Bringing the World In
In a game, students take on the role of a stakeholder in a sustainability problem. This experience is a fun way to illustrate complex concepts and processes. It engages students through empathy with an avatar / role in game, giving them a sense of agency and meaningfulness, as well as a safe place to practice problem solving where consequences of mistakes are brief (and not shaming) so students can focus on learning. Since many games have already been carefully designed by education and sustainability specialists, little planning or expertise is needed from instructor.
Example Learning Outcome: Systems Thinking
Make links between lessons learned in game and their relevance in real-world contexts.
Featured Real-World Example
WaterSim by the Decision Center for a Desert City.
WaterSim is a systems dynamics model, which takes a lot of data that is usually collected separately – including water supply, water demand, climate, population and policy data – and puts it together to give the user a system-level view of how these variables interact. It is “dynamic” because users can change one variable and see how that change affects the other variables.