My name is Andrew Mallia, I'm 29 years old and have been working as a Digital Literacy Support teacher for secondary schools for the past 7 years. I participated in this project in collaboration with the Middle School at Maria Regina College, in Naxxar. My main motivation was to learn more about Internet safety and Bullying through serious games, topics which I feel are of the utmost importance in today's society.
Through this project, I was able to get a better understanding of how serious games can affect pupil learning. Without even knowing, students were learning a number of skills which would have otherwise been more challenging to discover. In the pre and post-test questionnaires, we noticed a change in the mentality of certain students who played the games. Students who were otherwise easily distracted, were grasping concepts like empathy and caring just by playing what they thought was just a game.
While opinions differed from one student to another and one game to the other, some of the students were keen to play the game and progress through the different levels. When we explained what the project was about, some of them expressed their surprise to the concept of learning through games, even though they were keen players at home.
Students liked the ‘Schools of Empathy' game on bullying. They loved the interface, the graphics and the mode of play. They started to get into the bullied actor's shoes and understand how frustrating he/she must have felt. Some of them even opened up how they were in similar situations. With regards to the game about safe internet use, we noticed that students were learning new things like spam and friend requests from strangers, and could easily relate to everyday scenarios they come across.
I would recommend eConfidence games to other teachers/pupils as educational resources effective in fostering behavioural change linked to bullying and safe use of internet issues. Combined with other resources and activities these games would help pupils understand better the issues at hand.