The year 2015 has been quite productive for MEGA. Besides active development of our MEGA Game and the first edition of the MEGA Impact Championship, we have organized a new project: Operation P.E.A.C.E.
Operation P.E.A.C.E. (Practical and Entertaining Adventure for Conflict-resolution and English-teaching) is the „codename” of the Innovation Camp aimed at implementing gamification and developing “serious games” on the topic of teaching English through conflict resolution and peace building. The innovation of Operation P.E.A.C.E. lies in the collaborative design and development of various kinds of games (outdoor, board games, or on-line games) by teachers of English from different countries, their further development, playtesting, production, and distribution to schools and colleges that wish to incorporate gamification and games on conflict resolution and peace building into their curricula.
Such an inititiative was inspired by the vast spread of gamification and games in teaching and learning worldwide, and, of course, the highly positive results of this trend. The main advantage of games is that they allow people to experiment and receive immediate feedback on their choices and behavior. In this way games not only teach, but also form desired habits and behavior. In terms of conflict resolution, for example, a player practices different ways of behavior and is encouraged to choose the correct one, thus making this behavior choice a default one for him-/herself. Also an important aspect is that games are based on the feeling of fun and enjoyment that stimulates successful learning and high knowledge retention rates.
The first edition of Operation P.E.A.C.E. took place during the period of 27th – 31st of October, 2015, in a resort town Vadul lui Voda in Moldova. 30 English teachers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine came to Vadul lui Voda to learn about and explore the concept of gamification and game design and development to use in their English classes with focus on resolving conflict and building peaceful and mutually respectful relations. The sessions at the Camp included delivery of knowledge and practicing of skills in the development and testing of various types of games: outdoor games, board games, and on-line games. The participants not only observed real examples of all these games, but also tested them in practice, thus experiencing their immersive environments and learning from this “hands on, minds on” experience. They also received the free Gamification Handbook elaborated during Operation P.E.A.C.E., which is now available for reading and downloading at our Issuu page.
As a result of the Camp 5 teams of teachers have created the concepts and designs of 5 unique games. They are called “Find the Gold”, “The Inquisitive Snake”, “New World”, “Buddies”, and “Hidden Treasure”. For example, “Find the Gold” is played by up to 4 teams, who compete to reach the “top” of the “pyramid” and find the “ancient gold”. The teams achieve this by answering a variety of questions related to English language, conflict resolution, and peace building. The game also features the “music key”, when a team needs to sing a song in English. All these games are now being prepared, playtested, and produced to be accessible to all on an open source basis. The final versions are expected to be released in April – May, 2016.
When ready, these games are to be sent to each teachers team to be used in classrooms. It is intended that the games enhance the English teaching and learning experience, as well as allow students to learn, practice, and form habits and skills in resolving conflicts in a peaceful way and building respectful relations with other people.
Operation P.E.A.C.E. is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, English Language Innovation Fund.
Photo credit: Alexandr Iscenco, Gabriela Isac, 2015.