IUB Online Training Workshop on Role-Playing Games in the Classroom

IUB Online Training Workshop on Role-Playing Games in the Classroom

Thursday, July 28, 2022, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Free and open to all IUB faculty and graduate students
Registration deadline: June 30

Register now

Are you looking for innovative ways to engage your students? The PACE Institute for Role-Immersive Teaching and Learning (PIRTL) invites you to learn about the Reacting to the Past role-playing pedagogy that puts students at center stage. Students learn by taking on roles in elaborate games based on historical scenarios and informed by classic texts. They develop their ability to communicate, work in teams, exercise leadership, think critically, and solve problems. And they have fun doing it. This workshop offers you the opportunity to get a feel for how this approach works in the classroom.

This year we are putting a new twist on the workshop. Rather than rushing through a game that normally takes weeks to play in a classroom, we’ll be playing a “micro-game” that we can play in its entirety in about 90 minutes. We will also be engaging participants with some activities online in the weeks before the workshop to maximize its educational impact, so be sure to sign up soon. Last but not least, we will spend the last portion of the workshop brainstorming ideas for micro-games or scenarios that participants might create, in consultation with PIRTL, to use for their own classes.

The game we’ll play is called The Fate of John Brown. Set in November 1859, the action takes place in a Charlestown, VA courthouse. Radical abolitionist John Brown has just been convicted of treason against Virginia for leading his raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry in an effort to free enslaved people and carry on a war to end slavery. The Virginia governor has convened a conference to decide whether or not to execute Brown or commute his sentence. Conference participants (who are the characters in the game) include Southern partisans of slavery, Black and white abolitionists, Northern Brown sympathizers, and Brown’s wife Mary.  Possible game outcomes include Brown’s death, a commuted sentence, or his armed rescue.

More than 150 years after John Brown’s raid, the issues raised by his case—the horrors and legacy of American slavery, the legitimacy of political violence, the contested character of the American justice system—continue to be relevant today.

As we play and reflect, we will learn about the opportunities and challenges associated with running the games in our classrooms. Each participant will be assigned a role to play. Game materials, instructions, and role assignments will be provided to participants well in advance of the workshop.

To take full advantage of the pre-workshop online activities, registration closes on June 30. FREE and open to all IU-Bloomington faculty and graduate students. For more information, please contact Carl Weinberg at crweinbe@indiana.edu.

Contact us

Carl Weinberg
PACE Institute for Role-Immersive Teaching and Learning (PIRTL)
Indiana University
Woodburn Hall 221
1100 E. Seventh Street
Bloomington, IN 47405