Module 6: Digital Storytelling and Games

Module 6 is intended to introduce you to the basics of digital storytelling and games, which encompasses everything from digital videos to podcasting to interactive text or graphic games. The readings will help you explore a variety of ways scholars have used the digital to tell historical stories or teaching historical lessons. The technical activities will introduce you to Twine, which is a platform for creating interactive stories (like the old Choose Your Own Adventure books).


1. Krijn H.J. Boom et al, “Using Video Games as a Platform to Teach about the Past,” in Communicating the Past in the Digital Age edited by Sebastian Hageneur (Ubiquity Press, 2020).

2. play a bit of 1980s Colossal Cave Adventure and the 1990s Oregon Trail (both emulated online)

3. explore the free chapter(s) of Kate Heartfield, “The Road to Canterbury.”

4. listen to one of the following history podcasts: “Zooming Ahead: How Virtual Learning is Shaping the College Classroom,” BackStory, 2020 OR “Eden to Ashes” OR “Greener Pastures,” from RRCHNM’s podcast, Consolation Prize (Our newest podcast, Green Tunnel, is supposed to launch on October 1st so if you’d rather listen to a podcast about the Appalachian Trail you can wait a day or two and see if it comes out in time.)

5. watch the PA Labor History Society, “Homestead Strike of 1892

6. OPTIONAL: explore the prototype of “Pox and the City“ (requires depreciated Flash technology)

7. OPTIONAL: read Megan Zahneis, “A Ph.D. Student Simulated a Day in the Life of a Covid-19 Era Campus. It Went Viral, But It Wasn’t Pretty.” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1, 2020 (remember to use the VPN) and explore one of the Twine stories (undergraduate student | graduate studentfaculty member | staff member). Consider how Zahneis uses Twin to convey an argument as well as provide a narrative/game-like experience.

8. participate in the Slack discussion

Technical Activities

1. download/install or use the online version of Twine and complete the Twine tutorial

2. get together with 2-4 of your classmates to create an historical digital story and share it with the class via Slack for discussion

(Want more help with formatting your text? Check out the Twine guide and/or this Markdown cheat sheet).