Sunday, January 29, 2012

Interesting Blog About Playful Historical Thinking...

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Followup on Playful Historical Thinking Class Experiment - by Andrew D. Devenney

Last fall, I conducted an experiment in classroom pedagogy, building a modern European history course around the concept of playful historical thinking. I wrote about this in a guest post for Play the Past last September, which you can and should read here before continuing. I thought I would take this opportunity to give a quick follow-up on how the experiment went and where I hope to go from here.

For those who don’t want to slog through the previous post, I’ll provide a quick refresher. There were three distinct elements to my playful historical thinking class redesign: 1) a modular course structure designed to emulate loosely a child’s toy playset and to facilitate collaborative group play; 2) different types of assessments designed to encourage personal student engagement with the historical materials in the course modules; and 3) a small competitive grade dynamic to encourage playful competition between the students. The syllabus for the course can be found here. The course wiki, which contains all of the students’ work during the class, can be found here.
The long and the short of it is that the experience was very much a mixed bag, with some elements of the design working well and some not so much. I wouldn’t go so far as to label the effort a complete failure, but I was not particularly happy with how it turned out. And since I’m a big proponent of scholars in the humanities and social sciences publicly and honestly discussing their failures along with their successes, let’s dig into this more, shall we?

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