How often to students sit at their desks, reading out of a textbook, jotting down key ideas and phrases? This form of education may work well for some topics but how can you get students more involved when teaching them World History? Each topic the students are learning about took place in the past and there are not many ways for students to become actively involved in the study of history when it seems so distant. Thanks to online games and simulations, students are able to take a virtual walk into the world of history and the past.
One major war many students touch base on is World War I. This global conflict began in July 1914. This particular war lasted nearly four years, ending in November of 1918. The start of the war was because Serbia no longer wanted to be a part of the Austrian Empire; they would rather be free. Because of this, a Serbian acted rebelliously, assassinating the Austrian Archduke; this was the first shot of World War I. After the death of their king, Austria wanted revenge on Serbia and threatened war. In order to protect Serbia, Russia stepped in and threatened war on Austria; Russia was acting as the ‘big brother’ to Serbia. Since the war between Austria and Russia was possible, this got Germany involved because of their previous alliance with the Austrians. Russia also had a treaty with France, and this treaty is what brought Germany into war with France and later England. The entire continent of Europe was soon caught up in a terribly violent war, with nearly every country eventually getting sucked into it. Once the war began, the entire world eventually became involved; it was a domino effect. Trench Warfare came to be the main type of warfare during World War I; it was extremely bloody and ended up in a complete and utter stalemate on the border between France and Germany.
Participating in an online simulation may help students, as well as professors and teachers, gain a better understanding of complex events such as World War I. Not only do they become more involved, but the relationships between events become more real if you can act it out or somehow become more engaged. Since this war happened so long ago, it is easier for the students to act as a country themselves, as in a game simulation. In doing this, the students get a chance to see what each nation was individually responsible for–who did what and why did they take this action as opposed to doing something else. World War I was a very complex historical event with lots of ins and outs, and lots of blame assigned to different countries after it was all over. A classroom game simulation can make it easier for students to grasp the smaller topics as well. Reading out of a textbook can give one a broad overview, but it may not be as beneficial to learning the little details the make the event more important and allow students to relate to it better. In the end, online or in-class games allow everyone to get more involved which in turn helps them learn and remember the material much easier.