Digital storytelling, video games, and cell phones are all being tapped to make U.S. history lessons more engaging for middle and high school students. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), with EDC as a partner, is developing these new programs.
“Public broadcasting is in a unique position, along with our partners, to reach this audience through cell phones, TVs, iPods, and computers to deliver meaningful, educational content,” says CEO Patricia Harrison.
Two key pilot projects, Young American Heroes and Mission America, anchor CPB’s American History and Civics Initiative. During the development of these projects, EDC worked with historians, interactive media designers, TV producers, and teachers to understand and analyze how educators can harness young people’s interest in video games, digital storytelling, and sharing to deepen students’ grasp of the material.
EDC researchers studied which aspects of the digital environment engage students and teachers most effectively. EDC also conducted classroom pilot tests to discover what students learn from the games.
Young American Heroes features activities that allow students to digitally create and share stories about historical events, drawing upon primary and secondary source documents. Mission America is a role-playing adventure game that immerses students in life in Boston in the years preceding the American Revolution.
Explains EDC’s Bill Tally, “We’ve found these games and tools can really engage kids’ imaginations, help them look at evidence, and get them thinking about events in the past and their significance today.”
Originally published on January 21, 2009