Stefan Tops
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Dear all,

My name is Stefan Tops, 30 years old from the Netherlands. I’ve been a boardgame fanatic for as long as I can remember and play boardgames as much as my busy life allows me to. Furthermore I’m finishing my study for teacher of European history here in the Netherlands.

One of the final requirements for getting my teachers degree is writing a thesis. A logical approach was to blend my work with my hobby. Hence, the subject of my thesis is:

How can existing board game mechanisms contribute to history education within the frameworks of “Historical Thinking”.
(Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_thinking)

My thesis focuses on three dimensions: educational concepts, didactic concepts and board game design concepts. For the latter dimension I was hoping to receive input from gamers.

For this reason I’ve formulated a survey / questionnaire regarding board game design and board game mechanics. I’ve sent this survey / questionnaire to a number of acclaimed people, ranging from game designers to game publishers and people otherwise affiliated with board game design.

I sincerely hope you will help me by filling in the survey / questionnaire. My deepest appreciation and eternal gratitude would be yours.

If you want to help me with my endeavour please PM me your email address and I will forward you the survey / questionnaire.

Sincerely yours,

Stefan Tops
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Donald Dennis
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If someone wanted to do your survey, when would it be due back to you?
 
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Sean M
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Hi Stefan, though I am not an acclaimed person I'd be very interested in reading about what results you get back.
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David Boeren
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I just PM'ed you, but even after reading that wikipedia link I still don't understand what you mean here. It did nothing to explain what "historical thinking" was or how it differs from "normal thinking". All it did was point out that it was separate from fact memorization (which is of course not thinking at all).

Are we talking about how peoples common modes of learning differed in different time periods?

Are we talking about picturing issues within the context of the time period and how people saw things then?

Are we talking about how boardgame mechanics (like any other technology) have evolved over time through history? Or how expectations of what is or is not a suitable game mechanic have changed?

I haven't a clue, but maybe the survey will make sense of it all when it arrives.
 
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Stefan Tops
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Walsfeo wrote:
If someone wanted to do your survey, when would it be due back to you?


The deadline I had set in the beginning of the project was 14 days after receipt of the survey. However, since time has passed since the beginning and my overall deadline is closing in, i'm setting the deadline at Monday the 5th of March for "official" replies.

All filled in surveys on that date will be considered in the thesis, but off course all surveys that are returned after that date will also be read and posted here on BGG in a separate results thread.

Thanks to anyone willing to help!
 
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James Fung
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dboeren wrote:
I just PM'ed you, but even after reading that wikipedia link I still don't understand what you mean here. It did nothing to explain what "historical thinking" was or how it differs from "normal thinking". All it did was point out that it was separate from fact memorization (which is of course not thinking at all).

Unfortunately many people think that history is trivia: names, places, and dates. The idea of historical/normal thinking in that context would be new to them.
 
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Stefan Tops
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dboeren wrote:
I just PM'ed you, but even after reading that wikipedia link I still don't understand what you mean here. It did nothing to explain what "historical thinking" was or how it differs from "normal thinking". All it did was point out that it was separate from fact memorization (which is of course not thinking at all).

Are we talking about how peoples common modes of learning differed in different time periods?

Are we talking about picturing issues within the context of the time period and how people saw things then?

Are we talking about how boardgame mechanics (like any other technology) have evolved over time through history? Or how expectations of what is or is not a suitable game mechanic have changed?

I haven't a clue, but maybe the survey will make sense of it all when it arrives.


The wikipedia article isn't really a thorough explanation of the concept. The definition of historical thinking is somewhat different in the US compared to the definition in the Netherlands.

This PDF is an excellent explanation of the concept. http://shailendrag.wikispaces.com/file/view/Thinking8.pdf

In this article the developers of "Active historical thinking" make the case for an active focus on historical thinking strategies and explore how structuring students' "thinking about thinking" in subject-specific terms can engage students and develop their historical understanding.

The questions in the survey focus on board game design, board games and board games in education in general. It's up to me to combine the answers with the concepts. Why did I propose this subject for my thesis again?
 
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James Fung
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topstefan wrote:
The questions in the survey focus on board game design, board games and board games in education in general. It's up to me to combine the answers with the concepts. Why did I propose this subject for my thesis again?

Like many theses, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that you're in the thick of it, it's not so clear cut anymore. I'll pass along the advice my professors told me: your thesis probably won't be your best work, and your thesis probably won't change the world. But it is a chance to show people what you can do. Make a plan and get it done. (And stay off BGG, if necessary. ) Good luck.
 
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Mary Gross
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » Games in the Classroom
Re: How can existing board game mechanisms contribute to history education within the frameworks of “Historical Thinking”.
Are you still working on this project? If so, I may be able to help. I am a history professor and have been working on developing historical thinking skills using games and simulations. I have done quite a bit of research on the topic. Let me know if I can help.

Mary
 
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