Guest post by Sarah Nobis, Centre for Systems Solutions (Wroclaw, Poland)
Games4Sustainability: An initiative educating about sustainable development through serious games
The potential of serious games as learning environments is used in many areas of education these days. A domain which increasingly benefits from the usage of serious games is the one of sustainability education. But despite the growing interest in supporting sustainable development, there is still a great need to apply the knowledge about it in practice – decision paths are often constrained simply by insufficient hands-on experience. Implementing sustainability practices requires the ability to understand the complex dynamics that shape the world we live in. And although much work has been done in the last 40 years to support sustainable development, progress has been slow.
With our initiative Games4Sustainability, we want to meet the increasing demand for new ways of advancing sustainable development with the power of games. Sustainability educators use their knowledge and experience to help other people understand why making the world sustainable is so important. But at some point many of them realize that, despite their efforts, lots of their students and trainees fail to fully grasp the concept of sustainability and to engage in the learning process. It becomes clear that they need to overcome serious obstacles that make the effective learning much harder. Serious games can improve the effectiveness of sustainability education efforts.
We created the Games4Sustainability platform to give a hand to teachers and trainers that want to start using games in their work. A blog with posts by game experts and educators, such as game developer John Krajewski from Strange Loop Games, offers readers an inspiration on how to use games successfully in different areas of sustainability. In order to find the titles that will perfectly align to the training activities, users can also explore a huge database of over 100 games grouped accordingly to the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda of the United Nations – the Games4Sustainability Gamepedia. Some of these games can be used completely for free. Also, on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter we regularly provide our followers with useful content about game-based learning.
Games4Sustainability was initiated by the Centre for Systems Solutions, a think tank organization based in Wroclaw, Poland. Our game developers have long-standing experience and – by launching the project – they want to share their know-how. In addition to providing users with useful content about serious games for sustainability, they also design them. You may find more serious games and simulations on the following websites: Centre for Systems Solutions and Games4Sustainability. We are also constantly looking for people with similar goals, willing to share their knowledge with our readers – contact us if you are one of them!