Luther senior Meyer develops a game to recreate history

“Reacting to the Past” games are designed to create a fun and engaging way for students of all ages to understand foreign cultures and global citizenship. For her summer research project, Luther College senior Katrina Meyer of Mount Prospect, Illinois, created historically based role-playing simulations in order to stimulate and to engage students in the learning of modern languages.

Meyer, daughter Joe and Sonja of Mount Prospect, is a 2015 graduate of John Hersey High School. She is majoring in political science with minors in Spanish, Nordic studies and Russian studies.

For this project Meyer collaborated with Anne-Marine Feat, Luther associate professor of French, and Maren Johnson, Luther assistant professor of Scandinavian studies. She also worked with six Norwegian students from the University of Norway—Kristiansand as well as four other Luther students.

In these RTTP games, each player is given a character that is closely related to a real person in a specific time period and country, and given goals to accomplish. The purpose of the game is to help the players to determine why the individual originally made the decision while increasing their modern language competency.

"If you become one of those characters and understand their story and where they come from, the decisions become more understandable too," Meyer said. Through her research she especially enjoyed working with the Norwegian students. "Meeting and getting to know them was an amazing experience. They were so much fun, and we got to learn even more Norwegian language and culture with them," she said.

This research process was challenging for Meyer and her collaborators; they found it hard to find specific information on individuals from such a long time ago. However, Meyer feels that it helped her to get a better idea of what she would like to do with her Luther education.

Meyer, Feat, and Johnson's collaboration is one of 30 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars Program and Dean's Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities that are part of Luther's academic core and intend to deepen the learning process.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.