Systemcheck is an interactive online learning game for schoolchildren in the 6th and 7th grades and can be used both with desktop computers and mobile devices. The game was funded by the Innovation Foundation for Education and the OeAD and developed with the help of schoolchildren and teachers. The learning content is based on the geography and economics curriculum and focuses on the following areas: “Living in metropolitan areas” and “People designing their living space”. Lessons about mobility in metropolitan areas and the periphery and systemic relationships can be learned through play. It is a learning quiz about traffic and mobility in urban and rural areas and contains three experimental models models about public transport, parking spaces and parking space management. The quiz and the experimental models can be played independently of each other and can each be carried out within one lesson (double lesson). Using Systemcheck, the review and application of previously learned content should be achieved. Here you can play the game: https://ive.boku.ac.at/systemcheck.
Students are encouraged to experiment and thus develop an understanding of systemic relationships and the representation of processes in models. The children get a deeper insight into the complex interactions between the city and the periphery. Systems thinking can be seen as a key element of sustainable education. One of the main goals is for pupils to recognize and fundamentally understand the effects and interrelationships of individual elements in the city-periphery mobility system after playing. Another learning objective is to impart knowledge from the field of mobility, the environmental impact of spatial mobility and choice of place of residence, and the mobility-related needs of different age groups.
The background story of the game intends to locate the learning content in everyday life. Through the topic of urban-rural mobility, there is a direct practical reference to the life and experience of the pupils. This way, the students notice that the knowledge they can acquire here is relevant to them personally.
The online game was tested and revised in three participation phases with Citizen Science methods. In the first phase, 4 school classes with 102 pupils gave feedback on the learning quiz. Teachers were also involved. After the evaluation of the feedback, the educational game was revised. The intention was to implement as many suggestions as possible without losing sight of the basic orientation as an educational game and the focus on the essential functions. Significant changes linked to the collaboration with the Citizens are, for example, explanations of the correct answer options or the “mouse-over” function for the explanatory texts on technical terms.
The second participation phase was carried out publicly – 392 pupils tested the game and 138 pupils also filled out the questionnaire. This time the experimental models were also tested. Most of the players liked the game, especially the background story. From the feedback it was concluded that the experimental models were not understandable for everyone. In order to prepare students for this part of the game, supporting material was provided for teachers. In the third phase, Systemcheck was tested by 48 pupils of the 9th grade with the help of students from the study programme Environmental and Bioresource Management during their interdisciplinary project class. Interviews were carried out and feedback was obtained using questionnaires. The evaluation of the feedback from the questionnaires showed that the students rated the game overall to a great extent positive.
Systemcheck won the BOKU sustainability award in the category “Education for Sustainable Development”. Click here to read more about it: