Duke Reacting to the Past Conference

I’m thrilled to be organizing a Reacting to the Past conference at Duke, January 19-20. EVERYONE IS INVITED; AT ANY INSTITUTION, AT ANY LEVEL! We’ve been generously sponsored by the FHI Greater then Games Lab and Wake Forest University, so all Duke and Wake Forest people can register for free. External faculty/admins pay only $75 and grad students $25.

Register now here!

More information: “Reacting to the Past” (RTTP) is an innovative pedagogical approach to teaching the history of ideas, which I first developed at Barnard College. RTTP consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts. The pedagogy aims to promote student engagement with big ideas and to improve intellectual and academic skills. Students do everything that is required in a regular class–read important texts, write papers, give presentations–but in the form of a game.

The pedagogy has grown exponentially in popularity in the last ten years, as it has been adopted by faculty at over 300 colleges and universities. Peer-reviewed studies illustrate that RTTP is remarkably successful in motivating students and energizing faculty. For a detailed account of the RTTP experience, you may wish to check out the feature published in the Chronicle of Higher Education this summer.
At the Duke workshop, participants will learn about RTTP by experiencing the games as would their students. The program will consist of two game tracks, along with a series of plenary sessions: one will feature Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945; and the other, Frederick Douglass, Abolitionism, Slavery, and the Constitution, 1845. The registration fee is $75 for faculty and administrators and $25 for graduate students. The fee includes tuition, materials, and most meals. The costs are so low because the workshop is being generously supported by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke and by the Teaching and Learning Center at Wake Forest University. For further details and registration information, please vist http://reacting.barnard.edu/duke-2013.
In Our Underachieving Colleges (2006), former Harvard President Derek Bok encouraged faculty and administrators to experiment and assess active-learning pedagogies. This workshop is an easy and fun way to explore what many regard as the most successful of these pedagogies, and one of the few that focuses on the classroom rather than online learning.
1. Descriptions of all the games, links to peer-reviewed studies and publications, and other instructor resources are
available our web site: http://reacting.barnard.edu.
2. For a 60-second introduction to RTTP, check out the exchange between Alex Trebek and professor Stephanie Jass
3. For additional testimonials by veteran RTTP instructors from around the nation, visit here.

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