When People Get in the Way: Promoting Civic Thinking Through Epistemic Gameplay

When People Get in the Way: Promoting Civic Thinking Through Epistemic Gameplay

Elizabeth Bagley (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and David Williamson Shaffer (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009010103
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A growing body of research suggests that computer games can help players learn to integrate knowledge and skills with values in complex domains of real world problem solving. In particular, research suggests that epistemic games—games where players think and act like real world professionals—can link knowledge, skills, and values into professional ways of thinking. Here, we look at how the epistemic game Urban Science develops civic thinking in young people as they learn about urban ecology by role-playing as urban planners redesigning a city. Specifically, we ask whether and how overcoming authentic obstacles from the profession of urban planning in the virtual world of a role-playing game can link civic values with the knowledge and skills young people need to solve complex social and ecological problems—and thus be a powerful context for learning civic thinking.

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