Gamification In Socialstudies

Gaming is making its way into the classroom as a way to engage students and create interest in History. Gaming can be one of many EdTech tools in your classroom.


Why should History Simulations / Games be used in High School and Middle School Social Studies Classes?

History is the act of constructing meaningful, critically researched and validated interpretations of the past, interpretations focused on:

  • Human Motivations
  • Actions
  • Effects of Those Actions

History Simulations put the student in situations faced by a leader of a particular event.

As an example we will use World War I. In the World War One Simulation students are given "Top Secret" Documents that give them a list of objectives that their leader would have wanted to accomplish. Those objectives are the basis for the decisions they make. The objectives keep the simulation on track, but students can problem solve to create ways to achieve them. 15 other leaders are also trying to complete their objectives at the same time- some of those objectives are the same!

Source: "Gaming The Past" By Jeremiah McCall

History teachers need to move beyond memorizing dates and vocabulary.

Although dates are important for sequence and if you don't know the vocabulary you will not understand the history. We do however need to move beyond that and train our students to:

  • Evaluate Evidence
  • Engage In Meaningful Discussions
  • Form Their Own Interpretations
  • Construct Valid Criticism of Leader's Decisions
  • Understand Situations and Circumstances of Events and the People Involved In Them

General Gaming Articles

Theory, design, research, and use of historical games in and beyond history education. Look here for links to current research, lists of available historical video games, reviews, and essays on a variety of topics connected to historical games. Created and maintained by Jeremiah McCall ([email protected]; @gamingthepast), teacher, historian, researcher, and author of Gaming the Past​.

WE PROMOTE & SUPPORT STEM LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION!! Video Game Palooza is a non-profit 501c3 foundation dedicated to motivating interest in STEM research and learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games, as well as learning technology solutions to improve their lives.

An article on how gaming can engage kids with Attention Deficit Disorder.

What are the characteristics of a highly effective learning environment? Yeah, I know. It sounds like the sort of question you’d find on your last college ed final. But it’s still something that’s good to think about, no matter how long we’ve been teaching. And here’s the answer: The characteristics of a highly effective learning environment are very much like the characteristics of a highly successful video game.

Using games for educational purposes is a controversial issue among educators and parents. However, many educational researchers and game designers agree that new technology tools must be created to meet today's students' needs. This page answers the three "big questions" for this project:

If you are studying WW1 with middle or high school students I cannot recommend this World War 1 simulation game highly enough. The kids LOVED it!! Imagine turning World War 1 into a big online game of Risk! That is what you will be doing.

Reacting to the Past offers over 20 published titles, as well as dozens of games in development.

Additional Information