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Tony Crider presents games for general studies classes

Associate Professor of Physics Tony Crider was the featured speaker at a regional Reacting to the Past conference held Feb. 25-27 at Newman University. In his opening talk, "Reacting to the Past and General Studies Classes," he addressed how role-playing games can be used in a variety of ways in the undergraduate general studies curriculum.

Reacting to the Past consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. It seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills.

During the conference, Crider will also guide faculty, administrators, and students through a three-day version of The Trial of Galileo game. In The Trial of Galileo, student play the roles of 17th-century cardinals and professors debating the accuracy and heretical nature of Galileo's findings. To support their arguments, they read Aristotle's On the Heavens, excerpts from The Council of Trent, and Galileo's own writings, including Starry Messenger and Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems.

At the conclusion of the conference, Crider discussed Galileo's impact on modern astronomy and reviewed shorter, chapter-length astronomy games in development.

Tony Crider,
2/28/2011 11:34 AM