Study by TC's Wu and Lee: Climate Change Games Are Effective... | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Study by TC's Wu and Lee: Climate Change Games Are Effective in Educating Public

A new study by Jason S. Wu, Doctoral Student of Science Education, and Joey J. Lee, Research Assistant Professor and Director of the Real-World Impact Games Lab in TC's Department of Math, Science And Technology, finds that digital games are effective in educating and engaging the public in the subject of climate change.

In a study published on the Nature Climate Change website, Wu and Lee write that there has been a "dramatic increase in the development of games featuring innovative designs that blur traditional boundaries (for example, those that involve social media, alternative reality games, or those that involve direct action upon the real world).

At the same time, "there is an urgent need for effective ways to engage diverse audiences about global climate change.Climate change games may offer the tools necessary to address these challenges," the authors observe.

Games allow players to "simulate complex models or provide a level of control that is not possible in the real world," they write. "This is particularly advantageous when dealing with global atmospheric systems that would be otherwise difficult to bring to a hands-on level."

Wu and Lee conclude that "games are uniquely suited to get people to understand, care about and take action on climate issues." They can "serve as engaging tools that allow players to experience the complexities of climate systems, ... provide interactive models where players participate in decisions affecting climate change and immediately see the resulting outcomes."

Games can "target a variety of learning domains, and when done well, they are fun," the authors conclude.

Published Friday, Apr. 24, 2015