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SASA’s Archaeogaming Team Presents at UNC’s Humanities for the Public Good Symposium 2022!

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Last week, SASA’s Archaeogaming Team spoke at the University of North Carolina’s Humanities for the Public Good Symposium 2022! SASA founder Dr. David Danzig and Archaeogaming Team Leader Paige Brevick shared SASA’s mission and work to improve education through our Archaeogaming Project during the virtual symposium, describing the myriad ways SASA is expanding the reach of Ancient Studies in young students. David gave a brief overview of SASA’s mission: to reverse the decline of Ancient Studies in higher education by engaging the public, increasing access to research, improving education, and bringing students and scholars together in their shared passion for the study of the Ancient World. After his discussion about SASA, David passed the stage to Paige, who began describing one of SASA’s most influential projects: SASA’s Archaeogaming Education Program.

The Archaeogaming team is part of SASA’s initiative to make Ancient Studies accessible and relevant to students. Archaeogaming is a new field that paints Ancient Studies in a medium familiar to students and accessible to teachers: video games. Through use of video game footage from popular games in 10-minute videos for classroom use and discussion, students recognize context and narrative in the ancient world through familiar historical video game scenes. Guided by a historical figure as the video’s narrator, students learn about the topic of the module as they walk through scenes from relevant video games, in combination with photos of other ancient objects and ethnographic scenes.

SASA’s Archaeogaming Program has been creating Archaeogaming Education Modules (AEMs) that can be used by 4th-6th grade teachers free of charge. The modules are flexible and asynchronous, encourage active-learning and participation, and require no gaming knowledge or gaming consoles. Importantly, SASA has been working with experts to ensure these modules meet state and federal learning standards. Alongside video materials, the modules include discussion questions, creative/tactile activities, and quizzes. Modules also come with a teacher’s pack which includes context and other information to reduce outside preparation time for instructors. Paige also spoke about the many experts and education consultants involved in creating these modules, changing details and approaches to expand critical thinking in students and encourage discussion.

Paige continued by explaining the purpose of these modules in the context of SASA’s broader mission. Ancient Studies needs to expand beyond elite contexts in higher education and engage young adult learners and present itself as an active and engaging subject. By equipping teachers and instructors with easy-to-use tools, we make Ancient Studies accessible to a wider range of students with diverse backgrounds.

She went on to describe AEM’s in further detail, and to present portions of released and unreleased footage from modules that are currently in development. Module themes for this year are the Viking Diaspora and Medieval Medicine. The conversation of diaspora and the exchange of ideas between cultures is exceedingly relevant in today’s context. By bringing these themes into a conversation concerning antiquity, these Archaeogaming modules present to students the importance of understanding the past.

SASA’s Archaeogaming Education Program has been reaching teachers across the United States, with over 100 downloads of released modules. Paige discussed implementation in North Carolina, as well as SASA’s work to reach more North Carolina teachers, so that more instructors that are interested might discover the potential of Archaeogaming as a field and educational practice. The Archaeogaming Education Program is currently working toward developing a total of 16 modules for use in a half semester of social studies or history classes in line with state curricula, and aims to upgrade the modules to support an undergraduate World History I course.

The presentation concluded with a brief Q&A and a call for involvement. SASA has many resources available beyond even these modules for teachers and students looking to get involved with our mission! If you would like to watch the recorded presentation for yourself, the recording is available here. Thank you to Humanities for the Public for giving SASA the opportunity to present our work at this year’s symposium!


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