PRINCETON, N.J., May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A transformative professional program for U.S. history teachers has named 57 new Fellows across four states.
The Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship, inaugurated in 2016 with a group of New Jersey teachers, has been expanded this year by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to support selected middle- and high-school teachers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey.
The WW HistoryQuest program blends games, play, and digital tools to transform both teacher practice and student engagement. Developed in partnership with the New York City-based Institute of Play, the WW HistoryQuest Fellowship helps teachers bring game-based learning into their classrooms, both making games and teaching students the principles of design thinking, strategy, resources, and variables that apply to historical situations as well as to games.
One 2016 WW HistoryQuest Fellow wrote, in an evaluation of the program, "This experience has encouraged and motivated me to remain in the profession longer… I regained my passion for and love of teaching."
The 57 new WW HistoryQuest Fellows for 2017 (see list below) come from 43 schools in 33 districts across the four participating states. They will gather in Princeton for a weeklong intensive in July 2017, with several follow-up sessions—virtual workshops and individual coaching—to follow during the 2017–18 school year. All Fellows were first nominated by their schools and/or districts and then chosen through a rigorous selection process at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Schools and/or districts were particularly encouraged to nominate teams of teachers, to support collaboration between formal HistoryQuest sessions.
"These are impressive teachers who will seize the opportunity that HistoryQuest program offers," said Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. "Some already use games in the classroom, and others are looking for new instructional strategies. They are all committed to presenting U.S. history in a way that is fresh and engaging—that gets students to think creatively about the forces and decisions that drive historic events and movements. Game-based learning does that. It draws students in."
The key, Hull said, is not only teachers' use of games in the classroom, but their learning to teach students to think like game designers.
"It's one thing to play something like 'History Bingo' to reward students' memorizing dates and facts," she noted. "In this approach, however, teachers work with students to help them understand the relationships between goals, assets, and outcomes that drive historic developments, and to see how small changes can have large effects. This is a powerful approach to critical thinking and collaboration."
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. Through participation in the program, educators will: 1) experience firsthand the playing, modification, and design of games mapped to content standards; 2) experiment with integrated games in classroom settings; 3) experiment with off-the-shelf commercial games for classroom use; 4) learn how to create assessment tools for use with games in the classroom; 5) integrate game-like frameworks into curricula; and 6) gain experience using the design process for game design and as a methodology for use with inquiry-based learning.
A full list of the 2017 HistoryQuest Fellows can be found at http://woodrow.org/news/historyquest-expands-new-class.
Note: See 90-second video on the WW HistoryQuest program at https://youtu.be/C3hFUstIBgM.
Patrick Riccards (@eduflack)
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SOURCE Woodrow Wilson Foundation