WIU Professor uses video games to teach about the past

By Jaycie Doerr, NEWS3 Assistant Executive Producer

MACOMB, Illinois (News3) – The Professor of History and Department Chair Tim Roberts is using video games to teach his students about the past.

The honors history class, Game the Past, uses simulations to immerse students in history. Roberts assigns students to play games that put them in the shoes of Abreham Lincoln, a fugitive slave, or a middle class man living through the great depression.

Roberts’s students do not just play video games, they create their own using Twine. 

“I think they are attracted to the variety of games they can make. They can tell a personal story,” Roberts said. 

None of the students in his class are history majors, he told us how he enjoys how every student brings their own skills and perspective into the stories they create. 

In the future, Roberts expects to see more digital tools being used in the study of humanities.

“The study of history is really being transformed through new media. It’s not just the study of books and paper sources,” Roberts said, “We are now moving into a digital age.”

Many of Roberts’s students do their homework at the Digital Rec Center on Adams Street. All WIU students have access to gaming consoles and a virtual reality station. 

The Digital Rec is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and students interested in visiting must sign an agreement on their STARS account before gaining access. 

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