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DkIT Games Development Students Develop New Anti-Racism Game

27 April 2019

DkIT's 2nd year students studying the BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development have developed the code for a new game that aims to provide secondary school teachers and their pupils with an impartial, fact-based, means of discussing misconceptions relating to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants within Ireland and other EU countries. The game which is called CitizenSchool, was then presented to a European Union audience in Antwerp. CitizenSchool has been designed to be played during a 40-minute class. It is ideally suited for Transition Year students or any other students in the age range 15-18. 

CitizenSchool is a serious game that enables teachers to conduct classroom discussions relating to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in a neutral and unbiased manner. It presents pupils with a set of questions regarding their opinion toward refugees, asylum seekers and migrants it also equips teachers with a set of facts to help drive classroom discussion around the questions that were answered by the pupils. The game also allows teachers and their pupils to compare their answers against the answers of other classes that previously played the game. Importantly, no individual pupil’s results or other details are captured by the game. This ensures that teachers and their pupils can engage with the game, confident that their privacy will be protected.

CitizenSchool is a collaboration of three non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and three third level colleges. The three NGOs are Le Partenariat (France), Studio Globo (Belgium) and Stedenband Haarlem-Mutare (Netherlands). The three third level colleges are DkIT, Artesis - Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen (Belgium) and ISPGaya - Instituto Superior Politécnico (Portugal). The three NGOs are expert in the area of multi-culturalism and refugee integration. They used their expert knowledge to provide content for the game. DkIT took on the role of designing and developing the game. As part of the process of designing the game, the three third level colleges took their students to participate in two ten-day international projects. Students from 2nd year on the BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development represented DkIT during the two international projects. The first international project took place in Porto, Portugal, during March 2017. During this project, students got to work on developing games around six different themes. The second international project took place in Antwerp, Belgium, during March 2018. During this project, the top three game ideas from Porto were further developed by the students. The final game, which has just been launched, has been influenced by the work of the students who participated in both student projects.

Derek O’Reilly, who is a Senior Lecturer in Computing in the Department of Visual & Human-Centred Computing in DkIT, stated that;

The two international projects provided a wonderful opportunity for students on the BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development programme to experience working within a diverse multi-national team that comprised non-technical members. As well as getting to use their game-development skills, DkIT students got a unique opportunity to improve their soft-skills, such as communication, team management and presentation. While developing their game ideas, the students were exposed to discussions around the topic area. This was an enlightening experience for the participating students”.

To play the game and to find out more about CitizenSchool click here.

Relevant Links:

Department of Visual & Human-Centred Computing

BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development



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