Textbook vs assassin's creed unity : comparing their engagement with second-order historical thinking concepts with reference to the French revolution.
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This research aims to ascertain the manner in which two grade 10 CAPS-approved History textbooks and the historically-situated electronic game Assassin’s Creed Unity engage with second-order historical thinking concepts with reference to the French Revolution, in an attempt to create a historically literate learner. Historical education has become an ideological playground, dominated by official forms of education, such as the ubiquitious textbook, which aim to inculcate particular values into a historically literate learner. Yet history education is increasingly, and unpredictably, influenced by unofficial forms of pedagogy, such as the historically-situated electronic game which impact not only on learners’ schema, but their educators too. Adopting Seixas’s six second-order historical thinking concepts (historical significance, source evidence, continuity and change, cause and consequence, historical perspective taking and the moral or ethical dimension) as categorical filters, similarities and differences across the three tools were identified. Within an interpretivist framework, these similarities and differences were studied and recorded utilising a Qualitative Comparative Content Analysis approach, a method which amalgamates the Qualitative Content Analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis approaches. These similarities and differences, as well as the manifest and latent negotiations of each, were, in turn, qualitatively contemplated to gain an understanding of what each revealed about the ideological implications of the divergent pedagogical tools and the manner in which these are expectant within a historically literate learner. Through latent analysis of the findings, it became apparent that, while both the textbooks and the electronic game were created within an ideological framework, it was this framework which specifically drove the depiction of the French Revolution within the textbooks. Through repetition and implicit reinforcement of the democratic establishments of the French Revolution and its connection with the South African Revolution of 1994, which saw the demise of the Apartheid era, the textbooks illustrate that a suitable historically literate learner must be one encompassed of and perpetuating the ideals fought for in the South African Revolution. The electronic game, in dichotomy of this as an artefact of the counter-culture, adopts an ideology which pushes against grand narratives and questions whose history is correct and deserves to be witnessed. For educational practictioners, researchers and those immersed in designing games for learners, the findings suggest that any integration of electronic games into official educational practice will require that they devote themselves to establishing a particular historically literate learner in line with the DBE and South African government’s agenda. For textbook researchers, the findings open the door to similar explorations into other sections within the CAPS-approved History textbooks, particularly in relation to the South African Revolution.