Queen's history game wins digital learning award
Policy Studies professor Tom Axworthy has won a Digital Media and Learning Award for his new online game called History Game Canada. Modeled on the popular strategy game Civilization, the game puts 12-18 year olds in charge of early Canadian civilizations – from French and English to Huron and Ojibwe. Players are invited to imagine historical events from different perspectives or play out different outcomes. An in-game encyclopedia provides detailed historical accounts, while online discussion forums allow players to share their game experiences.
"Students will learn that history is multidimensional in that, for example, they must invest in agriculture and technology as well as arms," says Prof. Axworthy, who is Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's. "But they also learn too, that nothing is inevitable. Players must make choices and those choices have consequences. That is historical learning."
Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation based in Chicago, Illinois, a total of $2 million dollars in prize money recognizes 19 projects. Professor Axworthy received $150,000, and is the only Canadian recipient. The money will be used to complete the last two chapters of the game, which include Confederation and western expansion, with a focus on Sir John A. Macdonald.