This morn I discussed how students interact with teachers in the schools. This afternoon, a word on two busy history interactive sites out of the UK.
Consider Interactive history games - Historical Hoop Shoot, Fling the Teacher, Walk the Plank, Historical Shootout, Historical Hangman, Historical Duckshoot, Wordsearches. At face, this seems a diverse set of lessons. Especially if you've assayed what other interactives offer, where interacting is defined as clicking through photos and text, with little feedback or assessment capability.
There is much to choose from here: nine games engines, custom skins for each, 235 available topics, 6442 questions at this writing. The learner is always clicking something, getting a response, moving on, getting a periodic assessment of knowledge retained.
She also gets exactly one learning pattern.
Yep, our old friend, multiple choice. In the end, flashy and engaging as the games are, you get one pattern--pick from a,b,c,d and see if you're right. Sorry, you get lots of visual feedback, but intellectually you get just [1 | 0].
ActiveHistory, by comparison, offers several interactive learning patterns.
- Most frequent is the decision-maker simulator. You make the choices Kaiser Wilhelm faced and reap the consequences.
- There's a ranking engine, where you read about and rate the worst jobs in history. Interspersed question hurdles assure you've been paying attention.
- You can interview an historical person.
Note here the tradeoff. These efforts both come from sole proprietor/teachers. They're incredible labors of love.
The two sites show you can have rich animation and physical interaction, or you can have deeper intellectual engagement with the topic.
We'd like to see both. To get that, we need to share standard components and edu-toolsets.