Planspiel+ - Literatur
Role-playing games as an educational tool.
Adapting and evaluating the CoPalCam role-playing game on the issue of palm oil with secondary school students. Zürich: ETH Zürich, Bachelorarbeit.
The problems in today’s world are numerous, often global, and pose immense challenges to sustainable development. A recent, international response to encounter these problems was the elaboration of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, i.e. an agreement on 17 Sustainable Development Goals, signed by all members of the United Nations. One of the key enablers within Agenda 2030 is education with a focus on Education for Sustainable Development.
In Switzerland, the newly harmonized primary and secondary school curriculum (Lehrplan 21) aims at integrating the Agenda's recommendations as a relevant educational goal and developing new educational concepts and competencies to be acquired for doing so, i.e. the future educational concept in Zurich, where the focus on this thesis is laid on. These competencies imply innovative ways of teaching.
Accordingly, students should be empowered to reflect on their own actions and understand the connection of social, economic and environmental issues. These new competencies might also imply new ways of teaching.
A promising method for the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development in class might be role-playing games, i.e. different forms of playing are used to simulate real systems and learn about them. Role-playing games should be motivating, and enable the students to learn through own experience – in accordance with Kolb’s experiential learning theory.
This study explored the opportunity of role-playing games in a classroom setting with looking at the so-called CoPalCam game, i.e. a role-playing game modelling the supply chain of palm oil in Cameroon.
It was developed within the scope of OPAL, a project aiming at shaping a path towards a more sustainable palm oil production. In order to test the feasibility of the CoPalCam game for secondary schools in Zurich, an adapted, German version was developed.
The rules and structure of the game were adapted and written in German. In a second step the game materials were redesigned. Thirdly, the new game version was performed with five different secondary school classes in the area of Zurich with a total of 83 students.
Finally, the game sessions were evaluated based on both short questionnaires, filled out by both students and teachers, and observations during the game sessions.
The evaluation showed that the new game version is well suited for educational purpose on the secondary school levels in Zurich for students aged 12 to 15. All teachers were motivated to use the role-playing game again in class. The students enjoyed playing the game and were active during the actual gaming phase. The students’ engagement during the debriefing was rather low and needs to be improved.
Learning advancement with respect to the omnipresence of palm oil in cosmetics, and the awareness of the link of deforestation, child labour and the palm oil production could be observed. It was not possible to conclude much about the networked thinking due to this game, as the main evaluation tool, the student questionnaire, proved to be only partially appropriate.
However, due to exceedingly positive feedback, the adapted game continued to be used and further improved within the scope of “Edible Research”, i.e. a project providing hands-on learning activities on food systems and agroecology for students aged 12 to 15 in schools of Zurich.
In order to enable teachers to perform a game session on their own, a brochure about the game including a description of the game as well as additional teaching material on the topic was developed and is downloadable for free. Furthermore, the current game version is about to be integrated in the teacher training of several pedagogical universities in Switzerland.
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