Using Games to Engage in Sustainability – An Update (Part 1 of 3)

Back in 2012, I put together a three-post special on online games that focus on raising awareness on different sustainability topics. To this day these are some of the most popular posts ever on PRiMEtime. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a series of articles with an updated summary of online games that aim to raise awareness about sustainability topics that can be used in the classroom or by individual students interested in these issues. I will also be including a selection of apps that allow students to engage, real time, in sustainability issues locally or even globally. All of these resources are organised based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Do you use any other games in your classroom? Send them and I will update the list.

SDG1Poverty

Alit,The cost of Life, is about helping the Guinard family in rural Haiti get an education and improve their lives. This includes their wellness and general health, their emotional well-being and their educational levels. The goal is to try to keep the family healthy and happy for all four years of the game. The game was developed in collaboration with UNICEF.

Spent is an online game about poverty and the challenges it brings forth for each and every person. Throughout the game, players make series of decision that impacts their income. Each decision is connected to different dilemmas and problems tied to health, level of education and providing basic needs for your family.

SDG2Hunger

Food Import Folly is a game, created by The New York Times, where players take on the role of Food and Drug Administration inspectors in a world of increasingly numerous food imports and increasingly unmanageable risk. Participants must protect their country by not letting any contaminated food cross the border.

ShareTheMeal, developed by the World Food Programme, provides the opportunity for individuals to donate $0.50, enough to feed one child for one day. Users can use the app on their phone at any time to donate a meal to a child.

SDG3Health

Sea Hero Quest is a unique game that gathers data on dementia through the playing of the game. The 2 million individuals who have played the game have generated more than 6,000 years of dementia research data just by playing. The game involves navigating the high seas while navigating buoys, setting flares and spotting aquatic monsters. The route that players take as they navigate the environment is being analysed by scientists aiming to set a benchmark for ‘normal’ navigation skills, against which they can examine those of patients showing signs of early dementia.

At-Risk is an interactive game that aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness in order to reduce the number of students with undetected or untreated conditions. Tailored for use among universities, it addresses the feat and stigma of mental illness that may prevent university staff and faculty from approaching and assisting students exhibiting symptoms of mental illness including depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

Foldit, developed by various departments from the University of Washington, explores the process by which living beings create the primary structure of proteins. It attempts to apply the human brain’s natural three-dimensional pattern matching abilities to predict protein structures. As more players complete the game, the researchers can create a better understanding of these protein structure and craft new medicines to promote better health and cure disease.

The Convincer, developed by Novo Nordisk, has players work to convince the Minster of Health to invest in ways to effectively address the rising challenges of the proper diabetes initiatives.

SDG4Education

The Republia Times puts players into the shoes of the editor-in-chief of the national newspaper of Republia, a fictional country recovering from a war with its neighbour, Antegria. Players use their newspaper to influence public opinion in the country by selecting articles that will be published and which will not be published.

SDG6Water

The Water-Energy Nexus game gives participants a unique opportunity to get an insight into managing the water needs of energy production. Such insights can lead to improvements in water management leading to improved water systems’ resilience. It was developed as a training tool to be used in workshops in Southern African Development community countries.

the uva bay game is a large-scale participatory simulation, developed by the University of Virginia, 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 personal finances, the regional economy and health of the watershed.

Water Risk Assessment is an online tool created by the WWF that helps companies and investors ask the right questions about water, to assess risks and offer guidance. It covers information from more than 32 industry sectors.

 

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