Getting “serious” About History: Improving Educational Computer Games
Thanks to Canada Research Chair Dr. Kevin Kee, new and innovative ways to teach history to senior high school and university students are emerging.
Kee's research focuses on developing "best practices" for the creation of educational computer simulations - commonly called "serious" games.
Many researchers believe that computer simulations, available since the 1990s, can be used to help transfer knowledge and practices from the domain of the game to the domain of the classroom, but until now little research has examined how this might happen for history education. History games have been developed for entertainment - not education.
In his current project, Kee designs and develops history simulations that are necessary if the "best practices" for serious games are to be delineated and tested for the use of both historians and history educators. ("Best practices" encompass design practices that support an engagement with the simulation, an appropriation of knowledge, and an appropriation of the practices of the discipline of history.)
Kee is a core faculty member at Brock. He is helping to develop a centre of excellence that brings together history and history education researchers - two groups that stopped collaborating decades ago - and that fosters cooperation between them and the world of computer science.