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Game-based Pedagogy For American History Expands

Developed with the Institute of Play in New York City, the Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship offers professional development for middle and high school American history teachers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The program aims to use the power of games and digital tools to transform both teacher practice and student engagement. In the long term, it may also provide a new disciplinary resource for university-based teacher preparation (please find also K-12 Innovators To Update Use Of Serious Games In the Classroom At 2017 Serious Play).

HistoryQuest helps teachers who are selected as Fellows learn how to apply game design principles to foster inquiry-based learning. Fellows learn to tie games to the curriculum, integrate them into the classroom, create their own games, and assess learning outcomes.

Inaugurated in 2016 with a group of New Jersey teachers, the transformative professional program has been expanded this year by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to support selected middle- and high-school teachers, having named 57 new Fellows coming from 43 schools in 33 districts across the four states.

Summer Intensive, Yearlong Development

All WW HistoryQuest Fellows will take part in a free weeklong intensive summer institute, to be held July 16–21, 2017 in Princeton, New Jersey. The program also offers several follow-up sessions during the 2017–18 school year, including:

• Two mid-year workshops
• One in-person/three virtual coaching sessions per school
• A ten-month membership to an online professional network moderated by Institute of Play designers
• Networks with other history teachers using games and simulations in the classroom

The HistoryQuest Fellowship is built on a pedagogical foundation that features interactive learning through games and play, game design process and principles, systems thinking, and the purposeful integration of technology.

Because WW HistoryQuest Fellows must have the full support of their schools and districts, they must be nominated by their principal or superintendent. Direct applications by candidates and self-nominations are not accepted.

Principals and superintendents are encouraged to nominate teachers in teams of two or three and must affirm that their nominees will be encouraged and supported in the integration of games and simulations into the American history curriculum. Fellows nominated in teams of two or three receive preference in the selection process. Teams should also strive to include a mix of representation - for example, one middle school teacher and one high school teacher, across schools, or one relatively new teacher and one more seasoned teacher within the same school.

Competitive Admission—School Endorsement

The Fellowship includes room and board (single-occupancy) for the Fellows during the summer and the associated workshops. There is no registration fee for the Fellows, school, or district. However, nominating principals/superintendents must affirm their support for candidates’ full participation, including up to two days of release time for workshops and approval for ongoing coaching time.