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Educational Games and the Digital Humanities

Welcome or welcome back to the blog, Filamentarians. Have you ever heard of the digital humanities? If not, never fear – today, we’re going to explore digital humanities and how they interact with our favorite subject of all time, game-based learning! 

via Giphy

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What is Digital Humanities?

Digital humanities, as defined by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is an approach to research, teaching, and scholarship that uses digital tools and methods to explore human culture and society.

Since the definition is pretty broad and encapsulates a variety of resources, let’s look at some concrete examples of digital humanities projects. One example is the Pelagios Network, which “connects researchers, scientists, and curators to link and explore the history of places.” Learn more about the Pelagios Network in the video below.

Another example of a digital humanities project is Mapping Jewish LA, a program “dedicated to bringing digital tools and multimedia technologies to facilitate access to the complex histories of the Los Angeles Jewish community.” Check out the video below to hear the details of the project.

As you can see, the digital humanities utilize multiple forms of media and technology in order to educate, spark new research, and preserve or uncover history and culture. One of these forms of media can be game-based learning and can cover everything from historical simulations to VR recreations

Educational Games and Digital Humanities

Educational video games give students countless opportunities to engage in immersive, interactive, and dynamic learning experiences. Games combined with digital humanities pedagogy create a synergistic effect, transforming the way students learn and engage with humanities subjects, from history and literature to art and culture.

One of the key advantages of educational video games is their ability to create immersive learning environments. By using digital technology to create richly detailed and interactive virtual worlds, educational video games can bring historical events, cultural artifacts, and literary works to life in ways that traditional textbooks and lectures cannot. This can help students to better understand complex concepts, engage with primary sources, and develop a deeper appreciation for humanities subjects.

For example, Joycestick, a VR adaption of James Joyce’s Ulysses from the University of Boston, offers players a more visceral way to engage with the story than reading it on a page. It allows students to interact with the characters and settings in a way that brings the book to life.

This use of game-based learning doesn’t stop with history and literature. Games such as Dreams of Dalí offer users a whole new look into an artist’s imagination and use of space. This Dalí Museum experience participants step inside the artist’s piece “Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus,’” allowing them to see the art from an entirely new perspective. 

Moreover, game-based learning for humanities learning has the potential to connect people to their sense of empathy and ultimately, to one another. As David Neville writes in his article, “Why the digital humanities could benefit from digital game-based learning,” “It is precisely the immersion and sense of presence these digital game-based experiences provide that make them so valuable – even essential – for the humanities. If designed reflectively and developed correctly, a digital game-based approach to humanities topics could provide a deeper understanding of a human experience, of the cultural and social systems that situate human activity and imbue it with meaning. It can grant access to the emotions and inner life of another person.”

Digital humanities and data analysis

Another component of many digital humanities projects is the use of data analysis and visualization to explore and understand cultural phenomena. By using digital tools to analyze and visualize large amounts of data, scholars can gain new insights into subjects ranging from historical trends to literary themes. Educational video games can help to bring these data-driven insights to life in ways that are accessible and engaging to students.

For instance, a video game that explores the history of a particular time period could incorporate visualizations of demographic data or maps that show the movement of people and goods. A game that explores a literary work could use data analysis to identify recurring themes or motifs, which could be represented visually in the game. By incorporating these data-driven insights into the gameplay, educational video games can help students to better understand and appreciate the underlying patterns and trends that shape human culture and society.

Collaboration and social learning

Finally, the combination of educational video games and digital humanities work together to promote collaboration and social learning. By creating games that can be played by multiple students simultaneously, developers can create opportunities for students to work together to solve problems, complete challenges, and explore humanities subjects together. This can help to foster a sense of community and collaboration that can enhance the learning experience.

A promising pairing

To put it simply, educational games are an exciting and promising area of study in the digital humanities. By combining technology, pedagogy, and game design, educational games have the potential to evolve the way that we teach and learn. They offer a variety of benefits, including engaging students, promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and providing immersive and interactive learning experiences.

At Filament Games, we are dedicated to creating educational games that inspire and engage players. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the field of educational games. By harnessing the power of the digital humanities, we can create learning games that are fun and motivate learners to explore humanities topics more deeply than before. We’re excited to be a part of this important and dynamic field! 

Creating your own digital humanities project and want to involve game-based learning? You’re in the right place. Contact us today!

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