I’ve previously shared online history games created by Mission U.S. I really liked the first one they created about the American Revolution, For Crown Or Colony, and posted about their subsequent simulations on Native Americans and on slavery. However, since I wasn’t teaching U.S. History at the time, I didn’t bother to try-out those next two simulations first and just assumed they’d be as good as the first one.

Big mistake.

Reading a post today by Rafranz Davis showed me I made a an inexcusable error in not exploring the slavery interactive further prior to blogging about it. Trust me, you definitely want to read her post. Here’s just one sentence from it:

The problem here is that IT’S ABOUT SLAVERY…one of the darkest times in American history that STILL holds deep wounds…irresponsibly presented as a “too easy fix” on the part of the slaves themselves through decision making.

Renee Moore left this comment on the post:

I agree with Sabrina, attempts to create simulations or even role playing around these issues requires serious forethought and extensive communication with those affected.

In the meantime, if the goal is to give students (or adults) some idea of what the life of a slave was like, trying reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

I had learned about Rafranz’s post through this tweet by Renee:

Based on Rafranz’s critique (and the following tweet), I’m also going to revisit their Native American simulation.


Coincidentally, today Richard Byrne posted about a new Mission U.S. simulation on immigration.

I’ll have to explore this new one further, and hope it’s not similar to the iCivics fiasco a couple of years ago when they featured a game on a similar topic. Based on Richard’s description, it sounds like they may not have made the same mistakes, but I will still be exploring it thoroughly before posting about it.

This should be a lesson to the creators of these kinds of simulations AND there are important lessons I need to learn, too.

Also, see John Spencer’s post, Injustice Isn’t A Game and Ed Week’s Digital ‘Slavery Simulation’ Game for Schools Draws Ire, Praise.