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Play a starring role in your textbook: A digital web platform with an embedded role-playing game

Laura Spielvogel and Christian Spielvogel

Keywords: ANTHROPOLOGY; DIGITAL; E-TEXTBOOKS; ROLE-PLAY; SIMULATIONS; TEXTBOOKS

In this report, we introduce our digital e-textbook web platform with an integrated role-playing game, which has been created for 'introduction to anthropology' courses. We believe that textbooks have the potential to do more to motivate students' pursuit of learning if their material (topically organised chapters supported by leading theories, concepts and ideas in a discipline) is tied to an engaging role-playing narrative whereby students can access, analyse, critique and apply information as characters in a simulation. Thus, we have created a two-sided platform that allows students to flip between a macro context and a role-playing simulation. The macro context explores the challenges and rewards of fieldwork, the politics surrounding ethnographic representation and the contested theories of culture. These issues are typically covered in a print-based anthropology textbook but here they have additional digital features. These topics are then applied in a role-playing simulation, Marriage of Cultures, that allows each student anonymously to play a character in a three to four week, open-ended narrative structured around the imaginary wedding of a Japanese bride and her Italian-American groom.

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