Game-Based Learning to Increase Social Literacy
Serious Games and Social Literacy
- Build an emotional connection to learning and the subject at hand
- Get opportunities for feedback and discussion
- Personalize their learning experience
Fake News and Media Literacy
- The Bad News Game teaches about fake news and disinformation by putting students in the position of the people who create it. This makes them gain insight into the various tactics and methods used by trolls and producers of fake news to spread their message. The game is simple: players are shown a short text or image and need to react by choosing one of the available options. These decisions affect their score, which is measured in terms of followers and credibility.
The Bad News Game puts students in the position of the people who create fake news to make them more aware of the issue.
- Troll Factory, developed by a team of experts at the Finnish Broadcasting Company, is based on a similar principle, but uses examples of authentic social media content. The theme of the game concerns anti-immigration material. The goal of the game is to illustrate how fake news, emotive content and bot armies are used to affect public opinion and decision-making.
The interface of Troll Factory, shaped like a cell phone, puts students in the skin of Internet trolls to make them learn about the causes and consequences of spreading disinformation regarding immigration.
- We Become What We Behold, playable in 5 minutes, is also concerned with news cycles, and takes a critical look at the image-driven news culture of today’s society. Because of its brevity, it is especially suitable as a discussion starter on the topic of fake news, social media, and their impact. The developer also offers a game on living with anxiety and a game on coming out as homosexual.
We Become What We Behold is a short game with cartoon-like graphics focused on the news spreads on social media, especially in the shape of images.
Social and Environmental Issues
- The Stop Disasters game, produced by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, seeks to increase awareness and educate students on the causes and potential consequences of natural disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods and wildfires. After selecting a scenario, students can inform themselves on their chosen disaster before starting their mission, which is to eliminate the risk to their best extent. For instance, trying to avoid wildfires may involve preventively cutting dry patches of forest.
In the Stop Disasters game, students select a mission, inform themselves on the causes and consequences of a certain type of natural disaster, and then pose concrete actions to help avoid this disaster from happening.
- The interactive movie Brothers Across Borders tells about the living conditions of Syrian refugees trying to make their way into Turkey and the choices they have to make in an engaging and capturing fashion. It was financed by the European Union Regional Trust Fund and produced in collaboration with the Red Cross.
Brothers Across Borders is an interactive movie that includes game elements allowing students to experience first hand what it means to be a refugee.
- Liyla and the Shadows of War, available as an app on iOs and Android, is a game based on real events; it tells the story of a young girl living in Gaza. The student plays the role of Liyla and needs to make quick decisions to save the child’s family from danger and get them to a safer place. To highlight the authentic nature of the game, the website presents the actual photos on which different scenes are based.
Closing ConsiderationsSerious games allow students to explore content from a new point of view; for example, by inhabiting a character. In order to be effective, a serious game needs to:
- Be well-designed to give players structure and meaning to the in-game action
- Align with learning outcomes
- Not be competitive in the conventional sense