Digital Games for Peace Education

Digital Games for Peace Education

Levent Durdu (Kocaeli University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2827-3.ch011


Interactive, communicative, and participatory activities contribute to the effectiveness of peace education. The use of games in educational settings is expressed as educational games. From the Oregon Trail to today's highly interactive games, many games have been used to support learning in many subjects. To state it specifically about peace education, the history of digital games for peace education started with My City (1995), supported by UNICEF, continued with games aiming different learning subjects, such as Escape from Woomera (2003), Ayiti (2006), PeaceMaker (2007), Hush (2007) and This War of Mine (2014). The most important contribution of these games in terms of peace education is that individuals gain empathy and perspective. These gains at cognitive and affective domains will contribute to individuals to be more successful in conflict resolution. The games introduced in this chapter are detailed with their pros and cons within the scope of peace education. The researches based on these games are included, and the critical findings of these studies are discussed.
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First of all, it will be useful to include definitions of two basic concepts: peace education and game. Fountain (1999) defines peace education as “the process of promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behavior changes that will enable children, youth and adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to create the conditions conducive to peace, whether at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, national or international level” (p. 1). There have been different approaches to peace education. Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (CORPED, 1986) bring knowledge component forward, Cremin (1993) emphasizes skills and attitudes, Reardon (1988) combines knowledge, skills, and attitudes with emphasis on cooperative learning and Hicks (1985) underlines the importance of activities for peace education. Regardless of the concept emphasized, the final aim of peace education is behavior change in individuals from all ages. “Education” in this context can be formal, in schools, or in-formal in any place. There are various strategies for promoting peace education especially for young people either within schools or outside of schools. In order to develop peace education curricula or integrate peace education into existing curriculum different efforts have been made. These efforts include, according to Fountain (1999), manuals for teachers (as in the cases of Burundi (1994), Croatia, and Liberia (1993)), workshops (as in the case of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1996) and teaching materials (as in the case of the United Kingdom in 1995). Interactive teaching methods and group discussions contributes to quality of peace education by valuing students’ opinions and empathizing for differences.

For example, the sample peace education activity for primary school students, explained in Fountain’s (1999) report, requires pupils to be assigned to groups with 3 different scenarios. Students are expected to imagine the scenario assigned to them. Afterwards, each student is asked to write down what he or she feels within the imaginary scenario. The teacher points out that each student feels different in situations. The teacher proceeds with each scenario in a way that allows students to empathize with each other's feelings. At the end of the activity, the teacher asks “How are you feeling right now?” to allow the sharing of feelings. It is worth to note that the final aim of the activity is to “give empathy to oneself and others; to understand the connection between needs and feelings (feelings depend on whether our needs are met or not)” (Fountain, 1999, p. 17). Interactive, communicative and participatory activities contribute to the effectiveness of peace education. Such activities can be part of the curriculum of formal school education or can be informal. Outside school activities can be camps (focusing on communication of children from different cultural/ethnic groups), sports (focusing on teamwork, fair play), contests and exhibitions (focusing on awareness of peace), theatre (focusing on expression of feelings), animations or television (focusing on reaching a wider audience) and various kinds of games.

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