Escape to Freedom Educational Video Game

The goal of the project is for students to be able to draw parallels between both experiences and understand the experiences the refugee or slave is/was in due to their position as a non citizen. The intended outcome if for students to experience learning in a fun and unique way, something different than just reading a book. We believe that by playing our game, children will gain a better understanding of difficult concepts such as migration and resistance. These can be extremely difficult and grown up concept for children to not only understand, but to also appreciate the effects on a person. The purpose of our game is to not only make these concepts understandable, but to also have an impact on students. Students should walk away from these games with an understanding of how the position as a non citizen can affect one’s movements and opportunities in life and how they use their position to fight back and resist oppression as well as how migration affect people and our country.

What goes into the decision to leave one’s home behind and start over somewhere else? How do you know who to trust or where to go? What kinds of obstacles do you face along the way? As part of the discovery grant, what we would like to do is put a lot of work into researching information for this game in order to produce a factual, quality, and educational product to help answer these questions. Research will not only be focused on well known slave narratives such as Harriet Tubman but also lesser known ones such as William and Ellen Craft. We will also be researching and interviewing Central American refugees to get their stories and experiences.

All of the information going into the game will be as authentic and accurate as possible. In order to conduct accurate research, we will need a team of professional historians well versed in African American history. These individuals will compile the data they find into the different storyline scenarios that will be used for the game. What we would like is for a minimum of eight slave and eight conductor storylines for students to play through. Once students have played through the underground railroad portion of the game, they will then progress to the refugee part of the game. For this part of the game we will need Latin American historians to conduct oral histories with refugees within Elizabeth, NJ. They will also conduct research on political articles, newspaper articles, interviews, as well as other political propaganda. They will compile the data and create eight storylines for Central American refugees. When possible, the slaves featured in the underground railroad game will be of a similar age as the students playing the game. The refugees featured in the game will also be of a similar age as the students playing the game. We feel that by having similar ages between subject and player, it will increase the level of connection between student and content.

We have identified four major humanities themes to present in Escape to Freedom: migration, resistance, the perspective of the slave or conductor and the perspective of the refugee.

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