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Decision-Making Games

Russel Tarr demonstrates how today’s technology can enliven teaching and learning about the past.

Whilst the government is keen to pour money at schools to purchase online materials for their classes, it appears less concerned about monitoring the quality of that material, which is often substandard and cynically packaged by the big corporations for a ‘quick buck’. Maybe this is a bit harsh, but of the ‘curriculum online’ approved materials I have looked at, few of them justify their exorbitant price.

In fact, there is only one piece of software I have ever purchased which has justified its price, and it has justified that many times over. The package is called Quandary and is marketed by the same people who manufacture the excellent (and entirely free) quiz-building software, Hot Potatoes.

The software allows you to create your own interactive decision-making games, which are a straightforward, educational and engaging way of incorporating ICT into history lessons. These are like the old ‘choose your own adventure’ books which were popular ten or fifteen years ago: students usually play in role as a historical character and are presented with a range of possible options or courses of action. The decision they make has a bearing on the situation they then find themselves in and the new range of choices they then face.

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