Serious Games: Immigration, History and Interactivity to Transform Classroom Learning

Date, Time, and Location
Event Date: 
Tue, 07/28/2015 (All day)
North Carolina Humanities Council at UNC Center City in Charlotte, NC
320 East 9th Street Room 504
Charlotte, NC 28202

The North Carolina Humanities Council Offered a Day-Long Teacher Training Institute for Middle and High School Educators

Serious Games was an exciting, day-long professional learning opportunity which filled educator's toolbox with methods to use technology to invigorate your teaching practice and engage student learning. This workshop for Middle and High School Educators welcomed both tech-savvy and tech-curious middle or high school educators, including media consultants and social studies, ELA, ELL, and arts educators. 

This program was FREE for North Carolina educators — including hot breakfast and lunch, snacks, and the opportunity to play. 

Mission US

Mission US is an interactive, role-playing game that immerses students in American history. This session will explore how to use the game along with the supporting document-based questions, primary sources, and other reading, writing, and listening activities. We will explore strategies for whole class, small group, and individual player implementations as well as options for using games as either supplemental learning experiences or core content units of student. Participants will play Mission US, view related educational resources, and discuss practices that will enable them to use game-based learning with their students.  

Workshop Agenda

  • The workshop powerpoint is available here
  • UNC-TV PBS Learning Media partnership with NCDPI — Lisa Maples, Elon Park Elementary
  • Using Games in the Classroom — Eric Freedman, Dean of the James L. Knight School of Communication
  • 3-hour training on Mission US: “City of Immigrants” an immersive game that engages middle and high school students in the study of transformational moments in American history ( — David Wisnieski, Outreach Producer, WNET
  • Online module, community and resources — Jason Lineberger

Benefits of this Workshop

  • Invigorate classroom practice through the use of games and technology
  • Cultivate student buy-in to content areas
  • Increase student engagement in American history by allowing them to see it through the eyes of peers from the past:
    • Learn how Americans struggled to realize the ideals of liberty and equality
    • Understand the role of ordinary men and women, including young people, in history
    • Develop historical empathy
    • Build understanding and critical perception to think like a historian.
  • Earn 0.5 CEU for the workshop; 1 CEU for the workshop and developing lesson plans for an online course to be offered in the fall free of cost through NCCAT: “Mission US: History Simulations for US History”
  • Join a community of learning and support for educators implementing games and digital learning in their classroom
  • Opportunity for extensions and additional credit:
    • Develop and showcase workshop applications for other educators
    • Teach other educators and students what you have learned

Workshop Facilitators

Jason LinebergerJason Lineberger is a professional with 20 years of classroom and district-level experience. He lives in Shelby, North Carolina, and serves Cleveland County Schools as their Digital Learning Coordinator. In that role he has built their own Virtual Academy, and he designs and delivers professional development for teachers and administrators. Jason regularly presents at state and national education conferences; he frequently presents on technology topics at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and he was named a PBS Digital Innovator in 2014.

Lisa MaplesLisa Maples, a 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, is a K-5 Technology Teacher at Elon Park Elementary School in Charlotte, NC where she teaches 1,100 students. She loves to use technology to help students read, research, code and explore allowing them to communicate, create, collaborate and critically think using a variety of digital apps on iPads and Chromebooks through Google Apps for Education. Prior to moving into the role of Technology Teacher, she taught third and fourth grades for 20 years in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. She has recently completed Action Research on engaging students in digital projects as a part of the Governor's Teacher Network. In addition, she is a National Board Certified Teacher as a Middle Childhood Generalist and holds a Master's Degree from UNC-Greensboro as a Reading Specialist. During the past school year, she received a $3,000 grant from the Charlotte Hornets to purchase Sphero Robotic Balls and Legos StoryMaker Kits for her school.  She is passionate about using technology to engage students in learning.

David Wisnieski is a producer of educational content at WNET, public television in New York City. Previously he was a science teacher at the Bronx High School of Science, Hunter College High School, and the American Museum of Natural History. He holds a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in History from Indiana University and M.S. in Secondary Science Education from Lehman College.





Claire Schuch is a Geography and Urban Regional Analysis PhD Candidate at UNC Charlotte. Her main research interests include migration, community health, social inequalities, and urban change. Applying qualitative, GIS, and participatory action methods, Claire is currently working on her dissertation about Hispanic immigrant youth accessing the urban labor market. This research is funded by the National
Science Foundation (NSF), the International Society of Women Geographers (SWG) and UNC Charlotte's Chancellor's Diversity Grant. As part of the Mecklenburg Area Partnership for Primary care Research (MAPPR:, she is working on a five-year National Institutes of Health-funded study on social determinants of health. This community-based participatory research (CBPR) project focuses on reducing health disparities and improving access to primary care for underserved Hispanic communities in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC. This upcoming academic year she will be working with the Levine Museum of the New South to evaluate their major new exhibit ¡Nuevolution! Latinos and the New South.

Dr. Eric Freedman is Dean of the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. In this role, Dr. Freedman has developed strategic partnerships with city and county government, local industry, media organizations, the public schools and libraries, and civically engaged community service providers,
and united these partnerships as a connected learning laboratory with the stated goals of improving city-wide digital and media literacy and strategizing to close the digital divide.

Dr. Freedman is the author of Transient Images: Personal Media in Public Frameworks (Temple University Press). He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of e-Media Studies, and the Board of Trustees of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Dr. Freedman holds a Ph.D. from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.