Published November 30, 2022
Making the classroom engaging can be a challenge, but thanks to Lockwood Memorial Library’s LevelUp computer and gaming site, some teachers are finding ways to put a world of experiences in the hands of their students – without ever having to leave. the campus.
Michael Kicey, Humanities Librarian and Assistant Instructor, has incorporated special activity days at LevelUp into his Introductory Ancient Greek course that allows students to experience the sights and sounds of Ancient Greece through the video game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The game is now part of Kicey’s curriculum and serves as an example of the countless opportunities for collaboration between the class and LevelUp.
“Whether you’re talking about classics, engineering, or anything in between,” says Kicey, “tech like this…is in the right place to change a lot of how we think about education. traditional.”
Explore the Virtual Ancient World
Entering virtual worlds through video games can be a fun or relaxing experience, but these tools can also be a convenient means of discovery in the classroom. When Kicey was initially looking for engaging digital content for his Ancient Greek course, online sources began directing him to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey content.
“I started digging on the internet about the game and found that researchers and archaeologists not only watched and liked it, but had a big role in creating it.”
Using the game’s Discovery Tour mode, students can explore the recreated world of Odyssey at their own pace. Each tour focuses on different locations, objects, or festivals featured in the main game, and students are interviewed at the end of each tour by their in-game guide.
“You can walk around the Acropolis and see the temples, you can walk through an aristocrat’s house, and you can also walk through the slums and see how many people lived in the ancient world,” says Kicey. .
Using video games to supplement coursework may not seem like much, but from Kicey’s perspective, classroom activity helps students connect with course material throughout the semester. With a relatively relaxed structure on the days at LevelUp, Kicey asks his students to divide into groups and make at least two to three visits during the class period.
“It’s important to establish a rhythm,” he notes. “It’s not just some kind of day trip.” By bringing students into the console lounge multiple times throughout the semester, they gain a deeper experience of the game and its detail-filled environment, he says.
Video games provide a direct way to experience worlds different from our own, and students can see for themselves what the ancient world was like without relying solely on the pages of books written centuries ago.
“It’s increasingly difficult to keep students interested when they only have a black and white page,” says Kicey. “And me too, as a teacher, it can get boring when all you have in front of you is a page with Greek letters on it.”
Working with LevelUp
Although picking up and playing the game is the easy part, Kicey recommends that instructors work closely with LevelUp staff to ensure a good outcome for students. Setting up such a class takes time to plan and coordinate, but Kicey says the work is worth it in the end.
“Work closely with staff on issues like licensing and scheduling as well,” advises Kicey. “Really, everything else about it was effortless; it was very easy, as long as I made contact with the right people.
While it might seem like extra steps just to play video games in the classroom, Kicey thinks this kind of collaboration can add so much more to the educational experience.
“I think things like virtual reality, augmented reality and virtual worlds that you can get even inside a commercial video game like this, they go a long way towards moving away from teaching models centered around books or other types of old-fashioned teaching models. , and who meet the students where they are.
To learn more about the spaces available in LevelUp, visit the LevelUp website.
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