Digital Geogames to foster local biodiversity

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Abstract

The valuing of biodiversity is considered to be a first step towards its conservation. Therefore, the aim of the BioDiv2Go project is to combine sensuous experiences discovering biodiversity with mobile technology and a game-based learning approach.

Following the competence model for environmental education (Roczen et al, 2014), Geogames (location based games on smartphones) for experiential outdoor learning activities are developed. The Finde Vielfalt Simulation (FVS) Geogame focuses on adolescent visitors of German youth hostels. The FVS-players are involved in a narrative keeping the traditions of their ancestors’ heritage as decisions are needed to balance biodiversity and economic success. They discover the natural environment and they solve location-based tasks at several places. If the players manipulate a simulation successfully they stand the test of the ancestors.

The initial theoretical framework consists of the components biodiversity-related attitudes, behaviour and knowledge, general environmental behaviour and attitude towards nature. According to the Uses and Gratification Theory, the game-related enjoyment is added. For the assessment different scales were developed or adapted and tested for secondary-school children. The framework evolved stepwise through systematic expert hearings, interviews with the target group, participant observation as well as through an online survey. In a first step the situational interest was considered to be important for the valuing of biodiversity. The final version of the framework was used and validated within a pilot study with 180 secondary school students.

The framework development was a highly transformative process engaging different actors, using complementary methodological approaches and integrating different disciplinary perspectives.

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