Statecraft X is a citizenship education game, played on mobile phones. In term 4 2012, Peter McVeigh and his year 8 SOSE class explored this game as a way to enhance and deepen understandings of core issues in the SOSE curriculum. The game was loaded onto ipods, which were lent to students for the duration of the unit, and students divided into factions - Griffin, Phoenix, Pegasus and Dragon. Over a period of three weeks, teams played at home, over the internet, competing at first with each other, then joining forces to fight an external threat.
During the three weeks students built cities, managed economies, trade and resources, managed health care, housing, employment and defence, and gained insider insight and experience into complex questions involved in government. The game was played outside of school hours, with the server on from 6 in the morning till 11 at night. During school lessons, Peter called on students' experience of the game to help them understand topics ranging from the spice trade, the opening up of the new world, or the opium wars, through to the role of the military in today's society, or the choices and challenges faced in balancing taxation, education and social good.
What is the time frame of the project?
Term 4 2012
What are the outcomes and achievements for this project?
Students enjoyed the game - both the novelty of playing games for homework outside school, and the game itself. Peter felt that the levels of insight and understanding gained was well beyond what students at this level were usually able to achieve.
Testimonials about the benefits of this project.
'The big problem doing the civics component [of the SOSE curriculum] is trying to get the kids to think at a higher level. “We should just build the hospital and we should build the roads and everybody should have access to computers and all those types of things” - it’s really hard for them to understand it’s a resource-driven model.... I was very impressed with the way that kids could draw upon in-game experiences and compare and contrast them against systems within state, systems within countries etcetera. I thought that was a real strength of the game.'
What is next for this project?
Teachers at Merrimac are exploring other games that might be used to support learning in the curriculum areas at the school.