CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thanks to the educational video game ARTé: Mecenas by Triseum, Islander students now better understand the cultural and societal influences behind Renaissance artworks. Dr. Carey Rote, Professor of Art with an emphasis in Art History at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, worked as an advisor and her art history survey classes served as beta testers for ARTé to improve the accuracy and curriculum of their video game.
In 2016, by combing art and technology, Triseum released a single-player simulation game that gives the player an interactive experience as a Medici banker during the Italian Renaissance. The House of Medici was an Italian banking family, and through the game, the players navigate politics and wealth in the pursuit of purchasing art.
“It’s very rewarding to see students participate, enjoy the game and hear their feedback on what they learned,” said Rote. “I’m always trying to make the students aware of the changes in society and culture over time and how these changes are reflected through works of art. The game benefits the students by providing them with broader cultural experiences.”
Classes at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi were selected to do trial runs in spring 2016 and later joined the Institutional Review Board program in spring 2017. Rote assigned the game as extra credit for her students. The students would take a pre-game and post-game test to evaluate their increased knowledge. According to the fall 2016 study, there was a 24.7 percent knowledge gain for players.
The success of the game resulted in Rote being a virtual presenter at the 2017 Texas A&M University Technology Summit in Galveston. During the “Game-Based Learning in the Classroom” panel with Triseum, she spoke about the game and her experiences with it.
“For students, it has to be interactive and challenging,” Rote said. “ARTé: Mecenas makes students think outside of the box. It makes them think harder and more globally. If they are gaming-type students, they just really love the interactive aspect of it.”
While Rote only assigned one hour of game play for the extra credit to be valid, some students played up to 10 hours during that week. One student even played up to 18 hours.
Over the years, Rote has observed how technological advances have supplemented her teaching of art history classes. Even teaching delivery has changed for Rote—from antiquated projector slides to PowerPoints presentations and now video and online teaching tools. Videogames, she noted, seems like a logical progression.