The last couple of posts have been pretty heavy and I love how much you guys have engaged with them. The discussion has been fabulous and really gratifying.
But this week I want to change gears a little and do something lighthearted. As you know I’m a bit of a geek and a gamer. I also love public engagement. Luckily enough these two things share some common ground in educational games! Wait, wait, wait! Don’t run away! Educational games can be fun!
Seriously though – Minnesota Zoo put together a great one on grey wolf behaviour called Wolf Quest. You can download it for free at that link and I’ve put together a demonstration Let’s Play for your viewing pleasure:
What I really love about Wolf Quest is that they actually tested how effective the game is at teaching. Schaller et al (2009) found that after playing the game, users knew more about wolf behaviour than they did before. Yay! Learning! This is due entirely to the amount of work that went into creating the game. For a game that’s A) Free and B) Educational and C) A good few years old now, it looks pretty good. I’ve played worse! In the evaluation the game’s creators note that they specifically wanted to engage younger users which results in this hilarious quote when they discuss the attention their game received:
Clearly, we had succeeded in reaching youth on their home territory.
And after all, isn’t that what public engagement is all about?
If you want to know more about how wolf reintroduction has affected Yellowstone (I checked, Amethyst Mountain is totally a place) check out this video which starts with some lovely shots of wolves howling.
I’m planning a few more traditional posts for next week. There’s the tail docking ban in Scotland’s working dogs which definitely needs discussing, and of course the fake papers problem, but let me know if you’d like to see some occasional ‘fluff’ (forgive the pun) pieces like this.