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Social Studies Issues. Civilization III Potential. Civilization III as Mediating Artifact. Case I: What Happened?. Why am I doing this?. Replaying History. This game isn’t bad…. Purposeful Game Play. 4. Day 1. 8. 12. 17. Post-interview Results. Q: Why did Europeans colonize Americas?

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Civilization iii as mediating artifact

Social Studies Issues

Civilization III Potential

Civilization III as Mediating Artifact

Case i what happened
Case I: What Happened?

Why am I doing this?

Replaying History

This game isn’t bad…

Purposeful Game Play


Day 1




Post interview results
Post-interview Results

Q: Why did Europeans colonize Americas?

  • All mentioned technologies, trade

  • Native Americans did not colonize for cultural reasons

    Q: Why is New York City bigger than Boston?

  • None mentioned geography

  • 8/8 mentioned immigration

  • 5 / 8 Centers of trade

    Q: “What role were you in the game”

  • None said president, emperor

  • All said “game is unrealistic” with no historical analog

Conclusions learning
Conclusions: Learning

Cursory background knowledge

  • All had increased familiarity

  • Minimally 233 game concepts

    Students asked many “factual” questions

  • Students found the Civilopedia ineffective

  • What is monarchy? Monotheism? Democracy?

  • Teacher busy with just-in-time lectures (CTGV, 1992)

    Taken-as-shared meanings

  • “Discovering” Bering Strait and Greenland

  • “Colonial imperialism”

  • No horses in the Americas


Coastal fortresses

mutual protection pacts

the corporation





steam power

free artistry

Does threatening other civilizations had an impact on diplomacy

What happened when the game ran out of names for new cities

Can I stay at peace without having to give away his money


Results learning
Results: Learning

Failure and learning

  • “Losing forced me to learn about geography”

  • “The game made me realize I had to trade technologies”

    Analysis in support of game play

  • Which civilization should I be?

  • Why is colonization not occurring?

  • What is unrealistic about the game?

    World history as interdisciplinary

  • The right location gives you luxuries which gives you income. More income gives you technology which affects your politics. It all connects.

    Entrée into historical positionality

  • Money is the key… money is the root to everything. With money you can save yourself from war, and that also means that in politics you can save yourself with money.


Playing Civilization III produced “conceptual tools”

  • Peninsulas, islands, Gaza Strip, Nova Scotia = tools

  • Teachers’ and students’ language reappeared in interviews

  • Isolationism, resources, horses in N. America, infrastructure

    History as a “cheat” (i.e. tool) for playing Civilization III

  • Studying map, Civilopedia

  • Comparing games

    Playing Civilization III mediated students’ understandings

  • “No matter how it plays out, history plays by the same set of rules.”

  • “You can’t separate geography from politics from history”


Learning read against “real world” and experience

  • 8/8 responded that role of president was unrealistic

  • Function of questions, intentions

  • Socially interpreted through rules, social organization

    Students did not detect simulation bias

  • Management orientation

  • Geographical / Material reading of history

    Failure produced engagement & learning

  • “Losing forced me to learn about geography”

  • “The game made me realize I had to trade technologies”

So what does this mean
So what does this mean?

  • Revisit our theories of learning

    • Design  assessment  implementation

  • Study games in context

    • Some model of context


(8 hours)

Targeted Conceptual learning

Full Spectrum Warrior

(40 hours)

Conceptual learning

Ways of Seeing

Valuing the world

Lineage II

(200 hours)

Conceptual learning

Ways of Seeing

Valuing the world

Systemic Understanding

Multiple perspectives


Civilization III

(200 hours)

Conceptual learning

Ways of Seeing

Valuing the world

Systemic Understanding

Multiple perspectives

So what do we do
So what do we do?

Games are about radically different social organizations

  • Consumer  Producer *

  • Multiple information and attention spaces

    Consider some of the mechanisms of games

  • Choice, Failure, Consequences, Replay

  • From content  Context

    You might consider serious games…

  • Lots of new products

  • Lots of low-cost solutions (flash, excel)