I had lunch at a table with a wide variety of folks, including a history teacher. We obviously hit it off, especially when he said that he was having his students create historical simulations. The twist, though, is that they are text-based.
Jeremiah McCall uses a product called Inform 7.0, which is an engine for creating text-based adventure, similar to the old Zork game. If you don’t remember it, think about an intereactive book.
Anyway, his students are able to create an interactive historical spaces that you interact with by reading about it, typing in reactions (go, pickup, look at, etc.) and the world is designed to respond in appropriate ways. It’s very hard to describe, but the best part is that the students are building virtual spaces with language — by describing them.
It takes me back to the early ’90s and the MUDs, MOO, and MUSHes of the pre-Mozaic world. Very exciting, especially as it inspired reluctant authors to write megabytes.