Using a GAmes approach to TEach children about discriminatory BULLying Erasmus Project

General information for the Using a GAmes approach to TEach children about discriminatory BULLying Erasmus Project

Using a GAmes approach to TEach children about discriminatory BULLying Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am
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Project Title

Using a GAmes approach to TEach children about discriminatory BULLying

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for school education

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2017

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: Pedagogy and didactics; Inclusion – equity; ICT – new technologies – digital competences

Project Summary

Europe is currently at a crossroad, facing multiple challenges such as an economic and fiscal crisis, a migration crisis, terrorist attacks and the rise of political far-right ideology. According to the latest report of the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance, these changes have resulted in a growing climate of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and intolerance that filters down to the younger generations. For example, racism and religious discrimination was voted as the number one issue of concern among young people in the UK in 2016 (British Youth Council, 2016). Especially among young children, discrimination is frequently expressed in the form of bullying. A recent pan-European survey found that 46% of school students had observed bullying acts directed towards immigrant/Roma students in the last three months (Elame, 2013). However, the same survey also confirmed that there is no evidence-based educational approach for discriminatory bullying currently in Europe. This is a huge gap considering that prejudice-reduction initiatives have most potential to be successful with young children.

To address these challenges, this project developed an innovative approach to tackling discriminatory bullying that integrated a serious digital game with an intercultural pedagogy and curriculum. The intervention comprised of the following key elements: First, the project developed an immersive 3D virtual environment, built on gaming architecture, that provided a safe environment where school children were able to develop inter-cultural and social competencies by interacting with NPCs (Non-Player Characters) in a simulation of real world discriminatory bullying scenarios. Students engaged with simulations and navigated their way through choices to arrive at the best solution. Second, the project developed a complementary inter-cultural pedagogy and curriculum for use by the teachers who wish to implement the e-learning component in class.

The intervention was evaluated in 4 countries (UK, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Greece) with 835 children aged 10-12 using a pre and post design with a comparison between an intervention and a waiting control group. Overall, we found that the intervention improved children’s attitudes towards minority groups although the effect varied by country and school. Overall, the intervention was more effective in the Netherlands where it was tested in mixed-schools. Qualitative feedback received from teachers in the schools who took part was very positive.

4 multiplier events were organised in each of the partner’s country with a large number of practitioners and organisations participating. Further evidence of the impact of the project is that parts of the intervention formed part of Scotland’s anti-bullying strategy and were distributed to all schools in Scotland. Also, the project website attracted 5,620 views from 979 users across the world including USA, Japan and United Arab Emirates.

Overall, the project contributed towards the development of more cooperative practices in school and increased awareness about the plight of groups who are subject to discriminatory bullying in schools. Through interaction with a serious digital game children also developed their digital literacies. The project further provided opportunities for teachers to be trained on the use of simulated e-learning technologies thus leading to a more highly skilled educational workforce.

At a national and European level the project contributed to raising awareness about discriminatory bullying and its effects and increased knowledge about the advantages of using simulated learning environments to teach about sensitive topics.

All intervention material developed for this project are free to use and available to download from the project website: https://www.ou.nl/en/web/gate-bull

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 229958,3 Eur

Project Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND & Country: UK

Project Partners

  • PANEPISTIMIO PATRON
  • OPEN UNIVERSITEIT NEDERLAND
  • UNIVERZITA KONSTANTINA FILOZOFA V NITRE