Articles | Volume 20, issue 10
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 4079–4091, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-4079-2016

Special issue: Effective Science Communication and Education in Hydrology...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 4079–4091, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-4079-2016

Education and communication 07 Oct 2016

Education and communication | 07 Oct 2016

Learning about water resource sharing through game play

Tracy Ewen1,2 and Jan Seibert1,3,4 Tracy Ewen and Jan Seibert
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Center for Climate Systems Modeling, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract. Games are an optimal way to teach about water resource sharing, as they allow real-world scenarios to be enacted. Both students and professionals learning about water resource management can benefit from playing games, through the process of understanding both the complexity of sharing of resources between different groups and decision outcomes. Here we address how games can be used to teach about water resource sharing, through both playing and developing water games. An evaluation of using the web-based game Irrigania in the classroom setting, supported by feedback from several educators who have used Irrigania to teach about the sustainable use of water resources, and decision making, at university and high school levels, finds Irrigania to be an effective and easy tool to incorporate into a curriculum. The development of two water games in a course for masters students in geography is also presented as a way to teach and communicate about water resource sharing. Through game development, students learned soft skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, team work, and time management, and overall the process was found to be an effective way to learn about water resource decision outcomes. This paper concludes with a discussion of learning outcomes from both playing and developing water games.

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Short summary
Games are an optimal way to teach about water resource sharing, as they allow real-world scenarios to be explored. We look at how games can be used to teach about water resource sharing, by both playing and developing water games. An evaluation of the web-based game Irrigania found Irrigania to be an effective and easy tool to incorporate into curriculum, and a course on developing water games encouraged students to think about water resource sharing in a more critical and insightful way.