reading materials prior to the day of the workshop. We will be playing one of the foundational RTTP games, Trial of Anne Hutchinson: Liberty, Law, and Intolerance in Puritan New England, a game that can be played at many levels, from the history survey to the graduate seminar, from the RTTP neophyte to the RTTP expert and game designer.

Finally, this session will allow participants to consider strategies for effectively implementing RTTP games at their university. This foundational knowledge will be made available for pre-workshop review via Prezi. The presenters will provide background information about how organizations, centers for teaching and learning, and other similar instructional units can equip faculty to use games to engage their students in deeper learning and to spark a desire for learning that extends well beyond the walls of any single classroom or institution. In addition, the presenters will explore the successes of the RTTPprogram at The University of Georgia, and their own work in creating and implementing faculty development programming on course redesigns that incorporate the pedagogy, constructing faculty development partnerships, as well as contributing to regional and national efforts in various faculty workshops, four-day summer institutes, fellows program, and national conferences.

The second part of the workshop will be devoted to a discussion of the effectiveness of Reacting to the Past games for teaching historical thinking and skills. Panelists will present papers about how we can measure or assess the effectiveness of RTTP games in the history classroom and then lead participants in breakout sessions exploring in greater depth the ways in which Reacting to the Past games can be effective tools for teaching.

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