Gaming for sustainability

An overview

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This study explored the potential of digital games as learning environments to develop mindsets capable of dealing with complexity in the domain of sustainability. Building sustainable futures requires the ability to deal with the complex dynamics that characterize the world in which we live. As central elements in this system, we must develop the ability of constantly assessing the environment that surrounds us, operating in it and adapting to it through a continuous and iterative individual and interpersonal process of revision of our frames of reference. We must focus on our world as a whole, considering both immediate problems and long-term consequences that decision making processes could generate. Educating for sustainability demands learning approaches and environments that require the development of systems thinking and problem-solving, rather than solely the acquisition of factual knowledge. Due to their characteristics, digital games present a high potential for "learning for complexity". Although they can be very different from one another, digital games can indeed be proper complex systems. In fact, many modern games are set in sophisticated cyberworlds, requiring players to engage in cognitively demanding tasks relying on problem-solving and decision-making skills, dealing with ill-structured problems, unpredictable circumstances, emerging system properties and behaviours, and non-linear development of events. Furthermore, these environments support remote interactions across large numbers of players, often requiring collective engagement in the pursuit of common goals. To understand how games are currently used for "learning for sustainability", we analysed twenty games. The games were selected based on their visibility on an online search engine. The analysis showed that there is an emphasis on using single-player games to educate children and to foster the acquisition of factual knowledge. Furthermore, our results show that sustainability games often do not leverage the usage of complex systems as gaming environments, hence not fully exploiting the potential of games as learning environments to develop "thinking for complexity".

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011
EditorsDimitris Gouscos, M Meimaris
PublisherDechema e.V.
Pages159-167
Number of pages9
Volume2011-January
ISBN (Electronic)9781908272188
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event5th European Conference on Games Based Learning - Athens, Greece
Duration: 20 Oct 201121 Oct 2011
Conference number: 5

Conference

Conference5th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Abbreviated titleECGBL 2011
CountryGreece
CityAthens
Period20/10/1121/10/11

Fingerprint

Sustainable development
sustainability
Large scale systems
Decision making
learning environment
learning
Search engines
Visibility
decision making process
ability
search engine
decision making
event
interaction

Cite this

Fabricatore, C., & Lopez, X. (2011). Gaming for sustainability: An overview. In D. Gouscos, & M. Meimaris (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011 (Vol. 2011-January, pp. 159-167). Dechema e.V..
Fabricatore, Carlo ; Lopez, Ximena. / Gaming for sustainability : An overview. Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011. editor / Dimitris Gouscos ; M Meimaris. Vol. 2011-January Dechema e.V., 2011. pp. 159-167
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title = "Gaming for sustainability: An overview",
abstract = "This study explored the potential of digital games as learning environments to develop mindsets capable of dealing with complexity in the domain of sustainability. Building sustainable futures requires the ability to deal with the complex dynamics that characterize the world in which we live. As central elements in this system, we must develop the ability of constantly assessing the environment that surrounds us, operating in it and adapting to it through a continuous and iterative individual and interpersonal process of revision of our frames of reference. We must focus on our world as a whole, considering both immediate problems and long-term consequences that decision making processes could generate. Educating for sustainability demands learning approaches and environments that require the development of systems thinking and problem-solving, rather than solely the acquisition of factual knowledge. Due to their characteristics, digital games present a high potential for {"}learning for complexity{"}. Although they can be very different from one another, digital games can indeed be proper complex systems. In fact, many modern games are set in sophisticated cyberworlds, requiring players to engage in cognitively demanding tasks relying on problem-solving and decision-making skills, dealing with ill-structured problems, unpredictable circumstances, emerging system properties and behaviours, and non-linear development of events. Furthermore, these environments support remote interactions across large numbers of players, often requiring collective engagement in the pursuit of common goals. To understand how games are currently used for {"}learning for sustainability{"}, we analysed twenty games. The games were selected based on their visibility on an online search engine. The analysis showed that there is an emphasis on using single-player games to educate children and to foster the acquisition of factual knowledge. Furthermore, our results show that sustainability games often do not leverage the usage of complex systems as gaming environments, hence not fully exploiting the potential of games as learning environments to develop {"}thinking for complexity{"}.",
keywords = "Complex systems, Digital games, Game-based learning, Sustainability",
author = "Carlo Fabricatore and Ximena Lopez",
year = "2011",
month = "10",
language = "English",
volume = "2011-January",
pages = "159--167",
editor = "Dimitris Gouscos and M Meimaris",
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Fabricatore, C & Lopez, X 2011, Gaming for sustainability: An overview. in D Gouscos & M Meimaris (eds), Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011. vol. 2011-January, Dechema e.V., pp. 159-167, 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, Athens, Greece, 20/10/11.

Gaming for sustainability : An overview. / Fabricatore, Carlo; Lopez, Ximena.

Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011. ed. / Dimitris Gouscos; M Meimaris. Vol. 2011-January Dechema e.V., 2011. p. 159-167.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Fabricatore C, Lopez X. Gaming for sustainability: An overview. In Gouscos D, Meimaris M, editors, Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2011. Vol. 2011-January. Dechema e.V. 2011. p. 159-167