Serious Fun: Game Design to Support Learning about the Surrender of Singapore, pp. 8 of 10

When the timeline was completed students re-evaluated the events so as to better understand the chronology. After the game students were asked to complete a questionnaire which was aimed at understanding their views on the game and how it helped them to better understand the Surrender of Singapore. Collaborative efforts, curiosity, interactivity and visuals were highlighted as the most liked aspects of the game. One student stated, “it helps to make [history learning] more interesting.”

Overall, students seemed to use the game as a learning platform to better understand the chronology (or the sequence of events) that transpired during the battle of Malaya and Singapore’s surrender and to enhance their content knowledge on each event. In addition, based on our observations we think that the game was effective in promoting inquiry-driven learning and the use of technology (map apps). In fact, students felt similar games can be adapted in understanding other historical events such as World War II, the Founding of Singapore, and the Independence of Singapore. As one student put it, similar timeline card games are useful “especially for topics that require the knowledge of the sequence of events to understand the context and understand why the people then think or feel a certain way.”

Conclusion and Next Steps

Now that we have designed and piloted the game, our next steps are to make it part of a curriculum package that would include pre-game instructional activities as well as post-game activities and assessment. For example, we have discussed having the students write a short account of the surrender of Singapore by selecting the 5-7 most important events leading to the fall supported with reasons for why these contributed to eventual surrender. We will also use feedback from the game to revise some of the information on the cards. We are planning to research student learning from playing the game as well, once it is implemented in secondary classrooms.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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