How online simulations help students develop historical empathy
As the program director for history at Excelsior College — a fully online college that primarily serves adult learners — I have a particular interest in engaging experiences that incorporate social-emotional learning and help students develop historical empathy. The aim is for them to not just understand events, but the perspectives of those who lived through them and made the decisions that shaped the past and the present.
One common way history teachers do that is through role-playing exercises, but adults often resist that approach. Having students take on personas through writing in the voice of a journalist of a time period, for example, or staging debates can great ways to get adult students to approach the past with nuance and consider the conditions people faced at particular historical moments.
Perhaps one of the most engaging ways to look at history from specific perspectives, however, is through simulations.
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