Using Online Games to Teach Sustainability – Universities (Part 3)

As we saw in part 1 of this series on online games focused on sustainability and business, we see that games and simulations are a fun way to not only educate individuals about sustainability issues but also to help come up with some real solutions. In part 2, we looked at games that are being developed by leading businesses around the world. Now, in part 3, we look at games and simulations being developing by universities.

  • Climate CoLab is an online platform that seeks to harness the collective intelligence of contributors from all over the world to address global climate change. Teams submit proposals for a range of contests that are posted on the site. MIT, the developer of this platform, has also created a number of other multiplayer games. In Eclipsing the Competition: The Solar PV Industry Simulation participants play the role of senior management at SunPower, and need to compete against other firms, simulated by the computer and set the industry conditions. In Fishbanks: A Renewable Resource Management Simulation, participants play the role of fishers and seek to maximise their net worth as they compete against other players, deal with variations in fish stocks and their catch.
  • The University of Virginia developed the uva bay game, a large scale participatory simulation based on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Players take the roles of stakeholders, such as farmers, developer, watermen and local policy-makers, and make decisions about their livelihoods or regulatory authority and see the impact of their decisions on their own personal finances, the regional economy and health of the watershed.
  • The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania created Tragedy of the Tuna, a game that aims to educate students about the concept of the “tragedy of the commons.” In this, game each student or group of students represent a county in control of a tuna fishing fleet and makes decisions about fleet size and deployment. As the game progresses, teams vie to stay afloat as competition for the shared fish population becomes more intense.

Do you use any games or simulations in your classes? Please share your experiences in the discussions area below.


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