ArticlePDF Available

Climate change games as tools for education and engagement

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Scientists, educators and policymakers continue to face challenges when it comes to finding effective strategies to engage the public on climate change. We argue that games on the subject of climate change are well-suited to address these challenges because they can serve as effective tools for education and engagement. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the development of such games, many featuring innovative designs that blur traditional boundaries (for example, those that involve social media, alternative reality games, or those that involve direct action upon the real world). Here, we present an overview of the types of climate change game currently available, the benefits and trade-offs of their use, and reasons why they hold such promise for education and engagement regarding climate change.
Content may be subject to copyright.
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange 413
Imagine you have the ability to travel through time and hear
voicemail recordings from 100 years into the future. If present
trends in sea-level rise or atmospheric warming continue, what
kinds of story would be told regarding everyday life in these voice-
mail messages? Picture yourself seated at the table of global political
negotiations as a key decision-maker on climate policy. How would
you balance your nations demand for economic development with
the need for environmental stewardship for future generations? Take
responsibility for polar bears, ringed seals and other animals in the
Arctic. How would it feel to be in control of human decisions and
forces of nature that lead to carbon pollution and other impacts on
the environment? ese are the kinds of new experience and per-
spective aorded to players when they participate in climate change
games such as FutureCoast, Fate of the World and EcoChains: Arctic
Crisis. ey are part of an entire genre of climate change games that
oer powerful tools for education and engagement.
Public concern about climate change has declined since peaking in
20071. Many have become wary of information shared about the topic,
while attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about climate change con-
tinue to be strongly mediated by political ideologies2,3. Programmes
such as the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development have made global calls to teach about climate change4.
ese calls are now increasingly reected in international assess-
ments of science education5. Many countries have responded with
curricular reform6–8, creating a demand for tools that can help teach
about the physical and social processes that cause long-term atmos-
pheric warming. Clearly, there is an urgent need for eective ways to
engage diverse audiences about global climate change.
Climate change games may oer the tools necessary to address
these challenges. We dene climate change games as games and sim-
ulations that have climate change as a central theme and focus on
the processes, role of human systems and potential impacts regarding
climate change. As in a previous study9, we exclude games where cli-
mate change forms only a minor aspect, such as in emissions calcula-
tors and interactive tools. While we attempt to provide a balanced
review of digital and non-digital formats, we also highlight current
trends that reect a dramatic increase in the development of com-
puter and mobile-based games. We conclude with a consideration of
the strengths and weaknesses of game formats that can help inform
scientists and educators in their use and utility.
Climate change games as tools for education
and engagement
Jason S. Wu and Joey J. Lee*
Scientists, educators and policymakers continue to face challenges when it comes to finding eective strategies to engage the
public on climate change. We argue that games on the subject of climate change are well-suited to address these challenges
because they can serve as eective tools for education and engagement. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the
development of such games, many featuring innovative designs that blur traditional boundaries (for example, those that involve
social media, alternative reality games, or those that involve direct action upon the real world). Here, we present an overview of
the types of climate change game currently available, the benefits and trade-os of their use, and reasons why they hold such
promise for education and engagement regarding climate change.
Natural tools for education and engagement
Games are natural tools for climate change education and engagement.
ey can engross players and place them in climate-centred scenar-
ios, as shown by participation in the games mentioned above.
In this way, games provide ‘designed experiences’ where players
can learn through doing and being, rather than absorbing informa-
tion from readings and traditional lecture formats10. is can be
extremely powerful, as decision science has shown that rst-hand
experience is a much better teacher than exposure to information
because of the emotional pathways it triggers11.
ese experiences are not only highly engaging, they also allow
players to build empathy by taking on various roles and perspec-
tives12,13. ey allow for visioning—for example, being able to envi-
sion oneself in the future—and seeing consequences of actions at
dierent points in time14. Furthermore, games deliver experiences
that tap into a range of human emotions, from fear and aggression
to joy and wonder15. Climate change games are thus able to target
aective outcomes, such as players’ motivations, attitudes and val-
ues16. For instance, games can promote a winner’s mentality, which
is what some have described as ‘urgent optimism’ and the belief that
an ‘epic win’ is always possible17. An ‘epic win’ refers to nding solu-
tions to dicult problems, which is particularly apt for addressing
climate change. Finding new, more eective solutions oen involves
a trial and error process, and games can make it easier and less
intimidating to identify new strategies11.
In a game, one is able to simulate complex models or provide
a level of control that is not possible in the real world. is is par-
ticularly advantageous when dealing with global atmospheric sys-
tems that would be otherwise dicult to bring to a hands-on level.
One game that does this is e Farmers18, a card-game that involves
the management of common-pool resources and integrates sec-
ond-order delayed eects of carbon emissions and political actors
with individual goals and asymmetrical abilities. e thoughtful
mechanics are intended to allow players to experience the gradual
impact and complexities of real-world climate negotiations. We sug-
gest that games such as e Farmers may allow players to develop
a better understanding of complex systems composed of intercon-
nected parts, broadly known as systems thinking19. Systems think-
ing has been argued to be a key skill necessary to address complex
issues such as climate change20–22.
Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W 120th St, New York10027, USA.
*e-mail: jl3471@tc.columbia.edu
PERSPECTIVE
PUBLISHED ONLINE: 23 APRIL 2015 | DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
414 NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange
Some games allow for participation in interactive models, which
enables policymakers, educators and scientists to quickly and easily
test decisions and predict outcomes from actions on climate change.
For example, Climate Interactive (http://www.climateinteractive.org) is
a collection of simulations that allow for the manipulation of hundreds
of variables such as fuel prices, energy consumption and population
growth to model the resulting eects on world climate. e simula-
tions are based on peer-reviewed scientic data and can be used in a
variety of facilitation contexts23,24. As the simulations allow for direct
interaction with complex models, they enable participants to inform
and update their own mental models24,25.
Climate change games are considered ‘serious games’ that are
designed to have underlying objectives beyond mere entertainment
such as instructional goals26–28. Game characteristics such as goals,
rules, or the use of fantasy not only promote player engagement, but
also inuence learning28,29. Research supporting game-based learning
extends back to the 1970s, when one of the rst large-scale reviews
synthesized seven years of research and included an examination of
more than 150 studies30. Since then, empirical evidence supporting
cognitive gains from instructional games has accumulated31,32. e
impact on aective and motivational outcomes has also been identi-
ed33,34. Although some studies have suered from a lack of rigour and
validity in experimental design35, the conclusion that people can learn
from playing games is overwhelmingly supported by a large base of
empirical evidence30–34,36,37.
Aside from the versatility and learning opportunities that games
provide, they are fun. is quality is perhaps what is most compelling
about the role of games in climate change education. A good game is
able to engage players for long periods of time, engendering a desire to
continue playing and learning about the topic in hand by trying and
experiencing alternative approaches and outcomes38. In other words,
good games possess high intrinsic value and are naturally motivating
and engaging39. More and more people are playing games: a nationally
representative survey in the USA recently found that close to 60% of
Americans play videogames40, or an estimated 185 million people41. As
a result, gamers represent a large potential audience for raising aware-
ness and promoting engagement. Tapping into even a small fraction of
that user base could provide ample opportunity for these endeavours42.
The landscape of climate change games
e rst environmental games relating to climate change were
designed more than 30years ago, beginning as board-games that
modelled increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere43. From there,
climate change games slowly grew in number and sophistication.
By the time the rst review article was published 14years later, they
covered a variety of topics and had a predominant focus on under-
standing mechanisms44. Technological developments also enabled
a broader range of formats, with about half of the reviewed games
making use of computers44.
Since then, the number of climate change games has risen dramat-
ically, especially in the past ten years. An extensive web-based search
of climate change games was recently conducted9. e authors found
that role play and management games comprise the most popular
category, followed by online games and then board-games. Whereas
climate change games were once predominantly produced at aca-
demic institutions, commercial entities and governmental agencies
are becoming increasingly involved9.
A notable example of this is Keep Cool, one of the rst commer-
cially available board-games about climate change45. In Keep Cool,
players represent groups of countries that negotiate with each other
on issues of economic growth and the mitigation of climate change.
Players can choose between low- and high-emitting factories, invest
in scientic research and development on mitigation, and account
for lobbying groups such as oil companies and environmentalists.
Extreme events such as droughts and oods increase with the rise
in global mean temperature, forcing players to balance a host of eco-
nomic, political and environmental factors. Keep Cool represents an
advanced board-game that provides a tool for players to discuss a
variety of issues on climate change.
Not all climate change games are as complex as Keep Cool.
Computer games, in particular, now oer a great diversity on the
topic of climate change that vary widely in quality and technical
sophistication. A signicant number of online climate change games
exist as mini-games or simple simulations. ese are generally found
on websites geared towards younger audiences. Notable examples
are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Climate
Kids (http://climatekids.nasa.gov) and Earth Day Canadas EcoKids
(http://www.ecokids.ca). ese games employ relatively simple mech-
anisms such as puzzles, trivia, or actions requiring hand-eye coordi-
nation. We nd that most of these focus on environmentally friendly
practices such as recycling, reducing waste, or taking alternative
forms of transportation. Although some of the games discuss long-
term climate eects, very few contain information about the mecha-
nisms and processes believed to cause anthropogenic climate change.
While simple online games targeted towards children have our-
ished, more serious climate change games continue to increase in
complexity. ese incorporate detailed mechanics and cover a broad
range of physical, biological and sociopolitical topics. Take as an
example Clim’way, which uses a highly graphical and interactive sim-
ulation of a metropolitan city46. Players make key decisions regarding
city infrastructure (Fig. 1). ey watch their city evolve over 50 simu-
lated years, while learning about the scientic basis of their actions.
Clim’way exemplies computer games that are more complex, well-
developed and scientically informative.
Emerging trends in climate change games
In a way similar to personal computers, the proliferation of mobile
technology has made possible the emergence of many new types of
climate change game. Making use of ubiquitous internet connectivity
and location-sensitive hardware, they are part of a larger trend of per-
vasive games that blend digital and physical mediums47–50. Notably,
climate change games have also begun to vary greatly in where player
action takes place. ese changes have been described as the dier-
ence between a virtual game (that is, played on a computer) and a
real-world action game, which takes place in physical space (that is,
in the ‘real’ world)51.
e goal of most climate change games could be described as
preparation for future action. at is, they may raise awareness for
or educate about a particular issue, but the gameplay itself is limited
Figure 1 | Clim’way. A computer game in which players take action to
reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in various sectors, such as energy
production, agriculture and travel.
CAP SCIENCES
PERSPECTIVE NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange 415
to the connes of a board, room, or computer. Now, climate change
games increasingly blend real-world and digital elements, provid-
ing opportunities for concrete action as part of the game experience.
PowerAgent is one of the rst examples to illustrate this concept52.
Originally released for Java-enabled mobile phones, players of
PowerAgent complete missions to reduce power consumption in their
homes, such as adjusting heating levels and switching o stand-by
appliances. e game is able to use actual power-consumption data
from in-home metering devices to provide measurable feedback
during play.
Pervasive games have since taken advantage of developments in
graphical and location-based hardware. A great example of this is
found in the game Habitat53. Players can collect location-based pins
conrming the completion of certain missions. e game provides
a hybrid experience that combines highly appealing 3D visuals and
location-based features (Fig. 2).
Pervasive games also now incorporate the use of social network-
ing. For example, in Greenify, players respond to real-world missions
in the form of open-ended sustainability challenges54,55. Greenify
allows players to generate creative ideas for sustainable living, share
them with their social networks and earn points as part of the game.
Later, we discuss the growing interest in how emerging technologies
are creating new aordances in civic engagement. We suggest here
that socially connected mobile games such as Greenify may provide
powerful opportunities to educate and engage large networks for tan-
gible action regarding climate change.
A diversity of formats
e large variety of climate change games currently available can be
summarized using categories and examples (Table1). Oine facili-
tated experiences are played in person without heavy reliance on
technology. One example of this is SMARTIC, a negotiation-based
activity that invites players to manage climate change impacts as a
stakeholder in Arctic marine spatial planning56. Card- or board-
games include examples such as EcoChains: Arctic Crisis57, a
multiplayer card-game based on diminishing sea ice as a result of
climate change (Fig. 3). Computer games are designed for desktop
or laptop computers and can be oine or online. Fate of the World, a
turn-based game that involves management of international policies,
is a notable example58,59. Mobile games, on smartphones and tablet
devices, are designed for on-the-go play. One example is Climate
Mission 3D, where players learn how to reduce their carbon footprint
as they tackle a collection of mini-games60. Finally, pervasive games
involve the use of multiple formats and can involve elaborate ctional
narratives enacted in real life. For example, FutureCoast is driven by
an authentic ction involving tangible real-world artefacts and online
voicemail recordings from the future61.
Each game format has its relative advantages and disadvantages
depending on the intended goals and outcomes. If teaching about
climate change is the primary goal, facilitation and debrieng are
key considerations. Debrieng sessions allow for student reec-
tion and discussion of ndings, while facilitators can target specic
learning goals62. is process is seen to strongly support learning
aer gameplay27,37,63. Oine facilitated experiences are particu-
larly well-suited for the incorporation of debrieng. However, the
requirement of a teacher or subject-matter expert may be a barrier
in some instances. Card- and board-games are also well-suited for
facilitation and debrieng. Furthermore, they tend to be relatively
inexpensive and require less technology, but may be more dicult
to scale-up for larger classrooms and audiences.
Another intended goal may be the in-game assessment of learn-
ing32,37. rough the use of points, levels, or questions, most games
contain inherent assessment mechanisms32. ese could be used
to probe players’ knowledge regarding climate change. Computer,
mobile and pervasive games have special advantages regarding in-
game assessment. ey are able to handle player data electronically
and allow for rapid large-scale assessment. eir electronic format
also aids data analysis, storage and presentation. As one potential
drawback, we suggest that assessment in computer and mobile
games may be limited to low-level learning and behaviour as delin-
eated by the game itself. In contrast, in-person formats allow for
qualitative observation and appraisal that may reveal knowledge
and practices not captured by in-game assessments32.
Finally, if the intended goal concerns actual behaviour regarding
climate change, we argue that pervasive games possess advantages
over other formats. Examples such as Habitat and Greenify incor-
porate real-world behaviour into game mechanics and intrinsically
require action as part of gameplay. Some games provide tangible
measures of behaviour, as is the case in PowerAgent52. Researchers
are beginning to investigate whether such games can result in long-
lasting behavioural eects but have yet to yield conclusive results64.
Although pervasive games can deliver new, highly engaging experi-
ences, one trade-o is that some may be dependent on expensive
hardware or less intuitive to learn if they have many complicated
rules. is may be especially the case for games that involve employ-
ing alternate reality and hybrid approaches.
Figure 2 | Habitat. Players care for a 3D animated polar bear
by completing mini-games and real-world missions focused on
environmentally friendly actions.
ELEVATOR ENTERTAINMENT
PERSPECTIVE
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
416 NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange
Conclusion
roughout this Perspective, we have argued that games are
uniquely suited to get people to understand, care about and take
action on climate issues. We have discussed how games can serve
as engaging tools that allow players to experience the complexi-
ties of climate systems. ey can provide interactive models where
players participate in decisions aecting climate change and
immediately see the resulting outcomes. Games can target a vari-
ety of learning domains, and when done well, they are fun.
Climate change games now vary greatly in format, technical
sophistication and scientic accuracy. is wide range provides
exibility when selecting tools for education and engagement.
Consideration of their benets and trade-os can help to tailor
them to specic needs regarding learning, assessment, or behav-
iour. We have suggested that pervasive games, in particular, may
be especially suited for promoting concrete action regarding
climate change.
Broadly speaking, making progress on climate change can
be considered a matter of civic engagement. Civic engagement
represents the ability of people to acquire and process informa-
tion, voice and debate opinions and beliefs, and take action65.
Strong engagement is needed to provide political, business and
community leaders with a forum for discussion, planning and
action on reducing greenhouse emissions and implementing
sustainable practices.
e developments outlined here are promising for increasing
civic engagement in local and global communities, which are all
aected by climate change. ere is growing consensus that the
networked digital technologies of this century aord new oppor-
tunities in civic engagement65–67. Gameplay, in particular, is seen
as uniquely positioned to foster trust and engender empathy
during community planning and development meetings68,69, but
whether this results in tangible behavioural change is yet to be
seen70. In the same way, research on whether pervasive games can
produce long-term changes in behaviour remains inconclusive.
Future research should therefore focus on whether the use
of games can result in long-term, observable changes in behav-
iour regarding climate change. Experimentation with new game
types can help expand the eld of pervasive gaming, while the
development of new methods to assess behaviours such as power
consumption or waste reduction would prove helpful to game
developers. Such research could potentially result in new ways to
promote tangible action.
ere is also scant research on how climate change games may
aect players’ attitudes regarding environmental policy or scien-
tic explanations of climate processes. Investigating this could
help inform how games might be used to move beyond politi-
cal ideologies and overcome the distrust of scientic information.
is would also add to the understanding of how games may be
best used in promoting civic engagement around climate change.
We are hopeful that addressing these questions will provide a bet-
ter basis for education and engagement in the years ahead. In this
way, games will be better able to overcome many of the challenges
that we face in fully addressing climate change.
Figure 3 | EcoChains: Arctic Crisis. A multiplayer card-game involving
building, managing and protecting food webs of Arctic species.
JOGOLABS
Table 1 | A summary and comparison of formats of climate change games.
Game format Key features Pros and cons Examples Goals and outcomes
Offline facilitated experience Facilitated activities, often
involving teams or role play
Flexible and adaptable, but
facilitation requirement a
potential barrier
Climate Diplomat71; SMARTIC56 Facilitated learning
with debriefing;
qualitative assessment
Card-/board-game Short gameplay session,
usually involving a small
number of players
Typically low in cost and
technological requirements,
but may be harder to scale
Arctic Saga72;
EcoChains: Arctic Crisis57;
Keep Cool45
Facilitated learning
with debriefing;
qualitative assessment
Computer game Computer-based role
plays, simulations or
management games
Consistent and scalable
experience, but requires
computer hardware
Anno 207073;
Climate Challenge74;
Fate of the World58
In-game assessment
Mobile game Highly graphical with short,
on-the-go play sessions
Able to provide
portable, location-based
games, but requires
smartphone technology
Climate Mission 3D60;
WB Climate75
In-game assessment
Pervasive game May include a combination of
online and offline activities
New experiences with multiple
entry points, but may be less
intuitive to learn
FutureCoast61;
Greenify54,55;
Love Letters to the Future76
In-game assessment;
concrete behaviour
and actions
The selected references are representative rather than an exhaustive list.
PERSPECTIVE NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange 417
Received 15 September 2014; accepted 9 February 2015;
published online 23 April 2015
References
1. Stoutenborough, J.W., Liu, X. & Vedlitz, A. Trends in public attitudes toward
climate change: e inuence of the economy and Climategate on risk,
information, and public policy. Risk Haz. Crisis Public Policy 5, 22–37 (2014).
2. Hamilton, L.C. Education, politics and opinions about climate change
evidence for interaction eects. Climatic Change 104, 231–242 (2011).
3. McCright, A.M. & Dunlap, R.E. e politicization of climate change and
polarization in the American public’s views of global warming, 2001–2010.
Sociol. Quart. 52, 155–194 (2011).
4. Liimatainen, A. inEncyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility 2606–2610
(Springer, 2013).
5. Bybee, R., McCrae, B. & Laurie, R. PISA 2006: An assessment of scientic
literacy. J.Res. Sci. Teach. 46, 865–883 (2009).
6. Stage, E.K., Asturias, H., Cheuk, T., Daro, P A. & Hampton, S.B.
Opportunities and challenges in next generation standards. Science
340, 276–277 (2013).
7. Osborne, J. & Dillon, J. Science Education in Europe: Critical Reections Vol. 13
(e Nueld Foundation, 2008).
8. Tilbury, D., Stevenson, R.B., Fien, J. & Schreuder, D. (eds) Education and
Sustainability: Responding to the Global Challenge (IUCN Commission on
Education and Communication, 2002).
9. Reckien, D. & Eisenack, K. Climate change gaming on board and screen:
A review. Simulat. Gaming 44, 253–271 (2013).
10. Squire, K. From content to context: Videogames as designed experience.
Educ. Res. 35, 19–29 (2006).
11. Mendler de Suarez, J., Suarez, P. & Bachofen, C. (eds) Games for a New
Climate: Experiencing the Complexity of Future Risks (Boston Univ., e
Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, 2012).
12. Shaer, D.W. D. Epistemic frames for epistemic games. Comput. Educ.
46, 223–234 (2006).
13. Gee, J. Good Video Games and Good Learning (Peter Lang, 2007).
14. Wiek, A. & Iwaniec, D. Quality criteria for visions and visioning in
sustainability science.Sustain. Sci. 9. 497–512 (2014).
15. Squire, K. Video games in education. Int. J.Intell. Games & Simulation
2, 49–62 (2003).
16. Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
(MIT Press, 2004).
17. McGonigal, J.Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How ey Can
Change the Wor l d (Penguin, 2011).
18. Fennewald, T.J. & Kievit-Kylar, B. Integrating climate change mechanics into a
common pool resource game. Simulat. Gaming 44, 427–451 (2013).
19. Meadows, D.H.inking in Systems: A Primer (Chelsea Green, 2008).
20. Reason, P. Education for ecology: Science, aesthetics, spirit, and ceremony.
Manage. Learn. 38, 27–44 (2007).
21. Porter, T. & Cordoba, J. ree views of systems theories and their implications
for sustainability education. J.Manage. Educ. 33, 323–347 (2009).
22. Warburton, K. Deep learning and education for sustainability.
Int. J.Sustain. High. Educ. 4, 44–56 (2003).
23. Sterman, J. etal. World Climate: A role-play simulation of climate negotiations.
Simulat. Gaming http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1046878113514935 (2014).
24. Sterman, J. etal. Climate interactive: e C-ROADS climate policy model.
Syst. Dynam. Rev. 28, 295–305 (2012).
25. Sterman, J.D. etal. Management ight simulators to support climate
negotiations.Environ. Modell. Sow. 44, 122–135 (2013).
26. Abt, C.C. Serious Games. (University Press of America, 1987).
27. Crookall, D. Serious games, debrieng, and simulation/gaming as discipline.
Simulat. Gaming 41, 898–920 (2010).
28. Charsky, D. From edutainment to serious games: A change in the use of game
characteristics. Games and Culture 5, 177–198 (2010).
29. Dickey, M.D. Engaging by design: How engagement strategies in popular
computer and video games can inform instructional design. Educ. Tech. Res.
53, 67–83 (2005).
30. Coleman, J.S., Livingston, S.A., Fennessey, G.M., Edwards, K.J. & Kidder,
S.J. e Hopkins games program: Conclusions from seven years of research.
Educ. Res. 2, 3–7 (1973).
31. Vogel, J.J. etal. Computer gaming and interactive simulations for learning:
A meta-analysis. J.Educ. Comput. Res. 34, 229–243 (2006).
32. Bellotti, F., Kapralos, B., Lee, K., Moreno-Ger, P. & Berta, R. Assessment in and of
serious games: An overview.Adv. Hum. Comput. Inter. 2013, 136864 (2013).
33. Connolly, T.M., Boyle, E.A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T. & Boyle, J.M. A
systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious
games. Comput. Educ. 59, 661–686 (2012).
34. Wilson, K.A. etal. Relationships between game attributes and learning outcomes:
Review and research proposals. Simulat. Gaming 40, 217–266 (2008).
35. Gosen, J. & Washbush, J. A review of scholarship on assessing experiential
learning eectiveness. Simulat. Gaming 35, 270–293 (2004).
36. Mitchell, A. & Savill-Smith, C. e Use of Computer and Video Games for
Learning: A Review of the Literature (Learning and Skills Development
Agency, 2004).
37. Chin, J., Dukes, R. & Gamson, W. Assessment in simulation and gaming:
A review of the last 40years. Simulat. Gaming 40, 553–568 (2009).
38. Gee, J.P. What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy:
Revised and Updated Edition (Macmillan, 2007).
39. Ryan, R.M., Rigby, C.S. & Przybylski, A. e motivational pull of
video games: A self-determination theory approach. Motiv. Emotion
30, 344–360 (2006).
40. 2014 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry
(Entertainment Soware Association, 2014).
41. State & County Quickfacts (UnitedStates Census Bureau, 2014);
http://quickfacts.census.gov
42. Mayo, M.J. Video games: A route to large-scale STEM education? Science
323, 79–82 (2009).
43. Robinson, J. & Ausubel, J.H. A game framework for scenario generation for
the CO2 issue. Simulat. Gaming 14, 317–344 (1983).
44. Ulrich, M. in Proceedings of the 28th Annual International Conference
of the International Simulation and Gaming Association (eds Geurts, J.,
Joldersma, C. & Roelofs, E.) 301–311 (Tilburg Univ. Press, 1997).
45. Eisenack, K. A climate change board game for interdisciplinary
communication and education.Simulat. Gaming44, 328–348 (2013).
46. Clim’way (Cap-Sciences, 2008); http://climway.cap-sciences.net
47. omas, S. Pervasive learning games: Explorations of hybrid educational
gamescapes. Simulat. Gaming 37, 41–55 (2006).
48. Magerkurth, C., Cheok, A.D., Mandryk, R.L. & Nilsen, T. Pervasive games:
Bringing computer entertainment back to the real world. Comput. Entertain.
3, 4 (2005).
49. Ross, J. Pervasive in CHI’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in
Computing Systems (eds Begole, B. & Kellogg, W.) 1085–1088 (Association for
Computing Machinery, 2011).
50. Xu, Y. etal. in Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations
of Digital Games (eds El-Nasr, M. S., Consalvo, M. & Feiner, S.) 49–56
(Association for Computing Machinery, 2012).
51. Fullerton, T. & Duncombe, S. Direct Action Games: Games Meet the
Real World [speech presented at the Games for Change Festival]
(New York, 2010).
52. Gustafsson, A., Katze, C. & Bang, M. Evaluation of a pervasive game
for domestic energy engagement among teenagers. Comput. Entertain.
7, 54 (2009).
53. Habitat (Elevator Entertainment, 2013); http://www.habitatthegame.com
54. Lee, J.J., Ceyhan, P., Jordan-Cooley, W. & Sung, W. Greenify: A real-
world action game for climate change education. Simulat. Gaming
44, 349–365 (2013).
55. Lee, J.J. etal. in CHI’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing
Systems (eds Mackay, W. E., Brewster, S. & Bødker, S.) 1497–1502
(Association for Computing Machinery, 2013).
56. Prman, S. SMARTIC (PoLAR Projects, 2013);
http://www.camelclimatechange.org/view/article/175297
57. Lee, J.J. & Prman, S. EcoChains: Arctic Crisis (PoLAR Projects, 2014);
http://thepolarhub.org/project/ecochains-arctic-crisis
58. Roberts, I. Fate of the World (Red Redemption, 2011).
59. Jones, N. Video game: Playing with the planet. Nature Clim. Change
1, 17–18 (2011).
60. Fraser, A. Climate Mission 3D - A World Saving Game (Nokia, 2011);
http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/07/06/climate-mission-3d-a-
world-saving-game
61. Eklund, K. FutureCoast (PoLAR Projects, 2014);
http://thepolarhub.org/project/futurecoast
62. Lederman, L.C. Debrieng: Toward a systematic assessment of theory and
practice. Simulat. Gaming 23, 145–160 (1992).
63. Petranek, C., Corey, S. & Black, R. ree levels of learning in simulations:
Participating, debrieng, and journal writing. Simulat. Gaming
23, 174–185 (1992).
64. Gustafsson, A., Bång, M. & Svahn, M. inProceedings of the International
Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology
(eds Kato, H., Haller, M. & Vasilako, A. V.) 182–189 (Association for
Computing Machinery, 2009).
65. Gordon, E., Baldwin-Philippi, J. & Balestra, M. Why we engage: How theories
of human behavior contribute to our understanding of civic engagement in a
digital era.Berkman Center Research Publication 21, 1–29 (2013).
66. Shah, D., Cho, J., Eveland, W. & Kwak, N. Information and expression in a
digital age: Modeling Internet eects on civic participation. Commun. Res.
32, 531–565 (2005).
PERSPECTIVE
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
418 NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | VOL 5 | MAY 2015 | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange
67. McGrath, M. Technology, media, and political participation. Natl Civic Rev.
100, 41–44 (2011).
68. Kahne, J. e Civic Potential of Video Games (MIT Press, 2008).
69. Gordon, E. & Baldwin-Philippi, J. Playful civic learning: Enabling reection
and lateral trust in game-based public participation. Int. J.Commun.
8, 759–786 (2014).
70. Gordon, E. & Schirra, S. inProceedings of the 5th International Conference on
Communities and Technologies (eds Foth, M., Kjeldskov, J. & Paay, J.) 179–185
(Association for Computing Machinery, 2011).
71. Hart, C.A. Climate Diplomat (e Energy+Environment Foundation, 2009).
72. de Luna, C. & Vicari, C. Artic Saga (PoLAR Projects, 2014).
73. Anno 2070 (Ubiso Entertainment, 2011).
74. Climate Challenge (Red Redemption, 2006);
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/climate_challenge
75. WB Climate (Amsgames, 2013); http://www.amsgames.com
76. Love Letters to the Future (Amythos Media, 2009);
http://www.amythosmedia.com/projects/interactive/love-letters-to-the-future
Acknowledgements
J.S.W. and J.J.L. acknowledge the National Science Foundation for supporting this work
under grant 1239783.We thank S.L.Prman for guidance on this manuscript.
Author contributions
J.S.W. and J.J.L. jointly conceived this article. J.S.W. wrote the rst dra. J.J.L. assisted
with signicant feedback, revision and editing of the nal version.
Additional information
An inventory of several game-based tools that address climate change can be found at
http://thepolarhub.org/search/site. Correspondence should be directed to J.J.L.
Competing financial interests
e authors declare no competing nancial interests.
PERSPECTIVE NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2566
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
... Various authors have attempted to develop educational sequences and learning material for teaching about climate change (Düsing et al., 2019;Harker-Schuch et al., 2020;Jin et al., 2013;Niebert & Gropengiesser, 2013;Ouariachi & Elving, 2020;Wu & Lee, 2015). However, despite these studies, it is argued that there has been relatively little research to inform approaches helping students learn about climate systems, and that they are characterized by a focus restricted to the individual components and processes of the carbon cycle (Düsing et al., 2019;Jacobson et al., 2017). ...
... The third lesson consisted of two interactive simulations. Simulations can make visible ecological processes and phenomena that are not accessible through direct experience, and they can support students in understanding the complex connections and interactions in a system (Wu & Lee, 2015). Simulations can also provide opportunities for students to engage with evidence and processes that underlie the phenomenon under study. ...
Chapter
This chapter presents an exploratory study of a learning framework for understanding complex systems. Because teachers play an important role in educating students about climate change, it is critical that they develop comprehensive knowledge about this issue. Three groups of pre-service teachers from Cyprus and Slovenia participated. Based on the Structure-Behavior-Function (SBF) framework, a learning intervention using concept maps, laboratory experiments, and computer simulations were introduced to enhance understanding of the structure, behavior, and function of the carbon cycle and its connection with the greenhouse effect and climate change. Analysis of the participants’ initial perceptions of the carbon cycle and climate change revealed that they had fragmented knowledge of the components of the carbon cycle and their interrelationships. In terms of learning gains, the simulation was particularly effective, making the underlying mechanisms behind the system dynamics explicit to the participants. The results highlight the value of virtual environments for understanding complex systems. This exploratory study demonstrated that the SBF framework can be used to help students understand the structure, dynamics, and functions embedded in natural systems, and can also be used as a methodological tool for analyzing their perception of the complexity of a natural phenomenon.
... Disaster and climate films raise risk awareness and spark debates about how people and places are portrayed and valued, both on the screen and in practice (see, e.g., Welk von Mossner, 2012;Maclear, 2018). Computer, video, and board games about climate change can be powerful education and communication tools (Wu and Lee, 2015;Kwok, 2019), and video game engines can be used to visualise future climate conditions (Kolb et al., 2018;Huang et al., 2021). Fiction and non-fiction narratives shape climate scenarios-such as the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (Nikoleris, Stripple and Tenngart, 2017)-and greater integration of artistic creativity into climate scenarios may help adaptation planning address a wider range of strategies (Siders, 2019;Mach and Siders, 2021). ...
Book
Full-text available
Arguing that ‘the moment of the now’ calls for fresh, creative thinking in the search for solutions, this White Paper both explores the state of research at the intersection between culture, heritage and climate change, and makes a case for a set of approaches, perspectives and conversations that we need to have—or that we need to have in new ways. Taking a broad view of heritage as ‘the archive of accumulated human wisdom’, it explores both small-s solutions (immediate, techno-infrastructural fixes) and big-S Solutions (changes in values, behaviours and worldviews). First, it defines a ‘heritage perspective’ on climate change via four attributes: an orientation towards deep time; an orientation towards the future; an orientation towards local and Indigenous knowledge; and an orientation towards both practice and critical thinking. Then it presents a review of the relevant scientific and scholarly literatures, according to the scoping questions. Next, it presents eight heritage-focused case studies, each of which orients us towards solutions to the challenges of anthropogenic climate change. We need to consider an encompassing view of heritage, that draws from both the fields of heritage studies and heritage management. The archive of local and Indigenous knowledge and practice offers many potential solutions, but raises key questions around ethics, intellectual property and terms of engagement. Climate change itself needs to be understood as an historically situated phenomenon, that has involved and implicated populations and territories differently, especially across the Global North/ Global South divide. Recognizing this, it becomes imperative to foreground a climate justice perspective in the search for solutions. Experience suggests that science-based solutions are likely to be socially, economically, politically and culturally entangled. Social science and humanities-based approaches play a key role in allowing us to anticipate and understand such entanglements. Rather than being static and backward-looking, heritage is mobile, forward-looking and always in-the-making. Mobilising the affective power of heritage becomes a potentially powerful tool in organising for climate action—although this involves emphasising a different version of heritage, less concerned with national pasts and more with collective human endeavour. The creative arts play a key role in imagining viable futures, and in producing resonance, ‘believe-ability’ and hope. The political struggle around the climate emergency is the struggle for multilateralism, dialogue and cooperation, in the face of populist attempts to use a moment of historical anxiety for narrowly sectarian ends. From a heritage perspective, the question of relevance is: How do we mobilise the affective power of heritage in support of open, creative, and inclusive futures?
... The application of gameful interventions to the achievement of pro-environmental outcomes is gaining momentum (Morganti et al., 2017) as scientists, educators and policy makers continue to face challenges when it comes to finding effective strategies to engage the public with environmental concerns (Wu & Lee, 2015). Johnson et al.'s (2017) review of 25 pro-environmental conservation studies found that gamification and serious games appear to be of value within the domain of energy consumption, conservation and efficiency, with varying degrees of evidence for positive effects on behaviour, cognition, knowledge and learning, and the user experience. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background To overcome the high failure rate of gameful interventions, we need to better understand their design and evaluation strategies to build an evidence-base for best-practice approaches that bring about meaningful change. This systematic review asks: ‘What behavioural and technological design and evaluation theories and approaches are applied in games developed to bring about positive environmental outcomes?’. Method We reviewed 52 papers published between 2015 and 2020 that used gameful interventions to improve behaviour related to environmental outcomes. These papers were analysed to review the behavioural and technical design, and the assessment and evaluation approaches, employed by the intervention designers. Results We found that these publications report on simple aspects of the behavioural and technical design behind the intervention but fail to justify their design choices in terms of theory and evidence. Furthermore, variability across their evaluation approaches and outcomes exists. Discussion This review highlights several systemic flaws in the literature that limit our understanding of gameful interventions in the pro-environmental context. First, based on this review, we cannot be convinced that these interventions were designed according to best practice for intervention design or for technology development. Second, the justification for proposing a gameful intervention is not always clear. Finally, it is unclear whether these interventions are being evaluated based on best practice. Thus, it is not clear that we can draw confident conclusions about evidence-based outcomes of short-term engagement (in structural gamification interventions) or long-term behaviour change (in content gamification and serious game interventions).
... This approach often involves the use of drama pedagogies to explore sustainability-related issues from multiple stakeholder perspectives (Raphael and White, 2021). Other examples of such innovative pedagogies include the use of poetry (Molderez et al., 2021), participatory arts (Cook, 2020) and games (Wu and Lee, 2015), all of which have been utilized to engage students, promote solidarity, and help to challenge the hegemony of traditional approaches (Gurnon et al., 2013). Research shows that such approaches can be effective in leveling hierarchies by creating a shared See the following link for details on WUN team, whose disciplinary backgrounds include but are not limited to pedagogy, social science, creative writing, environmental science, and political science: https://wun.ac.uk/wun/research/view/education-in-a-warming-world-a -collaborative-research-network-on-education-and-climate-change/. ...
Article
Full-text available
Higher education institutes (HEI) face considerable challenges in navigating how to respond to the escalating and intertwined socio-ecological sustainability crises. Many dedicated individuals working in the sector are already driving meaningful action through rigorous research, teaching, knowledge sharing, and public engagement, while there is a growing consensus that sector-wide change is needed to ensure that aspirational declarations and positive individual actions translate into sustainable and transformative change. This article seeks to contribute to such efforts by illustrating a number of trends, examples, and reflections on how third-level educational institutes can act sustainably. We highlight the potential of five strategies HEI could employ to support the creation of a more sustainable future namely, (i) innovative approaches to climate change education; (ii) research agendas for societal transformations; (iii) providing climate change education for professional development; (iv) supporting public intellectuals; and (iv) investing in whole-systems approaches to greening the campus. The insights are the product of an interdisciplinary working group with members from across Europe, Australia, and the UK. These international examples provide insight and a sense of possibility for future application.
... Secondly, to understand students' willingness to use gardens, the participants were asked to rank, from highest to lowest, the resources and tools they considered most appropriate for teaching CC. A list of 7 common resources used in CCE and sciences and social sciences education in Spain was provided [63,[68][69][70]. These are listed as follows: handson experiments, audio-visual and digital resources, games, gardens, models, textbooks, and media. ...
Article
Full-text available
Educational gardens are powerful outdoor learning environments to address the subject of climate change and foster climate action. Using an online questionnaire, this study examines the influence of the main sociodemographic and academic factors, and the role of connectedness to nature, on the perception of educational gardens as contexts of climate change education (CCE) among Spanish preservice teachers (PSTs). The sample consisted of 889 PSTs enrolled in 9 university campuses of Spain. The statistical analyses performed evidenced that women are more likely to use educational gardens than men and that there is a progressive decrease in the positive perception of PSTs about the usefulness of gardens for CCE as the educational level at which they are being trained increases. Statistics also revealed that the variable connectedness to nature and the rating of the importance of educational gardens in CCE are not significantly related. Nevertheless, the Mann–Whitney U test indicated that PSTs who scored higher on connection to nature wished to broaden their knowledge of sustainable agriculture and, thus, connectedness to nature could be considered a predictor of environmental attitudes, each influencing the other. Based on these findings, recommendations for PSTs’ training in the CCE context are provided.
Chapter
Thus far, the book has argued that children’s media can contribute to the building of environmental literacy, particularly by strengthening young viewers’ knowledge and sense of efficacy in the face of environmental problems. My concern in this chapter is with another aspect of environmental literacy: the qualities or mindsets that allow humans to feel empathy with the non-human world. Here, I take up the question of whether mediated experiences with nature can contribute to the development of environmental sensitivity and nature-connectedness. I bring this conundrum into my discussion of animated and digital representations of nature across children’s screen media. Through my analysis of the films Wolfwalkers and How to Train Your Dragon, along with the popular videogame Minecraft, I propose that the animated, digital, and virtual experiences that constitute so much of children’s screen time today open a space for radical reconfigurations of the human/nature relationship. My concern here is particularly with the capacity for screen texts to encourage environmental empathy through representations of nature and/or the relationship between human and non-human worlds, bodies, and ways of being.
Article
La meteorología es una ciencia transversal que posibilita a los niños el desarrollo de pensamientos matemáticos para el reconocimiento de datos numéricos, la identificación de espacios, el uso de las formas, la variación de variables y la aleatoriedad de la naturaleza. El cambio climático exige una fuerte formación matemática que ayude a responder a los retos que presenta la variación de los fenómenos físicos. Este estudio busca evaluar, de forma cualitativa, el papel de dos videojuegos con trasfondo meteorológico en cuanto al desarrollo de competencias matemáticas que brinden solución los problemas de cambio climático; a la vez que se convierte en un ejercicio STEM que entrega elementos de ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas necesarios para resolver problemas reales y que son simulados en los videojuegos.
Article
Full-text available
Citizen engagement around climate change remains a wicked problem. It is particularly challenging in relation to climate change adaptation at the local level. In response, this article presents the design steps taken to create a serious game for young people (aged 15–17) as a means to increase engagement in planning for climate change adaptation in Dublin. The iAdapt game acts as the capstone component of the audio and visual teaching and learning resources for adaptation education on the Climate Smart platform and uses open data, interactive in-browser 2.5D mapping and spatial analysis, and exemplar socio-technical adaptation interventions. Its primary aim is to empower young people to understand and engage with the complexities, uncertainties, and processes of climate adaptation planning by using scientifically validated flood data predictions, grounded in a place-based setting and with diverse examples of diverse adaptation interventions. Participants experience the difficulties of decision-making under conditions of democratic governance and uncertainty in order to educate, increase awareness, and stimulate discussions around the multiple possible pathways to planning for climate adaptation. Initial testing results with a cohort of young people in Dublin are presented. We conclude by reflecting upon the challenges of creating a game that has broad appeal yet remains enjoyable to play and the value of integrating real-world flood data with gamified elements. We also discuss the “value question” regarding the impact of games on expanding public engagement. Finally, the article sets out a plan for further development and dissemination of the platform and game.
Article
Full-text available
Digitalization in the field of education for sustainable development (ESD) has gained attention in the last decade. In particular, technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) offer new ways to deliver educational content on sustainable development by simulating real-world experiences and using immersive and interactive formats for learning. Using an explorative qualitative research approach, the benefits of AR and VR technologies in the context of ESD are assessed. The results of a first expert panel show that AR and VR technologies are particularly suitable for sustainability topics when an understanding of action and the transfer of knowledge and values are to be promoted among learners.
Article
Full-text available
The intensity and extent of climate change impacts differ significantly with the geographical and ecological structure of the landscape. This is especially evident in mountain ecosystems where topographic, climatic and biological gradients make them extremely vulnerable to global environmental changes. Designing strategies to mitigate and adapt to global climate change on such local landscapes requires a context-specific vulnerabilities that take into account their particular characteristics. Presently, there are two main challenges in assessing climate change vulnerability in mountain ecosystems: 1) The models that are used for vulnerability assessments at global scales are being used at local scales with broad variables from few sectors that do not capture the range of characteristics of mountain ecosystems 2) indigenous knowledge about climate change are not considered in these models, which makes the implementation of mitigation/adaptation measures less successful. In this study, we highlight these issues drawing from our data collected in India's Lesser Himalayan region (Darjeeling). We used a mixed research approach that combines a vulnerability assessment model with a participatory knowledge approach. We based climate change vulnerability around the socio-ecological system of the mountain landscape. The results from the interactive process showed that Darjeeling region is experiencing higher climate change vulnerability than the results produced by the model at the subregional level. We highlight critical variables that influence the socio-ecological system and need to be taken into account when assessing vulnerability and future adaptation scenarios. The study offers a decision support process for policymakers to plan climate mitigation/adaptation measures and future sustainability pathways. ARTICLE HISTORY
Article
Full-text available
Global negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have so far failed to produce an agreement. Even if negotiations succeeded, however, a binding treaty could not be ratified or implemented in many nations due to inadequate public support for emissions reductions. The scientific consensus on the reality and risks of anthropogenic climate change has never been stronger, yet public support for action in many nations remains weak. Policymakers, educators, the media, civic and business leaders, and citizens need tools to understand the dynamics and geopolitical implications of climate change. The WORLD CLIMATE simulation provides an interactive role-play experience through which participants explore these issues using a scientifically sound climate policy simulation model. Participants playing the roles of negotiators from major nations and stakeholders negotiate proposals to reduce GHG emissions. Participants then receive immediate feedback on the implications of their proposals for atmospheric GHG concentrations, global mean surface temperature, sea level rise, and other impacts through the C-ROADS (Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support) policy simulation model used by negotiators and policymakers. The role-play enables participants to explore the dynamics of the climate and impacts of proposed policies using a model consistent with the best available peer-reviewed science. WORLD CLIMATE has been used successfully with students, teachers, business executives, and political leaders around the world. Here, we describe protocols for the role-play and the resources available to run it, including C-ROADS and all needed materials, all freely available at climateinteractive.org. We also present evaluations of the impact of WORLD CLIMATE with diverse groups.
Article
Attempts to improve participation in civic life often focus on increasing the number of citizens engaged rather than improving the quality of engagement. As digital interventions flood the civic space, investigating the mediating interfaces that provide opportunities for deeper engagement becomes necessary. This article engages in design-based research that assesses the affordances and effects of one such platform: an interactive online game for local engagement called Community Plan It (CPI). Drawing on an analysis of game mechanics, in-game actions, and interviews and focus groups with players, we ask if and how CPI can move citizen participation beyond isolated transactions. We draw two conclusions: CPI creates and strengthens trust among individuals and local community groups that is linked to confidence in the process of engaging, and it encourages interactive practices of engagement that we define as civic learning.
Deep learning is a key strategy by which students extract meaning and understanding from course materials and experiences. Because of the range and interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic issues, and the importance of interdisciplinary thinking and holistic insight, deep learning is particularly relevant in the context of education for sustainability. However, deep learning can be inhibited if the existing interests or backgrounds of students have a strong disciplinary focus. This paper reviews factors that influence deep learning and discusses some ways in which environmental educators can encourage students to use deep learning strategies. Such strategies are seen to be necessary to maximise the benefits from environmental courses and are likely to foster creative interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability beyond the institution.
Article
As digital communication technologies have evolved over the past few decades, the convergence of network structure and accessibility with hardware and software advances has allowed individuals to interact in various, even contradictory, ways. They can explore, hide, reach out, evaluate, connect, negotiate, exchange, and coordinate to a greater degree than ever before. Furthermore, this has translated to an ever-increasing number of users interacting with information in unprecedented ways and, due to device portability, in totally new physical locations. Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare update each other simultaneously across application platforms with near-real time photos and impressions of places; mobile exercise applications allow users to track their own movements as well as view where others in their geographic vicinity went running; Yelp users can read selective reviews from social network friends and strangers in their community on a specific restaurant; and Facebook friends can see what their peers bought, listened to, and read - from anywhere they are able to access the Internet. Most of these apps update across platforms enabling both maximum reach across a user’s social group as well as a highly selective direction of information to a subset of their social network. Just as the rapidly evolving landscape of connectivity and communications technology is transforming the individual’s experience of the social sphere, what it means to participate in civic life is also changing, both in how people do it and how it is measured. Civic engagement includes all the ways in which individuals attend to the concerns of public life, how one learns about and participates in all of the issues and contexts beyond one’s immediate private or intimate sphere. New technologies and corresponding social practices, from social media to mobile reporting, are providing different ways to record, share, and amplify that attentiveness. Media objects or tools that impact civic life can be understood within two broad types: those designed specifically with the purpose of community engagement in mind (for instance, a digital game for local planning or an app to give feedback to city council) or generic tools that are subsequently appropriated for engaging a community (such as Twitter or Facebook’s role in the Arab Spring or London riots). Moreover, these tools can mediate any number of relationships between or among citizens, local organizations, or government institutions. Digitally mediated civic engagement runs the gamut of phenomena from organizing physical protests using social media (e.g., Occupy), to using digital tools to hack institutions (e.g., Anonymous), to using city-produced mobile applications to access and coproduce government services, to using digital platforms for deliberating. Rather than try to identify what civic media tools look like in the midst of such an array of possibilities (by focusing on in depth examples or case studies), going forward we will instead focus on how digital tools expand the context of civic life and motivations for engagement, and what participating in civic life looks like in a digital era. We present this literature review as a means of exploring the intersection of theories of human behavior with the motivations for and benefits of engaging in civic life. We bring together literature from behavioral economics, sociology, psychology and communication studies to reveal how civic actors, institutions, and decision-making processes have been traditionally understood, and how emerging media tools and practices are forcing their reconsideration.
Article
Computer and video games are a maturing medium and industry and have caught the attention of scholars across a variety of disciplines. By and large, computer and video games have been ignored by educators. When educators have discussed games, they have focused on the social consequences of game play, ignoring important educational potentials of gaming. This paper examines the history of games in educational research, and argues that the cognitive potential of games have been largely ignored by educators. Contemporary developments in gaming, particularly interactive stories, digital authoring tools, and collaborative worlds, suggest powerful new opportunities for educational media.