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Video Games and Civil Rights Learning

If you read our last post, you know why studying history is so important! As we conclude Black History Month and begin Women’s History Month, there are a lot of historical and present-day figures and events to remember and learn about. Though it probably goes without saying, learning about civil rights should not be regulated to just a month or two of dedicated education – it’s something that citizens everywhere should keep up with all year round! 

Through game-based learning, students can learn about civil rights, human rights, and citizenship in unique and immersive ways. The following games invite players to consider a variety of perspectives and to remember how important and impactful change has been made throughout history. Let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you’ve played any of these games – or if you know of other games that are excellent for teaching about civil rights!

Rights Arcade

via Khabarhub

We’ve previously mentioned Amnesty International’s Rights Arcade in our February round-up of game-based learning news – it was too perfect a fit not to include here, too! To recap, Amnesty International released this game on International Education Day, which is on January 24th of each year. The goal of this mobile game is to make human rights education more widely available to students everywhere. This choice-based game includes narratives inspired by the lives of three activists: cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishor, journalist Zhang Zhan, and student-activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul. Designed to teach young learners about the history and complexities of human rights movements, Rights Arcade is available for free on the App Store and Google Play Store right now!

Minecraft Education Edition

By now, you’ve most likely heard of Minecraft Education Edition, which surpassed two million users shortly after its 2016 launch! This highly versatile teaching tool can be used as an educational aid for STEM concepts, the humanities, and more. Unsurprisingly, among the vast number of lessons created for the game, there is a superb offering of civil rights modules. Here are three excellent civil rights learning experiences that can be found via Minecraft: Education Edition!  

Good Trouble: Lessons in Social Justice

Created by Atlanta-based digital learning specialist Felisa Ford along with her colleagues Ken Shelton and Natasha Rachell, Good Trouble is a learning experience inspired by late U.S. Congressman John Lewis and named after a part of one of his most famous quotes. In this game, students travel alongside Congressman Lewis as he introduces them to civil rights leaders across time and across the globe. Through gameplay, students will learn about the context, purpose, and the important figures (Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to name a few!) behind various social justice movements. 

Black Wall Street

In this game for students ages 8-10, students go back in time to 1920 Tulsa, Oklahoma, and visit thriving businesses that are a part of Black Wall Street. Through this experience created by the Greenwood Cultural Center, Imani Sherman, Nina Navazio, and Tochi Kanu-Ivi, students will learn the history of Black Wall Street, how successful businesses shape communities, and concepts around social justice, allyship, and racial diversity! 

Active Citizen 

For their first foray into game-based learning, The Nobel Peace Center joined forces with Games for Change and Minecraft developer Mojang Studios to create Active Citizen! This game invites students to advocate for and create peace wherever they can. Players meet four different Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Fridtjof Nansen, Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, and the 14th Dalai Lama – and join them on their missions to make positive impacts in their communities and the world at large. Players learn that through action big and small, positive change is possible!

Do I Have a Right?

For an opportunity for students to dig deeply into the basics that make up the larger picture of civil rights in America, check out iCivics: Do I Have a Right! In the game, players run their own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. Players must determine if potential clients have a right, match them with the best lawyer, and win the case. Students grow their law firm by serving as many clients and winning as many cases as they can – all while learning about the fundamental rights afforded to every American citizen. This game is available in both English and Spanish, and players can choose between a full edition or a bill of rights edition. 

More humanities learning with video games:

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