In this exclusive feature on recently launched Gamasutra sister site Game Career Guide
, Karen Schrier, a graduate of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, reflects on her experiences using GPS technologies to engage and educate students on the historical Battle of Lexington through the use of her augmented reality (AR) game, Reliving the Revolution
In this extract, Schrier writes about one of the things that went wrong in the execution of the game, which was played out by groups of students on the MIT campus in an effort to ascertain who fired the first shot at the famous battle that sparked the beginning of the American Revolution:
"Having one large, complex goal (who fired the first shot at Lexington?) was initially overwhelming for some of the participants--they had to gather lots of contradictory data, and it was sometimes difficult for them to find a clear path. Later iterations of the game play provided smaller, more manageable mini-missions, which helped the participants better understand what was happening in the game and evaluate the larger goal. These smaller goals were distinct for each of the roles, and to solve them, participants needed to rely on information found only by other roles, which further encouraged collaboration."
However, Schrier later adds that despite this, the students who played the game expressed a great deal of fun and enthusiasm at learning about the historical event through virtual means afforded by Reliving the Revolution
"The participants worked well together, and learned more because they were sharing tasks and bouncing ideas off of each other all throughout the game. The debate at the end of the game helped solidify learning by allowing them to collectively interpret evidence, argue their views, and share conclusions. In each trial of the game, participants came up with a distinct, but well-supported solution as to what happened in Lexington and who fired the first shot."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on Reliving the Revolution
, including plenty more intriguing findings by Schrier on her AR game project (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).