NJ Teacher Creates Game to Teach About the American Revolution

A Paramus, New Jersey history teacher has developed a simple video game to help teach his students about the American Revolutionary War. History teacher David Alloco's game is called Choosing Sides: The American Revolution in Bergen County. In the game players take on the role of Hackensack resident John Van Dunk, during the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

Van Dunk talks to other citizens in Bergen County to make up his mind to be a Loyalist who sides with the British, or a Patriot who joins the American colonists. The game, which sounds much like an adventure game, is populated with real historical figures such as the Rev. Gerrit Lydekker and his servant Thomas.

"What the kids ultimately see is that people ultimately choose sides for a host of different reasons," Allocco tells the Paramus Patch.

One interesting thing that surprised Alloco is that a lot more students chose to stand on the side of Britain than he ever expected. He reasoned that some students chose to side with the ruling class at the time because they were thinking about their survival.

"They really got into it because it's something that was presented to them in a unique way—in a 21st century way," Allocco said.

Students spent two class days playing the game and keeping a journal, which they were graded on. In the journal they wrote as John Van Dunk, and tried to explain their decision-making process.

Allocco said the video game was just another way of selling students on their lessons. Allocco, who has a background in marketing, also drew all the characters in the game using Google Sketchup to create the settings. The game can be played on Apple Keynote or Microsoft PowerPoint. It took him about three summers to create the game.

Allocco wants to create more games in the future that can put kids in key moments in American history. At one time he considered creating a game set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, with players taking on the role of President John F. Kennedy.

Source: Paramus Patch, Image Credit: Shutterstock

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