Online role play (convicts and officials)
Students come to understand the lives of others through role play – researched and moderated, with a clear end point and debriefing.
This activity, developed for a course in Australian history, can be used wherever you want students to understand past or remote events through researching the life of a real person, acting in character as that person, and collaborating with others in role.
Students choose or are assigned a role (here, a convict or an officer) which they research through online resources and then summarise in a role description. Given a scenario by the teacher, they use the Fablusi online role-playing environment (which keeps the identity of characters anonymous to the players) to make contact with others and collaborate on a written product (here, a petition to the Governor from the convicts, or a resolution from the officers).
Essential elements of the activity design are the agreed endpoint (without which learning would probably be superficial) and the role of teacher as moderator during role play and debrief.
[Sandra Wills, Albert Ip, Adair Bunnett]
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