The growing interest in a global energy crisis and the drive to find alternative fuels and ways of conserving our existing energy sources is a hot topic at the moment, and one that provides an excellent context for theme-based, cross-curricular learning at all levels of the school.
I’ve blogged previously about resources that have been developed for use in schools, including Electrocity, a simulation focused on energy use in the city and PowerUp, a 3D virtual world with an environmental focus from IBM. The latest I’ve discovered is EnergyVille, (referred to me by Clarence Fisher via Twitter).
EnergyVille is an interactive game that puts you in charge of meeting the energy needs of a city or around 3.9 million people. It’s certainly engaging enough, with plenty of opportunity for exploring the choices to be made and pondering the consequences – I could certainly see how this could stimulate lots of activity in a classroom.
Of course, when considering energy futures we open ourselves to lots of speculation and differing points of view, depending on who is promoting the alternatives (energy companies, governments, ‘green’ groups etc – all have their own particular bias.) According to the game intro, the game has been created by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the assumptions for the game, both present and future, are based on their assessment of global facts and trends from numerous credible sources. The intro goes on to emphasise that there are a great many points of view in this debate, and that there are no easily answers. The important thing that is emphasised is the need to engage with good information and understand what the variables are and the consequences of these in any decisions that are made. If indeed this is what the game embodies then it gets a tick from me as a useful addition to the resource bank for teachers!