Hi all! As some may know I'm a PhD student of Egyptology. For a few years now I've been interested in conducting something of a "Digital Humanities" experiment and I want to take a survey of the level of interest in participating. At the moment, it's an idea that has been floating around in my head, so there's nothing at all concrete. Maybe it's even a dumb idea.
The idea is to test the educational value of a computer game called Pharaoh. I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but it's like SimCity to the extreme, set, obviously, in ancient Egypt. Personally, I've found it to be extraordinarily educational and have told many people that I believe it would benefit anyone who studies the rise and development of the "state."
The minutiae of the project are still in the sketch phase I guess. My plan is to collect a group of volunteers (if I could get a grant, maybe these volunteers would be paid!) who know nothing about ancient Egypt. One group would play the game for a certain amount of time (maybe an hour a day for a month or two?), and another group would be given a more-or-less formal "course" on ancient Egypt by yours truly. The lessons would be video lectures and readings that would take up an equal amount of time as that of the gameplay. Those who play the game would need to show me what levels they've accomplished. Then at the end of this "course", each group would take an exam (the same exam for both groups), and I would then compare the averages of each group's score to measure the extent to which the game has been able to educate the player.
Naturally, there would be a list of requirements for each group, such as the game players can't use cheats or do any outside research, etc. Also, the game would be provided for you...everything would be free of charge. Alas, I think the game operates only on Windows. The results would hopefully be published in a peer-review journal and all participants would be acknowledged unless one would rather remain anonymous. In the article itself, specific names would not be used in order not to point out that so-and-so failed miserably, etc.
In short, would anyone here be game, as it were, to participate in this (at present in an infant stage) experiment? Do you think such a research project is viable? Any extra ideas on the process?
Thanks and have a lovely day! Don't forget to drink your Hunrath hooch.