A Virtual Reality

Battlefield 1 breaks ground teaching history through video games

Payton Mayer, Reporter

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Most people think about virtual reality as headsets or goggles, but when it comes to games such as Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, and most recently- Battlefield 1, virtual reality is used to navigate the world’s history.

Battlefield 1 is an action and adventure shooter video game that takes place in World War I, and the historical background and setting is uncanny.

The game places the player in the destructive world they have built, as they go throughout the world playing and seeing how inventions like the airplane and the tank affected the war and the world. But could a game like this teach teenagers the significance of the war and all the history behind it?

A few teachers at Battlefield High School in Virginia actually used the game to help teach their section on World War I by having the students go out and purchase the game, almost as an assignment. They then tested the students and more than 80% of them passed, and those 80% were the only people who played it.

But would teachers all over the state, or even the country, use this video game to help teach about what is known as the forgotten war?

AP European and World History teacher Lindy Hash chipped in on the topic and whether or not she would use it to teach.

“World War I was a very significant and disastrous historical event,” said Hash. “To say I would use the game to teach my class is an understatement, because I don’t think I’ll be able to have them play the game in class. But if there is a club or something that could have students play this game or games, that would be great.”

Hash also explained that exposing teens to games with great historical events and context is a great way for teens to learn about the world and the United States.

Katie Wayne, who teaches U.S. History and Speech and Debate, explained that there are few positives to a game of this magnitude, but it doesn’t have to deal with the historical affairs of the war.

“I don’t necessarily think a video game can grasp the context of the war and how it caused pain all over the world,” said Wayne. “No offense to video games because some are quite spectacular, I just feel like the best thing it could do is have the player feel the atmosphere of the war which is just as good as the historical context.”

Wayne continued talking about the atmosphere of the war in the game saying, “there’s no way you can go back in time and experience the war and see all the casualties at your hands. So if a game can capture that, that is just as fascinating.”  

Hash and Wayne both talked about the historical events that affected the war and how having a player see those things or learn about what the war was about and what they were fighting for is helpful in the classrooms.

But for one student, this game expands outside of the classroom into his heart and his family. Mitchell Diboll is a junior and his great grandfather fought in World War I and Diboll explained how it opened his eyes to see what his great grandfather went through and endured.

“My great granddad fought in the war and playing the game and going through the story was actually quite sad,” said Diboll. “I was all excited to see what he was in, and I realized it was not all it lived up to me. Don’t get me wrong, the game was great, but on a personal standpoint- it was very sad.”

Diboll expressed his love for his great grandfather and said that now he knows what his grandfather went through, he’s going to pay extra attention in his history class.

Battlefield 1 shows World War I in a way most people could not see the war. Whether that’s for class or it’s part of the family tree, it’s always great to see a world, in a virtual reality.

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A Virtual Reality