Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College

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9780674735354: Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College

Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Faculty, administrators, and tuition-paying parents have been asking this question for nearly two centuries. And the answer is always more or less the same: students are so deeply absorbed in competitive social play (fraternities, sports, beer pong, World of Warcraft, social media) that they neglect academics.

In Minds on Fire, Carnes shows how role-immersion games channel students’ competitive (and sometimes mischievous) impulses into transformative learning experiences. His discussion is based on interviews with scores of students and faculty who have used a pedagogy called Reacting to the Past, which features month-long games set during the French revolution, Galileo's trial, the partition of India, and dozens of other epochal moments in disciplines ranging from art history to the sciences. These games have spread to over three hundred campuses around the world, where many of their benefits defy expectations. Students think more critically by internalizing alternative selves, and they understand the past better by filtering it through their present. Fierce competition between opposing sides leads to strong community bonds among teammates and develops speaking, writing, leadership, and problem-solving skills.

Minds on Fire is a provocative critique of educational reformers who deplored role-playing pedagogies, from Plato to Dewey to Erikson. Carnes also makes an impassioned appeal for pedagogical innovation. At a time when cost-cutting legislators and trustees are increasingly drawn to online learning, Carnes focuses on how bricks-and-mortar institutions of higher education can set young minds on fire.

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About the Author:

Mark C. Carnes is Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Review:

[Carnes] marshals evidence for the effectiveness of Reacting to the Past from numerous sources―first from his own nearly 20 years of teaching Reacting games in his courses, and then from many of the faculty members who teach the games on more than 300 college campuses... [Minds on Fire is] Carnes’s beautifully written apologia for this fascinating and powerful approach to teaching and learning in higher education. If we are willing to open our minds and explore student-centered approaches like Reacting, we might just find that the spark of student engagement we have been searching for in higher education’s mythical past can catch fire in the classrooms of the present. (James M. Lang Chronicle of Higher Education 2014-09-29)

In Minds on Fire, Carnes offers qualitative and quantitative evidence to show that an immersive gamified approach to the curriculum not only significantly increases student engagement and motivation, but produces greater familiarity with landmark historical events and ideas, greater empathy for historical actors, and greater engagement with the skills that college mission statements advocate: critical thinking, close reading, moral reasoning, leadership skills, and analytic and argumentative speaking and writing. (Steven Mintz History News Network 2014-08-25)

Minds on Fire demonstrates not only how we can transform our classes into crucibles of engagement and critical thinking, but also how we can build communities, grow empathy, teach leadership, and turn students into voracious readers. With convincing research and case studies on every page, this is one of the most stimulating books on higher education this year. (José Antonio Bowen, President of Goucher College)

Every professor who wrestles with finding ways to bring more vitality to the classroom will find Minds on Fire to be disarmingly honest, with insights that invite a serious consideration of role-immersion games. (Richard L. Morrill, Chancellor, University of Richmond)

As we continue to face the familiar problems of how to engage students and what to do about the crisis of liberal education, Carnes offers excitement, optimism, and the spirit of experimentation. Minds on Fire is engagingly written, witty, and full of novel insights into contemporary classroom dynamics and the psychology of today’s college students. (Ian F. McNeely, University of Oregon)

This book is a highly engaging and inspirational study of a ‘new’ technique that just might change the way educators bring students to learning in the 21st century. (D. D. Bouchard Choice 2015-08-01)

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Faculty, administrators, and tuition-paying parents have been asking this question for nearly two centuries. And the answer is always more or less the same: students are so deeply absorbed in competitive social play (fraternities, sports, beer pong, World of Warcraft, social media) that they neglect academics. In Minds on Fire, Carnes shows how role-immersion games channel students competitive (and sometimes mischievous) impulses into transformative learning experiences. His discussion is based on interviews with scores of students and faculty who have used a pedagogy called Reacting to the Past, which features month-long games set during the French revolution, Galileo s trial, the partition of India, and dozens of other epochal moments in disciplines ranging from art history to the sciences. These games have spread to over three hundred campuses around the world, where many of their benefits defy expectations. Students think more critically by internalizing alternative selves, and they understand the past better by filtering it through their present. Fierce competition between opposing sides leads to strong community bonds among teammates and develops speaking, writing, leadership, and problem-solving skills. Minds on Fire is a provocative critique of educational reformers who deplored role-playing pedagogies, from Plato to Dewey to Erikson. Carnes also makes an impassioned appeal for pedagogical innovation. At a time when cost-cutting legislators and trustees are increasingly drawn to online learning, Carnes focuses on how bricks-and-mortar institutions of higher education can set young minds on fire. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780674735354

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Book Description Harvard University Press. Book Condition: New. Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Mark Carnes says it is because students are so deeply absorbed in competitive social play. He shows how month-long role-immersion games in the curriculum can channel those competitive impulses into transformative learning experiences, and how bricks-and-mortar colleges can set young minds on fire. Num Pages: 300 pages. BIC Classification: JNM; JNT. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 143 x 218 x 31. Weight in Grams: 638. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780674735354

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Book Description Harvard University Press, 2014. Book Condition: New. Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Mark Carnes says it is because students are so deeply absorbed in competitive social play. He shows how month-long role-immersion games in the curriculum can channel those competitive impulses into transformative learning experiences, and how bricks-and-mortar colleges can set young minds on fire. Num Pages: 300 pages. BIC Classification: JNM; JNT. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 143 x 218 x 31. Weight in Grams: 638. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780674735354

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