Teaching History in/with/via Video Games

Prompted by Lee, I’m collating here materials that I’ve put out there regarding my teaching/thinking related to video games & history and archaeology. The list below is in no recognizable bibliographic style (mostly because I’m tapping this out and can’t be bothered this AM).

2006 The Year of the Four Emperors – CivIV scenario that started it all http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=171164

2012 Stranger in These Parts http://playfic.com/games/shawn_graham/stranger-in-these-parts—v01

2009 Kee, Graham, et al. Towards a Theory of Good History Through Gaming. Canadian Historical Review 90.2 http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/can/summary/v090/90.2.kee.html

2010 My Glorious Failure playthepast.org http://www.playthepast.org/?p=352

2010 Kee, Graham, and Vaughan The Haunted School on Horror Hill: A Case Study of Interactive Fiction in an Elementary Classroom http://www.graeworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/haunted_school_on_horror_hill.pdf

2014 Kee, Graham Teaching History in an Age of Pervasive Computing: The Case for Games in the High School and Undergraduate Classroom Pastplay http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dh/12544152.0001.001/–pastplay-teaching-and-learning-history-with-technology?g=dculture;trgt=div2_ch13;view=fulltext;xc=1

2014 Graham Rolling Your Own: On Modding Commercial Games for Educational Goals Pastplay http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dh/12544152.0001.001/1:6/–pastplay-teaching-and-learning-history-with-technology?g=dculture;rgn=div1;subview=detail;type=simple;view=fulltext;q1=Rolling+Your+Own%3A+On+Modding+Commercial+Games+for+Educational+Goals

2015 Pulling Back the Curtain- Writing History through Video Games Web Writing http://epress.trincoll.edu/webwriting/chapter/graham/

I think that’s everything.

Syllabi, websites, random presentations etc

Playing Pedagogy: Videogaming as Site and Vehicle for Digital Public Archaeology http://digitalarchaeology.msu.edu/saa2015-session235/papers/playing-pedagogy-videogaming-as-site-and-vehicle-for-digital-public-archaeology/

An introduction to writing history through videogames (for High School students) https://github.com/shawngraham/highschoolhistorygaming/blob/master/readme.md

HIST3812a 2014 version, Minecrafted History worlds: https://github.com/shawngraham/hist3812a

HIST3812a 2014 version, playable syllabus http://hist3812a.dhcworks.ca/teaser/

HIST3812a 2014 version, course blog http://hist3812a.dhcworks.ca/

HIST3812a 2013 version, http://www.3812.graeworks.net/

Crafting Digital History version 0.5: Some Final Projects

So the experiment of teaching data mining & visualization to history students – which will be rebranded ‘crafting digital history’ in its next iteration in order to attract a broader spectrum of students and to more accurately reflect what we’re doing – is done.

There’ve been some great moments, like when Matt forked one of my tutorials and rewrote it for the better, or built a virtual machine. Or when Patrick finally slayed Github! Or when Allison got the Canadiana API to work. Or when Phoebe finally persuaded Inkscape to play nice. Or when Matt conquered TWARC. Or when TEI blew Ryan’s mind. Or when Christina forked an Anthropology class project at MSU to repurpose for her project. Or… or… or. We covered a lot of ground.

So, I have permission to share some of these projects. In no particular order, here are some final projects from HIST3907b.

Matt T – The Historical Consciousness of Reddit

Matt D – What do Civil Servants Edit on Wikipedia?

Ryan – Searching for Residential Schools: How Google Trends can illuminate who is talking about residential schools, where they are, how they’re searching, and why.

Patrick – Urban and Rural Voting Patterns in Three American Elections

Christina – The St. Johns Micro History Mapping Project

Luke – Late 20th Century Immigration in Bubbles

Jonlou – Video games & historians

There are a few more to come in; I’ll add them here.

The George Garth Graham Undergraduate Digital History Research Fellowship is Go!

futurefunder-win Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the FutureFunder campaign in honour of my grandfather, to create an undergraduate research fellowship in digital history, achieved its funding goal.

I wanted to thank everyone who contributed. Whether that contribution was through donations, through sharing on social media, or through sending me emails making ‘hey, you should really talk to [person x]…’ connections, this could not have happened without the support and buy-in of the DH community, my colleagues, and the alumni of the History department. Kylie, Pia, and Ryan in University Advancement were also tremendous supporters, helping garner national media attention, making connections, and coming up with novel ideas about how to promote it further.

Thank you, all!

Now begins the *really* fun part! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be working with University Advancement, our department’s undergraduate committee, and digitally-inclined folks hither and yon to set up the formal parameters for awarding the fellowship. One of the conditions of the fellowship would be for the student to maintain an active research blog, where she or he would detail their work, their reflections, their explorations and experiments. It would become the locus for managing their digital online identity as a scholar. I think I will recommend that the student use Reclaim Hosting to do this, since RH’s whole raison d’etre and my own sense of what students need to be doing online mesh very well (and see this post on the future for RH!)

We already have great, digitally-inclined undergraduate students in the history department here. Rob is a HASTAC Scholar. Hollis organized a THATCamp. Oliver is getting into data mining. These are just the three easiest for me to link to. Others like Devin and Joe have done fantastic thinks using Voyant Tools. Matthew, Julia, and Zack have gone into networks in a big way. Allison has been developing expertise with Omeka.

I’m excited to see what’ll happen next. Thank you, everyone, for supporting this Fellowship!

Introducing Voyant in a History Tutorial

This week my HIST2809 students are encountering digital history, as part of their ‘Historian’s Craft’ class (an introduction to various tools & methods). As part of the upcoming assignment, I’m having them run some history websites through Voyant, as a way of sussing out how these websites craft a particular historical consciousness. Each week, there’s a two-hour lecture and one hour of tutorial where the students lead discussions given the lecture & assigned readings. For this week, I want the students to explore different flavours of Digital History – here are the readings:

“Possible discussion questions: How is digital history different? In ten years, will there still be something called ‘digital history’ or will we all history be digital? Is there space for writing history through games or simulations? How should historians cope with that? What kind of logical fallacies would such approaches be open to?”

To help the TAs bring the students up to speed with using Voyant, I’ve suggested to them that they might find it fun/interesting/useful/annoying to run one of those papers through Voyant. Here’s a link to the ‘Interchange’ article, loaded into Voyant:

http://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=1363622350848.367&stopList=stop.en.taporware.txt

The TAs could put that up on the screen, click on various words in the word cloud, to see how the word is used over the course of a single article (though in this case, there are several academics speaking, so the patterns are in part author-related). Click on ‘scholarship’ in the word cloud, and you get a graph of its usage on the right – the highest point is clickable (‘segment six’). Click on that, and the relevant bit of text appears in the middle, as Bill Turkel talks about the extent to which historical scholarship should be free. On the bottom left, if you click on ‘words in the entire corpus’, you can select ‘access’ and ‘scholarship’, which will put both of them on the graph

( http://voyant-tools.org/tool/TypeFrequenciesChart/?corpus=1363622350848.367&docIdType=d1363579550728.b646f3e3-65d1-2347-c580-5e5c0985e6d0%3Ascholarship&docIdType=d1363579550728.b646f3e3-65d1-2347-c580-5e5c0985e6d0%3Aaccess&stopList=stop.en.taporware.txt&mode=document&limit=2 )

and you’ll see that the two words move in perfect tandem, so the discussion in here is all about digital tools opening access to scholarship – except in segment 8. The question would then become, why?

….so by doing this exercise, the students should get a sense of how looking at macroscopic patterns involves jumping back to the close reading we’re normally familiar with, then back out again, in an iterative process, generating new questions all along the way. An hour is a short period of time, really, but I think this would be a valuable exercise.

(I have of course made screen capture videos walking the students through the various knobs and dials of Voyant. This is a required course here at Carleton. 95 students are enrolled. 35 come to every lecture. Approximately 50 come to the tutorials. Roughly half the class never comes…. in protest that it’s a requirement? apathy? thinking they know how to write an essay so what could I possibly teach them? That’s a question for another day, but I’m fairly certain that the next assignment, as it requires careful use of Voyant, is going to be a helluva surprise for that fraction.”