The teachers and YfY-facilitators, Klara Andrés Rask and Ane Würtz Lauridsen, were the first to implement their game development courses in Denmark under the YfY-project pilot period. During a local YfY-meeting Klara and Ane shared their best practices and experiences with the two other YfY-facilitators, Anne Herholdt and Israfel Asbainza, from FGU Vestegnen.
Among the ideas shared was the entrepreneurial approach to always have an authentic receiver. That inspired Anne to follow in the footsteps of the Green Free School and initiate a collaboration with the environmental organization, NOAH, as well. Yet the ladies from the Green Free School had more inspiration to give from their game development courses.
Klara kickstarted their process by providing the youngster with a great map of the world. They had the world map on the wall and the youngsters researched climate changes in different countries and put it on the map. An idea that Anne from FGU Vestegnen got so inspired by that she decided to apply that as well. Both Klara and Ane made a great effort to secure the understanding of the topic before the actual game development phase.
Klara taught the students about the newest COP21, climate politics, CO2 and global warming and she took her students to a zoological museum, in which they could explore the museum by means of a game-based learning app. She took a more international perspective, whereas Anne went more local and practical. For instance, her students analyzed leaves with a microscope in a local park.
Although the students had been introduced to game design and game history. And although they had gone to Bastard Game Café twice to simply play and evaluate games, the students still needed to play a lot in order to really understand the diversity of games well. And in particular to be able to transform ideas into practice. It was a challenge to design a game based on a complex topic like climate change. Klara shared that challenge resulted in her students mostly making question and answer games.
Two teachers, Klara Andrés Rask and Ane Würtz Lauridsen, from the Green Free School in Copenhagen, Denmark, participated in Youth for Youth’s facilitator training in Game Design in the fall of 2021. They have afterwards applied their competences in the school as they implemented game development activities with 6th, 7th,, 8th and 9th graders (youth at the age of 12 to 15).
At the Green Free School they work project based and have trained youth in applying innovative tools and strategies as they go through four phases of implementation. For a month and a half, the 6th and 7th graders went through the four phases of the so-called FIRE-model, while the 8th and 9th graders had a shorter two week course. They, however, had a common goal: To create games to educate others about the environmental challenges of the world. Their target group were youth of their own age group.
They went through the four phases of the FIRE-model: Understanding (Danish: Forståelse), Idégeneration, Realization and Evaluation. In general, Ane explained, the first phase demands a larger amount of time for the youth to really get immersed into and understand the topic and in this case the highly complex and interconnected topic that the climate crisis is. In order to support the students journey with understanding the topic and trying out game development for the first time, they decided to limit the scope and focus on: Food and climate.
Ane further shared that the innovative pedagogics of the Green Free School is based on having an authentic receiver. They therefore established a collaboration with NOAH, a Danish environmental organization, who came to the school and introduced their work, made workshops focussing on climate friendly nutrition and later on in the process they were also game testers. Finally they received the games for their further work with implementing workshops with young people about environmental questions.
Here is a link for NOAH’s home page in which they have written more about the collaboration and you can see even more pictures of the games they developed: https://www.noah.dk/nyheder/elever-fra-den-groenne-friskole-udvikler-klimabraetspil-til-noah edit.