Assassin’s Creed has a new mission: Working in the classroom

History has long served as a backdrop in the Assassin’s Creed, with storylines that center on pivotal times in history – from the Third Crusade to Imperial China and beyond. Following 2017’s release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, set in Ptolemaic Egypt, the team behind the popular video game decided that allowing players to learn more about life in ancient Egypt might make for a good teaching aid. Thus, they created a mode within the game that possesses a series of Discovery Tours. The team hoped that by putting history front and center, “the game may give teachers a new way to connect with some students”.

Edeyli Marku, a middle-school teacher at Intermediate School 230 in Jackson Heights, Queens, said there could be “tremendous value in it”, especially for students who are primarily visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. For these students, she added that “exposing them to a different learning vehicle is always beneficial”.

Maxime Durand, lead researcher and history consultant for the Assassin’s Creed’s franchise, and Jean Guesdon, the creative director on Origins, said they often heard from educators who saw the potential of using the games in their classrooms. In Origins, the 75 available Discovery Tours, cover daily life, monuments, agriculture, the lives of Greek and Roman settlers, and other topics. The makers have also included a Behind the Scenes feature to explain how and why they chose to represent certain objects. Mr. Durand said he hoped this would “prompt students to think critically about how games are created and the way stories are told”.

After the release of Origins, Marc-André Éthier, a professor at the University of Montreal who studies materials that are being used to teach high school history, decided to conduct a study to determine if the Discovery Tours in Origins could teach someone as much as a lecture. His study suggested that students who had traditional lessons with a teacher did better on a test that the ones who had only take the Discovery Tour in the game. However, the test scores of these students still showed improvement of 22 percent to 44 percent, showing the positive benefits of using the Discovery Tours as learning aids in the classroom.

In my opinion, it’s always good to leverage on current interests to teach effectively. By leveraging on what our students are interested in, educators will be able to craft lessons that resonate with their students, in addition to making learning engaging and interesting. Using the game and its Discovery Tours feature is a good example of captivating students’ attention through their beloved leisure activities.

If you want to find out more about the Discovery Tours in Assassin’s Creed Origins, click the following link:

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