We Are Growable: Developing Systems Thinking Through Games
Game-based learning is a pedagogical approach for engaging diverse students in locally relevant conservation issues. Keshwani will discuss how game experiences help youth explore complex agroecosystems, develop systems thinking habits of mind, and practice making personal and societal decisions related to sustainability and conservation.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:00.750]The following presentation is part
[00:00:02.670]of the Agronomy and Horticulture seminar series
[00:00:05.790]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:00:08.850]Welcome everyone to week three of the Fall 2022,
[00:00:14.430]Department of Agronomy and Horticulture Seminar series.
[00:00:17.730]My name's Dan Uden and I'm an assistant professor
[00:00:20.640]here in the department
[00:00:22.020]as well as in the school natural resources.
[00:00:24.300]And on behalf of Christine Booth
[00:00:27.540]and the entire seminar committee,
[00:00:29.280]it's my pleasure to introduce this afternoon's speaker,
[00:00:32.820]Dr. Jenny Keshwani.
[00:00:34.710]Dr. Keshwani is in UNL's,
[00:00:38.100]Department of Biological Systems Engineering
[00:00:40.500]where she's an associate professor
[00:00:43.680]and science literacy specialist.
[00:00:47.370]So I was just, you have an extension appointment,
[00:00:53.160]a heavy extension appointment and a teaching appointment.
[00:00:55.290]I was just sharing that.
[00:00:56.700]I was visiting with a group of international students
[00:01:00.180]yesterday and we played Prairie Protector,
[00:01:03.090]which is one of your systems thinking games.
[00:01:06.450]So I'm sure you're gonna tell us more about that
[00:01:09.780]and some other exciting Growable things.
[00:01:13.350]So with that, the mic is yours, Jenny.
[00:01:18.066]It's kind of fun getting introduced by you,
[00:01:20.790]especially when I'm talking about Prairie Protector
[00:01:22.680]because you have a little role in that.
[00:01:24.360]So we'll get to talk about Dan's role a little bit later.
[00:01:27.870]So I'm Jenny Keshwani and Growable is our new branding,
[00:01:32.520]branding for the Science Literacy Initiative K12 arm.
[00:01:36.240]And so since you're all here in person,
[00:01:39.180]I promise stickers so y'all can grab stickers at some point,
[00:01:43.230]maybe a win stickers, We have some games,
[00:01:44.940]we are talking about games, so that would be appropriate.
[00:01:48.420]So Growable really grew out of the pandemic.
[00:01:54.210]So the past couple years have been weird for everybody,
[00:01:57.060]but especially in my role because a lot of the work we do
[00:02:01.140]in our extension programming is this K12 teachers
[00:02:03.870]and the K12 teacher world the last couple years
[00:02:06.840]has been upended probably more than just about anybody else.
[00:02:10.470]And so the things that we were used to doing
[00:02:12.780]with those educators were not working anymore.
[00:02:15.060]Nobody was coming to our trainings
[00:02:16.410]even when we were paying them a lot,
[00:02:17.790]they just didn't have the bandwidth for it.
[00:02:20.040]So that led us to develop the global website.
[00:02:23.910]So the stickers are really just our attempt
[00:02:26.700]to get everybody to go to growable.unl.edu.
[00:02:29.760]So hopefully everybody will check it out.
[00:02:30.990]This has all of the fun resources that we have
[00:02:33.870]and continually being updated with different programs
[00:02:37.140]and things that folks can get involved with
[00:02:39.870]related to our efforts.
[00:02:42.300]So what do we do with Growable?
[00:02:45.090]Growable is really focused on these two ideas.
[00:02:47.520]So systems thinking and STEM informed decision making.
[00:02:51.750]I have this picture of weaving up here because it's kind of
[00:02:54.150]what we're trying to do is help our participants
[00:02:56.490]weave these two concepts together
[00:02:59.040]so that when they're making decisions,
[00:03:01.380]they're thinking about these broader systems
[00:03:04.170]that are relevant to what we're trying to solve
[00:03:08.370]in the world.
[00:03:09.420]And systems thinking is especially relevant to us
[00:03:13.470]in the Institute of Ag and Natural Resources.
[00:03:15.360]When we think about all the complex systems
[00:03:18.720]that folks in this department are working with,
[00:03:20.550]that folks really across East Campus are trying to explore
[00:03:24.330]and use in different ways.
[00:03:25.930]And so we like to say that we translate those systems
[00:03:29.370]into ways that youth can understand them.
[00:03:32.580]So when we think about systems thinking though,
[00:03:34.650]that's kind of a weird concept to grasp.
[00:03:38.610]STEM informed decision making.
[00:03:39.660]You make decisions based on information.
[00:03:41.730]We all do that every day.
[00:03:43.470]But systems thinking, what does that actually mean?
[00:03:46.290]So this is a picture of my bulletin board in my office.
[00:03:49.530]So you're all getting a glimpse of what it looks like for me
[00:03:52.020]to be at work every day.
[00:03:54.570]And this big poster,
[00:03:56.640]this is the habits of systems sinking from the water center.
[00:03:59.700]And this is something I look at just about every day
[00:04:02.550]because when we're designing these different tools
[00:04:04.470]and resources, we're thinking about these 14 habits.
[00:04:09.150]So I'll zoom in on that a little bit
[00:04:10.320]so you can see it somewhat better.
[00:04:13.349]These are all sorts of different habits
[00:04:15.480]that really we're hoping all of our students gain.
[00:04:17.640]We're hoping all of us use.
[00:04:19.680]So things like surfacing and testing assumptions,
[00:04:22.770]that's a good skill, we want people to do that.
[00:04:26.160]Thinking about changing perspectives
[00:04:28.280]to increase understanding.
[00:04:29.850]Got this image of an older person and a younger person
[00:04:33.540]and the older person gets down at their level and suddenly
[00:04:35.880]understands what this little person is trying to explain.
[00:04:39.600]So that changing perspectives can be physical like that
[00:04:42.300]where you're getting down at a different level,
[00:04:43.620]but it could be just the the mental model
[00:04:46.200]that you have of the world.
[00:04:47.250]Changing that to really understand
[00:04:49.470]another person's perspective,
[00:04:52.170]using understanding of a system
[00:04:54.330]to identify possible leverage points, leverage actions.
[00:04:58.920]Where can we have the most impact
[00:05:00.720]on the positive things we want to have happening?
[00:05:03.810]What might those areas be?
[00:05:05.220]And what might be the things that we think
[00:05:06.810]are really powerful and having an impact
[00:05:08.880]but really aren't those leverage points,
[00:05:10.320]just make us feel good in the short term.
[00:05:11.910]Those quick fixes that really hinder
[00:05:14.220]the progress of big ideas.
[00:05:18.030]So what do we do about
[00:05:19.800]helping students learn about systems thinking?
[00:05:23.340]And a lot of this comes back to games
[00:05:25.770]and games are really powerful tools.
[00:05:28.680]Does anybody in here play games?
[00:05:31.500]One, anybody consider themselves like a gamer?
[00:05:34.800]Yeah, we got the gamers.
[00:05:38.220]So what are your preferred like modes of gaming?
[00:05:40.320]Tabletop, video games?
[00:05:45.540]Oh that's interesting.
[00:05:47.130]What did you say?
[00:05:48.371](indistinct) All of all of the games. All of the games.
[00:05:51.030]So just take like if you haven't played a game for a while,
[00:05:54.120]just like consider,
[00:05:55.890]like what was it like a while ago maybe when you were little
[00:05:59.940]to play a game,
[00:06:01.410]you remember playing games with your friends,
[00:06:03.360]with your parents, siblings,
[00:06:06.390]playing maybe some Dominoes or hop scotch or whatever.
[00:06:10.980]What kind of state of mind were you in playing a game?
[00:06:17.610]Okay, we got some competitors.
[00:06:22.320]You didn't like gaming as a kid, but now you do.
[00:06:27.090]So I totally agree.
[00:06:28.170]And for people online we're seeing a lot of like
[00:06:31.072]the competition type things.
[00:06:34.140]When I did strengths finder,
[00:06:35.100]like competition is my lowest of the low strengths.
[00:06:37.470]I am not competitive. Like I want everybody to win.
[00:06:40.770]So most of the games we create because of me
[00:06:43.200]are collaborative games and I love that and it's awesome
[00:06:46.560]'cause we're all in it together to do this thing.
[00:06:49.410]Did anybody have fun playing games?
[00:06:52.470]Okay, maybe you didn't.
[00:06:53.730]Generally kids did they have fun?
[00:06:56.190]If we were to just like be like, okay let's,
[00:06:58.230]let's skip this presentation.
[00:06:59.370]Let's just all sit around and play a game.
[00:07:03.731]We might be a little bit more talkative.
[00:07:06.360]We might get to know each other a little bit better.
[00:07:09.030]We might have some inside jokes
[00:07:10.680]that develop because of that.
[00:07:13.770]Being in a head space of fun is a lot better place to learn
[00:07:18.300]than being in a head space of scared and I have to perform
[00:07:22.230]and I'm gonna fail my test and I gotta cram all this
[00:07:25.110]information in my brain and then regurgitate it.
[00:07:28.650]And so really trying to promote this idea of having a game
[00:07:33.090]be both entertaining and enjoyable.
[00:07:37.590]Make learning fun and teach these really
[00:07:40.020]complex systems thinking concepts.
[00:07:43.020]So we're not alone in this.
[00:07:45.030]Lots of folks are doing game-based learning
[00:07:47.460]and here's just kind of a general model
[00:07:49.770]of how game-based learning works.
[00:07:52.020]So it's circular,
[00:07:53.550]it goes around and round as long as you're involved
[00:07:56.100]in playing the game.
[00:07:58.290]It's open ended exploration.
[00:08:00.120]You're trying to figure out what world is this game in?
[00:08:02.610]What am I trying to accomplish?
[00:08:04.740]Am I trying to make it to the end of some adventure?
[00:08:07.680]Am I trying to capture enough resources
[00:08:10.860]to achieve some goal?
[00:08:12.870]What is it that I'm trying to do?
[00:08:15.069]And you get a lot of opportunities for failure
[00:08:17.250]and feedback in a game.
[00:08:19.620]Either your strategy works or it doesn't
[00:08:22.260]and you get to figure out what works and what doesn't
[00:08:24.600]pretty quickly as well as what are the other players doing?
[00:08:29.610]Are you both working towards the same goal?
[00:08:31.800]Are there strategies aligning with yours?
[00:08:33.420]Are there strategies changing?
[00:08:34.680]And you have to change yours to meet what's happening?
[00:08:37.650]There's a lot of this feedback happening during the game
[00:08:41.130]and then you adjust to that.
[00:08:43.350]So you have this action correction
[00:08:45.360]where you're taking that information you've gained
[00:08:47.610]and changing your actions
[00:08:49.560]based on whatever that feedback is.
[00:08:52.140]And so this allows for a learning sequence
[00:08:55.020]where students are able to learn some pretty complex things.
[00:09:00.150]And so another way to think about this.
[00:09:02.970]So we're going from awareness to action.
[00:09:05.490]So along this continuum we're introduced to this new world.
[00:09:09.360]So in Prairie Protector we're introduced
[00:09:11.220]to this idea of land management and invasive species.
[00:09:14.730]We just kind of get to wander around this space,
[00:09:16.560]see what it's like, feel it out, low stakes decision making,
[00:09:20.370]worst case scenario, you lose and you get to start again
[00:09:23.700]is really a great way for learning.
[00:09:26.430]And then you get to engage in this empathy building.
[00:09:28.710]And towards the end I'm gonna show you some of the research
[00:09:31.470]that we're doing on what students learn from these games.
[00:09:34.170]And it's interesting how they're really starting
[00:09:37.110]to appreciate the roles of different players
[00:09:39.150]in the real world scenarios
[00:09:41.040]that they're playing in the games.
[00:09:44.760]So what are students thinking and thinking like, okay,
[00:09:48.330]this is what the game is about,
[00:09:50.100]this is what I'm attempting to do.
[00:09:52.500]If you design a game really well,
[00:09:54.480]they're thinking the same thing about that real world system
[00:09:57.000]is thinking, okay,
[00:09:57.833]'What do I need to do for managing this land?
[00:10:00.780]Well, what do I need to do
[00:10:02.010]to irrigate my crops in the right way?'
[00:10:04.620]And then they get to try things like,
[00:10:06.380]'I wonder what would happen if I made this decision.'
[00:10:10.530]And I don't know about any of you,
[00:10:12.840]but when I was little that was like my life motto.
[00:10:15.600]I wonder what would happen if,
[00:10:18.150]and that's like a hundred percent of the time
[00:10:19.740]I got in trouble was doing this
[00:10:21.840]and poking holes in my water bed
[00:10:23.520]or seeing if knives came sharpened or not
[00:10:26.700]and things like that
[00:10:27.533]where I kind of drove my parents bonkers.
[00:10:30.480]But this provides a really safe place to do that,
[00:10:32.700]they can test out all their hypotheses
[00:10:35.250]and get that immediate feedback
[00:10:38.340]and then that empathy building like this is hard
[00:10:41.970]because I don't have as much money as I would like
[00:10:44.010]or I'm restricted by time.
[00:10:45.630]And so designing the game
[00:10:46.950]so that it gets to these empathy points
[00:10:49.140]is a really big part of the game development process.
[00:10:52.650]All right, so building a game, what does it look like?
[00:10:55.050]So we originally started building games about 2015, 2016
[00:11:00.330]with some funding from USDA, NSF, James Abaya,
[00:11:04.470]if you remember him.
[00:11:05.310]He was still here in BSC, he's now in Arkansas.
[00:11:09.300]He got this grant to build an agro ecosystem game
[00:11:12.600]around the corn-water-ethanol-beef system.
[00:11:15.567]And so we were looking at this system and trying to think,
[00:11:18.840]'Okay, what do we want students to learn from this?'
[00:11:23.503]And there's a lot going on.
[00:11:24.750]There's a lot of places where decisions are made,
[00:11:26.850]there's a lot of feedback.
[00:11:29.460]When decisions are made one place,
[00:11:31.290]those decisions ripple across.
[00:11:33.240]And so there's a lot of ways to build a game around this.
[00:11:37.170]And really what we were focusing on was
[00:11:40.140]what decisions can the player make?
[00:11:43.470]How can we support those decisions with scientific models?
[00:11:47.460]And then what does that look like in the game?
[00:11:50.250]So player makes a decision,
[00:11:51.630]they decide to put this much water on their crops,
[00:11:55.350]what model can we use to make sure that
[00:11:58.080]when we put that input in
[00:11:59.580]and consider all the other factors in that environment
[00:12:02.430]that is representing the science correctly?
[00:12:05.070]'Cause the last thing we wanna do
[00:12:06.210]is create a game that tells the wrong story
[00:12:08.850]and all of a sudden people are learning a lot
[00:12:10.410]about misinformation and learning exactly
[00:12:13.620]what we don't want them to learn.
[00:12:14.850]So everything we do is based on scientific models and then
[00:12:18.450]how does that play out in the game and make it something
[00:12:21.120]where the user, the player,
[00:12:22.740]is trying to make the better decisions
[00:12:24.870]so that they can get the outcomes that they want.
[00:12:29.280]So this takes a lot of people
[00:12:31.350]and this is probably not an exhaustive list I'm guessing.
[00:12:34.320]I always get nervous showing this slide
[00:12:35.940]because there's so many other people,
[00:12:38.490]point out Dan's on the slide.
[00:12:39.990]So you were part of those early conversations
[00:12:44.460]and really trying to talk with all of these
[00:12:47.220]content specialists about what really is the story,
[00:12:50.790]What can we have the gamer do that's gonna be interesting
[00:12:56.310]but also meet the objectives of what we want them to learn
[00:12:59.580]about this complex system and what decisions they can be
[00:13:02.280]making to positively impact that system
[00:13:07.020]as well as a whole big team of students.
[00:13:11.130]And that's really the fun part for us.
[00:13:13.380]Well there's lots of fun parts.
[00:13:14.280]One of the fun parts is that we get to work
[00:13:16.230]with all of these students from across campus.
[00:13:18.930]You can see some of these students are in our department,
[00:13:21.540]Biological Systems Engineering,
[00:13:23.250]a lot are in computer science,
[00:13:25.980]few are graphic designer students.
[00:13:28.230]And really getting to teach those students from city campus
[00:13:33.360]a lot of agriculture,
[00:13:35.460]which is kind of a fun little bonus
[00:13:37.920]of working on projects like this.
[00:13:40.080]Most of these students didn't grow up
[00:13:41.850]on a farm in the country, helping them understand
[00:13:46.680]what a beef cow should look like versus a dairy cow,
[00:13:51.090]how fast a tractor should go, that was a fun one.
[00:13:53.700]They thought the tractor should be this like,
[00:13:55.290]full wine through the field.
[00:13:56.310]I'm like, 'Well let's slow this down just a little bit.'
[00:13:59.790]People are gonna know that's not real,
[00:14:02.340]but they were really checking.
[00:14:04.440]So getting to work with those students
[00:14:05.490]has really been a lot of fun.
[00:14:07.710]And then of course we have our whole education team
[00:14:10.830]because it's one thing to design a game
[00:14:13.260]and make it playable and fun,
[00:14:15.780]but really to focus on those learning objectives.
[00:14:17.880]What in the game is allowing students
[00:14:20.910]to practice these decision making actions,
[00:14:24.090]feedback responses that we really want them
[00:14:27.330]to be experiencing.
[00:14:28.890]So this is a slide that shows
[00:14:31.320]one of the screenshots from Apocalypse.
[00:14:34.440]So Apocalypse was the first game we built.
[00:14:38.040]This is an irrigation scenario
[00:14:40.410]where students get to go through the month.
[00:14:42.270]We have climate data that's historical.
[00:14:45.150]And so it's actual data that shows how much rain
[00:14:48.060]and temperatures and things like that for each day.
[00:14:50.070]And then they get to choose which days they irrigate
[00:14:52.170]and which days they don't and how much and things like that.
[00:14:56.580]So really this kind of guides you through like
[00:15:00.090]what does a player experience look like?
[00:15:02.310]They start off the game,
[00:15:03.600]there's like an opening splash screen.
[00:15:05.615]They get to engage with an NPC gamers, what's an NPC?
[00:15:11.040]Non playable character, exactly.
[00:15:13.260]So it's just this and they always like do this
[00:15:16.440]like weird like movement thing.
[00:15:18.090]It's really creepy and I don't know why
[00:15:19.860]it's like expected that they will do that.
[00:15:22.950]But the non playable characters are things in the game
[00:15:27.600]to help students understand career paths.
[00:15:30.330]So and to gain some of that technical knowledge.
[00:15:33.390]So they'll go talk to the non playable characters,
[00:15:36.060]they'll ask some questions, get some knowledge,
[00:15:39.450]get some idea of what their goal is for the game.
[00:15:43.680]Then they go make all their irrigation decisions
[00:15:45.480]throughout the year.
[00:15:46.313]They go through month by month harvest
[00:15:48.780]and then they get a whole new year to start.
[00:15:50.760]And so the irrigation scenario is fun.
[00:15:57.180]But this was definitely our first game we developed
[00:15:59.340]and it went through a long, long process.
[00:16:02.190]Several, several years to develop.
[00:16:04.710]Originally it was 3D because we thought
[00:16:07.440]that would be more engaging to students.
[00:16:09.597]And so we thought let's make a 3D game
[00:16:11.310]where you have to like walk around in the field
[00:16:13.590]and go like drive there with your truck
[00:16:15.600]and then you have to walk out to the center of pivot
[00:16:17.550]and you have to do all these things.
[00:16:19.320]And what we realized was just too clunky.
[00:16:22.080]It was not super playable.
[00:16:24.390]Teachers were struggling if they didn't have bandwidth,
[00:16:27.450]if they didn't have the right computers,
[00:16:29.760]it didn't work on an iPad, it didn't work on a Chromebook
[00:16:31.973]and it was just all this drama.
[00:16:34.080]And so Apocalypse was a great place for us to learn though.
[00:16:38.250]And we used a lot of that information
[00:16:40.920]to build better games like Prairie Protector.
[00:16:44.910]And a lot of it came down to this idea.
[00:16:47.010]Did anybody heard of Chocolate Covered Broccoli before,
[00:16:49.860]but anybody eat chocolate covered broccoli?
[00:16:52.380]Yeah, I don't think so.
[00:16:53.213]Well maybe, yeah,
[00:16:54.510]well remember chocolate cover bacon was a big thing
[00:16:57.390]and like that was just gross, I tried that.
[00:17:00.150]It was not good.
[00:17:02.160]Students are smart.
[00:17:04.200]Y'all know that and if you try to give them a game,
[00:17:08.190]but it's really just like homework wrapped
[00:17:10.530]in the coding of a game.
[00:17:12.210]They figure that out really quick
[00:17:13.590]and it takes away all the fun.
[00:17:16.097]And when we were originally making Apocalypse,
[00:17:18.360]there was a lot of discussion about,
[00:17:19.410]do we need a quiz in there?
[00:17:20.910]Like do we need to make sure like students
[00:17:22.530]are like really learning this technical content
[00:17:25.260]and we're like, I don't think that's gonna fly.
[00:17:27.660]And even like what Apocalypse ended up being,
[00:17:32.700]it's really more of a simulator.
[00:17:35.100]Like it doesn't feel like a game
[00:17:36.660]and y'all can go play it just apocalypse.com
[00:17:40.830]and it's not super fun.
[00:17:43.428]There's some kids that love playing it and that's awesome,
[00:17:46.470]but it's not something I would ever be like,
[00:17:48.900]I just wanna go check it out
[00:17:49.890]and go play some Apocalypse today.
[00:17:52.950]So we learned a lot from this experience,
[00:17:54.780]which leads to Prairie Protector
[00:17:57.270]and this is part of the Prairie project.
[00:18:01.290]So I don't know if y'all talked to Derek very often,
[00:18:03.840]but he's all about the Prairie Project.
[00:18:05.430]And this is a large USDA funded project
[00:18:08.610]with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M,
[00:18:11.460]really looking at range lands
[00:18:12.780]and how to better manage them in the areas
[00:18:14.970]of Prairie herbivory and multi-species grazing.
[00:18:18.480]So one of the bonuses of my job
[00:18:20.160]is I get to learn all these technical content areas
[00:18:22.530]that I never really expected to know.
[00:18:26.160]So the Prairie Project was kind of rolling.
[00:18:31.380]They were putting together a proposal
[00:18:33.300]and Jack contacted me and said,
[00:18:35.580]'Hey, we're doing this project,
[00:18:37.140]I'm pretty sure it's gonna get funded because all the people
[00:18:39.270]that are on it are kind of like fundable people,
[00:18:42.540]but we need somebody to help
[00:18:43.500]with the education side at Nebraska.
[00:18:45.030]It's like, do you wanna do it?'
[00:18:45.900]I'm like, 'Well I could try,'
[00:18:47.910]I know nothing about Prairie herbivory
[00:18:50.010]and multi-species grazing,
[00:18:51.990]but that's what I get to do.
[00:18:53.490]And so we started doing some work on figuring out like,
[00:18:56.280]what is this story?
[00:18:57.750]And I'm guessing a lot of y'all already know this story,
[00:19:01.290]but this was our kind of deep dive into it.
[00:19:04.950]Lots of conversations with with Derek and with this team
[00:19:08.640]and people at Oklahoma and Texas trying to understand
[00:19:11.250]what is this problem?
[00:19:12.390]So this idea of the Green Glacier,
[00:19:14.430]there's this invasive species that's spreading across
[00:19:16.942]the grasslands and taking away what used to be grasses
[00:19:20.970]and wildflowers and now it's turning into trees.
[00:19:25.200]But there's good news.
[00:19:26.790]There's land management strategies,
[00:19:30.150]fire being one of them as well as other mechanical tools.
[00:19:34.080]But it's really complicated.
[00:19:35.370]It's not so easy just like go burn at all.
[00:19:37.620]Like you have to be smart about that.
[00:19:39.300]And there's limitations on cost and on time
[00:19:43.260]and on how many people you have available
[00:19:45.180]to make these choices and decisions.
[00:19:47.217]And so this was what we started off with.
[00:19:50.820]And so being the the systems thinkers that we are,
[00:19:54.150]we decided to make this model.
[00:19:55.890]And this isn't a tool called Loopy.
[00:19:57.960]I'll share a little bit more about Loopy later,
[00:20:00.270]but Loopy is just a way to think about how system nodes
[00:20:05.370]impact each other and so we're like,
[00:20:06.780]'Okay, grassland conservation, if we increase that,
[00:20:09.660]why is that important?'
[00:20:11.490]So we're like, 'Well it has all these positive impacts,
[00:20:14.730]air gets better, water gets better,
[00:20:17.010]tourism gets better, erosion,
[00:20:18.690]all these things are getting better.
[00:20:19.950]So it's important,
[00:20:22.050]but how are we gonna make this exciting for like
[00:20:24.840]your just random middle school, high school student?
[00:20:29.100]they probably care about these things at some level,
[00:20:31.110]but it's not like I wanna go play a game about air quality.'
[00:20:36.030]And so we had to really think about what that could be.
[00:20:39.450]So thankfully Erin Ingram,
[00:20:41.880]who works really closely with me in science literacy
[00:20:44.220]and global team stumbled upon this blog
[00:20:47.640]by Chris Heltzer with Nature Conservancy and we're like,
[00:20:53.670]'He's comparing this to a game.'
[00:20:55.272]We're like, 'This is awesome.'
[00:20:56.460]So he says,
[00:20:57.630]'We need a cheat code for dealing with invasive species
[00:21:01.140]in the prairies.
[00:21:02.400]Kind of like the Atari game, Missile Command.
[00:21:05.130]Who's played Missile Command?
[00:21:07.530]Oh, just one.
[00:21:08.550]I got these nice reminiscent pictures of Missile Command.
[00:21:13.200]So the premise of Missile Command if you have not played it
[00:21:16.890]is that these scary red lines that are missiles
[00:21:20.130]are coming down at you and you have to take them out
[00:21:22.560]before they take you out
[00:21:24.030]and they just keep coming faster and faster
[00:21:26.340]and faster and faster.
[00:21:27.600]And there's like, do you ever win Missile Command?
[00:21:32.640]Did any, did you win any?
[00:21:35.141]Okay, all right.
[00:21:36.240]So just for online,
[00:21:37.950]nobody in this room beat Missile Command.
[00:21:41.820]And that's kind of the the idea.
[00:21:43.590]It's just one of those games
[00:21:44.610]where you play as long as you can until it takes you out.
[00:21:47.310]And Chris was comparing invasive species to Missile Command.
[00:21:51.420]They just keep coming faster and faster
[00:21:53.820]and you just keep doing what you can to keep up with it,
[00:21:56.280]but you really never win.
[00:21:57.840]Of course with an educational game,
[00:21:59.520]we had to have some kind of winning point,
[00:22:00.840]otherwise it's just kind of a story of like,
[00:22:02.040]'There's no hope, just give up.'
[00:22:04.800]So you can win Prairie Protector.
[00:22:07.470]But this was our idea.
[00:22:08.670]And so we're like, 'Well we made apocalypse,
[00:22:11.850]we learned a lot from that.
[00:22:13.380]We still had a good core of the development team
[00:22:17.100]left from Apocalypse.
[00:22:19.470]Why not try it?'
[00:22:20.303]And so we came up with Prairie Protector,
[00:22:23.730]which you can play prairieprotector.com.
[00:22:27.330]Anybody played it?
[00:22:30.092]Yeah, you kind of had to play it.
[00:22:32.550]You played many versions of it, I bet.
[00:22:35.910]So Prairie Protector is this idea
[00:22:39.420]that you have a plot of land and there's trees on it
[00:22:44.340]and you have these different treatment options
[00:22:46.560]that you can use to mitigate
[00:22:49.920]the spread of eastern red-cedar on your land.
[00:22:52.860]So there's little fire, big fire,
[00:22:54.990]and then some mechanical tools.
[00:22:56.130]You can go out with an ax,
[00:22:57.900]you can use your chainsaw and in certain levels
[00:23:00.390]there's a bulldozer option.
[00:23:03.180]And then when you click on different squares,
[00:23:05.910]it'll show you what stage the trees are at or the prairie,
[00:23:11.010]the years to transition and then who it's owned by,
[00:23:14.760]which doesn't make much sense right here,
[00:23:16.650]but there is a multiplayer version.
[00:23:19.380]And then you have coins that you can use
[00:23:23.190]and how much of the prairie is remaining
[00:23:25.710]at that point in the game.
[00:23:27.150]So you decide what to do for this year with your 16 coins,
[00:23:30.660]you push next turn, it goes to the next year
[00:23:33.330]and you get to restore your prairie back to grasslands.
[00:23:37.770]So like I promise there's also a multiplayer version
[00:23:41.970]because one of the things that we really felt was important
[00:23:44.640]with something like Prairie Protector is that
[00:23:47.940]it matters what decisions you make,
[00:23:49.470]but it also really matters what your neighbors
[00:23:51.870]are doing with their land.
[00:23:53.190]And if they have trees that they're not taken care of,
[00:23:56.160]I mean they don't know these borders exist,
[00:23:57.690]they're just gonna go straight over
[00:23:59.370]and infiltrate your land.
[00:24:00.840]And so it's an opportunity for students to really understand
[00:24:04.500]that concept of how decisions made individually
[00:24:10.440]And here you can see the bulldozer shows up.
[00:24:14.160]So with this game at the end when you won,
[00:24:19.050]you get to see kind of an overview of the player breakdown.
[00:24:22.440]So what decisions you made, how much money you spent,
[00:24:26.880]how your prairie was responding during that time,
[00:24:30.060]what was the minimum amount of prairie that was there?
[00:24:32.610]And then I think it's interesting like what decisions
[00:24:35.340]different players are making.
[00:24:36.810]Are they doing lots of fires?
[00:24:38.070]This player, Terra did like all chainsaw,
[00:24:41.280]like that was kind of her focus I guess.
[00:24:44.820]And really it's up to you
[00:24:46.920]what decisions you wanna make on that land.
[00:24:49.050]When you hover over the different tools,
[00:24:51.300]it'll show their effectiveness and what it does,
[00:24:54.750]what types of trees it's able to be used on,
[00:24:58.620]things like that.
[00:25:01.050]So what did we do to support this though?
[00:25:05.310]It's one thing to play a game,
[00:25:07.350]but really to provide opportunities for students
[00:25:09.540]to do some reflection and to think about
[00:25:12.060]what are these complex systems
[00:25:13.770]that they're trying to manipulate
[00:25:15.810]with these different tools.
[00:25:17.820]So simple ideas.
[00:25:19.410]As vegetation goes up, cattle production can go up,
[00:25:22.410]but as a cattle production goes up, vegetation goes down.
[00:25:25.860]So kind of this reinforcing feedback loop
[00:25:29.220]where those different aspects of the system
[00:25:31.290]are working against each other
[00:25:34.020]in ways and supporting each other.
[00:25:35.880]And then kind of larger thinking like okay,
[00:25:37.860]if you're doing prescribed fire,
[00:25:39.240]it's taking down Eastern red cedar,
[00:25:40.650]which makes more grassland,
[00:25:41.970]but then the range land acres and there's money
[00:25:44.340]and it's all these different aspects going around
[00:25:46.674]as part of that larger broader system.
[00:25:51.090]So again, this is all built in Loopy,
[00:25:54.000]which Loopy is a really fun tool.
[00:25:56.460]It's free, it's open source
[00:25:58.740]created by Nicky Case, who is just a super creative person.
[00:26:03.450]Nicky had a blog in the path
[00:26:05.970]that they're taking a break from right now,
[00:26:07.230]but read their thoughts, they're amazing.
[00:26:10.410]Because it's open source
[00:26:11.760]and because we have a development team,
[00:26:13.620]we did our own version of Loopy
[00:26:16.050]that added in a couple of extra thousand and whistles
[00:26:18.840]that we thought were helpful.
[00:26:19.830]So things like graphing was not originally part of Loopy,
[00:26:23.880]but we thought wouldn't it be great
[00:26:25.230]if students could see over time
[00:26:26.880]how these different nodes are going up and down
[00:26:29.130]and maybe see all those are in relationship with each other.
[00:26:32.340]So you can check that out at the
[00:26:34.880]go.unl link on the top.
[00:26:37.170]And all of these resources are on Growable.
[00:26:40.590]So if you wanna go check 'em later, go to Growable.
[00:26:44.310]That's where everything is.
[00:26:45.480]I just keep like directing things to Growable at this point.
[00:26:47.850]That's kind of like half my job, but Growable is what we do.
[00:26:52.560]All right. So designing a game for us is fun,
[00:26:57.510]but we need to keep remembering who we're designing it for.
[00:27:01.710]So we're designing it for the students.
[00:27:03.990]We're also designing it for the teachers.
[00:27:06.510]If it's something that a teacher doesn't wanna use,
[00:27:10.110]it's not gonna get used.
[00:27:11.700]Even if the students think it's amazing
[00:27:13.320]and the most fun thing in the world, if it's clunky,
[00:27:16.410]if it's too much set up time, if it's all of those things,
[00:27:19.830]like teachers aren't gonna use it.
[00:27:21.630]And so we've done trainings with teachers
[00:27:23.460]out at raising Nebraska,
[00:27:24.780]really helping them to understand
[00:27:26.070]what this tool can be used for
[00:27:28.170]and providing them all the supporting resources
[00:27:30.180]with Loopy and reflections and things like that.
[00:27:33.840]But really it's back to these students
[00:27:35.790]and trying to think, what is that student experience like?
[00:27:40.290]We used to be young students like that.
[00:27:42.990]But sometimes it's hard to remember
[00:27:44.430]and students today are a little bit different
[00:27:45.990]than what I was like when I was 14, 16 years old.
[00:27:50.220]So we do a lot of focus groups and trying to figure out
[00:27:53.250]what is this gameplay experience like
[00:27:55.110]and what are they actually learning?
[00:27:57.090]So this was our first data collection.
[00:28:00.000]Students had played it prior to this,
[00:28:01.560]but we hadn't collected really focused meaningful data.
[00:28:05.190]And so we had eight students in seventh grade
[00:28:08.790]play the game in their classroom.
[00:28:10.680]They had all of the opportunities to play different levels
[00:28:14.220]and a lot of different supporting activities
[00:28:16.740]from their teacher.
[00:28:18.360]And then we did a 30 minute focus group.
[00:28:21.900]this was in the middle of one of the covid spikes.
[00:28:24.270]And so we weren't able to go there in person,
[00:28:25.803]we did it on Zoom.
[00:28:27.750]Talking with seventh graders on Zoom is all kinds of fun.
[00:28:31.440]And it was rough.
[00:28:35.278]This was a kind of a dipping our toe
[00:28:37.500]into kind of understanding what students were learning
[00:28:40.740]from this experience.
[00:28:43.650]So kind of some general comments from those students.
[00:28:47.477]They had strategies that were evolving. That's awesome.
[00:28:50.820]They're starting to learn that we gotta take care
[00:28:52.770]of the young trees first, Worry about the older ones later
[00:28:56.580]because the older ones don't transition as fast.
[00:28:59.220]And so they were learning that
[00:29:01.680]they knew to start on the perimeter and work their way in.
[00:29:04.590]So they're kind of like capturing the the edges,
[00:29:08.910]which is exactly what Drak would tell me.
[00:29:10.740]So like, "Yes,
[00:29:11.850]they're learning what we're supposed to be doing,
[00:29:15.180]But they also were developing a lot of empathy
[00:29:16.980]for the land managers.
[00:29:18.870]They thought it was stressful for the land manager.
[00:29:22.500]It was hard just kind of like really grown up
[00:29:25.770]thought like if tons of farms go out
[00:29:27.270]because the cedar trees, it could hurt the economy.
[00:29:29.647]"What seventh grader is thinking about the economy?"
[00:29:32.310]But of course this was in an arg kind of slanted classroom.
[00:29:36.150]So maybe there's a little bit of that going on.
[00:29:38.718]But really kind of in general,
[00:29:42.330]this was good news for us.
[00:29:44.790]It looks like they're learning what we want them to learn.
[00:29:47.220]They're not like saying it's awful.
[00:29:49.680]So we keep going.
[00:29:51.660]So our second attempt at capturing data,
[00:29:56.130]this one went a lot better 'cause we were in person,
[00:29:58.920]which was huge.
[00:30:01.260]This is with high school students.
[00:30:02.850]So at high school students out in the middle of state,
[00:30:05.094]they had a whole class for the week
[00:30:08.340]where they were learning about Prairie Protector,
[00:30:11.370]They were in agr ed classes.
[00:30:13.770]And then we did 50 minute focus groups in person,
[00:30:18.330]and got to hear all about what it's like
[00:30:19.610]to be high school student right now in Nebraska.
[00:30:23.070]So this was the spring,
[00:30:24.540]I think this was like April.
[00:30:27.510]Alright, so what did they tell us?
[00:30:29.790]So this idea of gaining awareness,
[00:30:33.300]They're seeing red cedar everywhere now.
[00:30:35.670]And I'm like, "I see red cedar everywhere now
[00:30:38.160]'cause that has been a big focus of my life for a while.
[00:30:40.800]But just playing this game for a week
[00:30:42.540]now they're like driving around like,
[00:30:43.567]"Hey, I saw out by Grand island there with a lot of patches,
[00:30:47.340]there's a lot of trees out there,
[00:30:48.810]and they're starting to realize that's maybe the problem.
[00:30:54.990]They're realizing that controlled burning
[00:30:57.270]is maybe a good thing and it's a good tool to use
[00:30:59.490]to get rid of the trees.
[00:31:01.410]And it also doesn't just like get rid of them,
[00:31:03.810]it prevents them for a little bit.
[00:31:05.490]So that's kind of cool to see.
[00:31:11.329]Interesting 'cause it's like,
[00:31:12.397]"Oh this game playing is really useful."
[00:31:15.210]So like I think like other people should learn this.
[00:31:18.060]But also that the wind blocks and stuff, they plant trees.
[00:31:22.920]So this person has some kind of farming
[00:31:26.820]And they know they plant wind blocks
[00:31:28.650]but they don't put cedars.
[00:31:30.210]They wanna make sure we knew that they don't put any cedars
[00:31:32.160]but they didn't really know like why?
[00:31:33.630]Like why do we not put cedar trees?
[00:31:35.670]Like we're planting some trees but not cedar trees.
[00:31:39.124]So this awareness kind of generally of the situation
[00:31:43.110]is showing up.
[00:31:45.510]Building empathy is a big one.
[00:31:47.332]So they're starting to think about
[00:31:49.530]what is it like to be a land manager
[00:31:52.560]making these big decisions
[00:31:54.060]and trying to take care of your land.
[00:31:58.976]And you have to do it like every single year.
[00:32:02.700]Like that just seemed like be really repetitive,
[00:32:05.641]probably annoying to take care of these trees.
[00:32:11.415]We're feeling bad and how the land might be ruined.
[00:32:17.430]If they don't take care of it every year,
[00:32:21.030]it might be ruined.
[00:32:21.870]They gotta watch it, keep track of it.
[00:32:30.150]Really, really hard thing to do. (laughs)
[00:32:33.240]So really a lot of empathy for the land donors,
[00:32:39.300]little bit less and kind of like
[00:32:42.990]neighbor to neighbor impacts on that empathy.
[00:32:45.570]Like if my neighbor is doing something
[00:32:47.266]that doesn't benefit me
[00:32:49.320]or if I'm doing something that doesn't benefit my neighbor,
[00:32:51.660]not seeing a whole lot of that yet,
[00:32:54.420]but again, this was just a short focus group
[00:32:57.750]with some high school students.
[00:33:01.590]And then this is probably one of the interesting things
[00:33:04.290]that we're just starting to figure out
[00:33:06.630]because we didn't have specific questions about this
[00:33:11.340]and I think the students were bringing this up
[00:33:14.410]and we're like, "Oh yeah, that is kind of a misconception
[00:33:16.710]that a lot of folks have is that
[00:33:18.990]we live in the land of Harper Day,
[00:33:20.790]there's so many messages about plant a billion trees,
[00:33:23.340]we'll save the world.
[00:33:25.380]And they're like,
[00:33:26.467]"Okay, so you're telling me like
[00:33:27.630]we gotta get rid of the trees now?"
[00:33:28.773]Like that seems like totally counterintuitive.
[00:33:30.877]"Don't we want trees?"
[00:33:34.110]And it's confusing.
[00:33:35.760]So like you wanna grow more trees
[00:33:37.380]but then you wanna burn down the trees
[00:33:40.950]so it makes big giggle every time.
[00:33:42.457]"I'm was like, oh we need more trees,
[00:33:44.850]get more air, like fix stuff.
[00:33:46.890]And I was like,
[00:33:47.723]"Oh but we kind of should just cut 'em all down.
[00:33:49.710]Just no more air for us actually. (laughs)
[00:33:54.888]So in the focus group we have a list of questions
[00:33:59.040]that we are going to ask
[00:34:00.720]and then we have an opportunity to kind of dig deeper
[00:34:02.730]into some of these things.
[00:34:03.800]And so we were asking questions
[00:34:04.800]when these things were coming up like,
[00:34:06.877]"okay, so yeah trees capture carbon,
[00:34:10.217]and that was like across the board,
[00:34:11.940]all the students were like, "Yes this is true."
[00:34:14.400]But then we would ask like, do grasses do the same thing?
[00:34:18.210]And they're like, I don't think so.
[00:34:22.161]They're so small.
[00:34:23.610]So even if they do like,
[00:34:24.870]it's just very little amounts of carbon in the grasses.
[00:34:27.870]So we need to like do some convincing
[00:34:30.450]the grasses are a good thing.
[00:34:34.830]Yeah. So this idea of how the trees are native
[00:34:40.170]but they're invasive all at the same time
[00:34:43.302]was really confusing and thinking
[00:34:47.550]that's just really weird.
[00:34:48.720]Don't really understand what to do with that.
[00:34:53.730]And then kind of just the idea like
[00:34:54.757]"Well maybe we just need some trees
[00:34:59.520]because they produce oxygen,
[00:35:02.520]nothing else in the ecosystem is producing oxygen."
[00:35:05.010]That's pretty consistent messaging.
[00:35:06.960]And I even like, I looked at the teacher
[00:35:08.610]and I'm like, "Are you hearing this?" (laughs)
[00:35:09.690]Like they're telling me that it's just trees
[00:35:12.440]that have anything to do with oxygen.
[00:35:15.185]So maybe the benefits outweigh the damages.
[00:35:17.354]Maybe we should just let the trees all go.
[00:35:20.128]Is that true?
[00:35:21.600]Should we let the trees just run wild? (laughs)
[00:35:26.070]But yeah, maybe. I mean it's all about the oxygen.
[00:35:29.520]I mean if you don't want people to have air,
[00:35:31.890]I mean that's kind of where they're coming down to.
[00:35:35.991]So that's what we're learning from the students
[00:35:38.850]that are playing our games.
[00:35:40.080]They're developing some empathy,
[00:35:42.000]they're getting a lot of awareness,
[00:35:43.230]they're seeing cedar trees everywhere now,
[00:35:45.090]which is kind of fun.
[00:35:47.280]So that awareness is definitely there,
[00:35:49.410]but they're also really confused about that system.
[00:35:52.980]And what does it mean to get rid of trees
[00:35:55.680]when trees are supposed to be like the good guys?
[00:35:58.620]And what is the role of all these other species
[00:36:05.167]that are in that mix?
[00:36:06.829]So when we're talking with the students,
[00:36:09.801]I mean we have hours of these transcripts.
[00:36:12.000]I could have put up all sorts of stuff,
[00:36:13.620]but one of the things that they were concerned about
[00:36:15.000]is the animals.
[00:36:16.290]'Cause animals live in trees
[00:36:19.050]and we're trying to like help them understand like,
[00:36:20.677]"well don't you think maybe some animals live in grasslands?
[00:36:23.670]And when the trees come they've lose their homes."
[00:36:26.160]But it's just kind of this stereotypical idea
[00:36:28.070]of like the owl and the squirrel sitting in the tree
[00:36:30.840]and that's their home.
[00:36:32.340]And so that's what we're trying to do
[00:36:34.920]with this next round of Prairie Protectors.
[00:36:37.860]Really kind of dig into that animal biodiversity aspect,
[00:36:41.040]and think about what might help
[00:36:43.230]as additions to the game
[00:36:45.120]to do some of those different aspects.
[00:36:48.060]So coming soon,
[00:36:50.010]we always have new projects that we're trying to do.
[00:36:52.470]So like I mentioned Prairie Protector version 2.0
[00:36:55.480]on something that we're already dreaming about
[00:36:57.690]and trying to figure out what that might be.
[00:36:59.841]BECC's World is really early in development,
[00:37:04.440]kind of going back to the Apocalypse idea,
[00:37:07.440]but really more of a focus on the supply chain.
[00:37:11.280]So thinking back to this came up again during the pandemic
[00:37:14.550]where we had some different funders coming to us saying,
[00:37:16.327]"Okay, people don't understand supply chain."
[00:37:20.520]Like way back early
[00:37:21.510]when like toilet paper was like impossible to find.
[00:37:24.180]They don't understand that.
[00:37:25.590]They don't understand why sometimes meet prices
[00:37:27.480]go up and down or why different things like that happen.
[00:37:30.120]How can we help them understand that
[00:37:31.640]by thinking about that complex system in a game.
[00:37:35.700]And so that's what we're attempting to do with BECC's world.
[00:37:39.300]BECCS's world is not the final name.
[00:37:40.800]So if you have any ideas for what's a great name
[00:37:42.570]for a supply chain game,
[00:37:44.220]we're really struggling with that name right now.
[00:37:47.940]Yeah. So thinking lots of different groups and funders
[00:37:51.450]that help us do all this fun work
[00:37:53.400]'cause it really is enjoyable.
[00:37:55.410]But I'd be happy to answer any questions
[00:37:57.990]that you all might have.
[00:37:58.823]For any of you online,
[00:38:00.600]you can feel free to submit your question,
[00:38:02.940]see the chat or you can raise your hand and I'll unmute you
[00:38:07.350]or those of you in the room just speak up in the
[00:38:09.960]ceiling mic should pick you up.
[00:38:13.980]During the multiplayer aspect.
[00:38:15.336]Is it you had four screens going,
[00:38:17.928]Is there ever a time where you can have one screen
[00:38:20.400]that's not run by a player
[00:38:21.900]to see the impact of somebody not managing their land
[00:38:25.260]and having that push into the others
[00:38:27.270]and just the impact of them having to maintain land
[00:38:30.570]that is not somebody else's.
[00:38:31.710]Yep. We do not. That's a really good idea though.
[00:38:34.650]So the way the multiplayer set up right now
[00:38:37.080]is they're ai so they're not real players,
[00:38:40.500]but they all have a personality.
[00:38:42.450]And so some are good neighbors, some are bad neighbors,
[00:38:44.910]but the bad neighbors even still do some of that.
[00:38:47.670]Some are pyro phobic so they just won't use anything
[00:38:50.400]related to fire.
[00:38:51.900]But yeah, having something like that
[00:38:53.430]where they were just totally letting it all go,
[00:38:57.330]that would be really interesting.
[00:38:59.880]So (indistinct) regarding the universe,
[00:39:14.880]I ask questions whether the solutions that were mentioned
[00:39:19.680]were correct (indistinct)
[00:39:21.420]And so who's the (indistinct)
[00:39:29.110]the evaluation of these programs?
[00:39:32.011]Of the the game itself?
[00:39:36.202]What do you mean the--
[00:39:37.811]How is when you use these games
[00:39:41.040]to create some proposed solutions to a problem?
[00:39:45.865]Who does the evaluation?
[00:39:48.729]Got it. Yep, yep, yep, yep.
[00:39:50.160]So that's what we call on our content experts.
[00:39:52.800]And so for this Prairie Protector that was mostly Drak
[00:39:57.814]and Dan, Caleb was involved with that too.
[00:40:02.190]And there was somebody else too.
[00:40:05.160]Dylan? Yes, Dylan.
[00:40:06.780]So we had several iterations of the game
[00:40:09.660]and we'd show it to them and we'd say,
[00:40:12.157]"Okay, is this behaving the way you expect it to behave?"
[00:40:15.660]Based on all the modeling that we're doing
[00:40:18.060]in the background?
[00:40:19.283]There's a lot of numbers that are running a game like this
[00:40:23.310]that are determining where the trees are spreading,
[00:40:25.680]how fast they're growing,
[00:40:27.600]the impact of the different tools.
[00:40:28.800]All of that is playing a role kind of behind the game
[00:40:31.860]as it's functioning.
[00:40:33.180]And so we design a version and we show it to them,
[00:40:36.720]and they'd be like,
[00:40:37.553]"Okay, this is kind of capturing some of what we see
[00:40:40.530]in the real world, but maybe it's spreading too fast."
[00:40:45.000]And there were a couple iterations where it was just like
[00:40:46.950]impossible to do anything
[00:40:48.450]'cause it was just taken over the whole board.
[00:40:50.670]And so really trying to tweak that so it was somewhat close
[00:40:55.050]to what is actually seen in a real environment
[00:40:59.310]while also being playable.
[00:41:00.840]And so that was a balance,
[00:41:02.940]is that kind of get at your question?
[00:41:06.333]Okay. Awesome. Thank you.
[00:41:17.580]About oxygen, and we know that queries
[00:41:20.262]we produce a lot of oxygen.
[00:41:22.172]So could you create a model
[00:41:23.820]where the amount of oxygen
[00:41:25.890]in that's where (indistinct) represented
[00:41:29.010]because hypothetically (indistinct)
[00:41:32.880]potentially be a (indistinct) increase.
[00:41:35.730]And I think that would be a problem
[00:41:37.380]to help them understand that,
[00:41:39.137]and it wouldn't be something they would necessarily,
[00:41:43.260]they wouldn't mess with it,
[00:41:44.430]but it would be something they could see.
[00:41:47.880]And that's a big focus for us with 2.0.
[00:41:51.330]So if you wanna be involved with that, let me know.
[00:41:54.540]Because finding those models and how to calculate
[00:41:58.500]all those different factors,
[00:42:00.090]'cause we want it to be real,
[00:42:01.920]and so we wanna make sure that whatever we put into the game
[00:42:04.560]is actually what the latest science is saying
[00:42:07.170]is actually happening.
[00:42:08.952]But yeah, doing the carbon as well as,
[00:42:13.140]and carbon oxygen kind of levels as well as water.
[00:42:17.370]We've been talking some folks in SNR
[00:42:19.560]that are really interested in how much more water
[00:42:21.410]a tree is gonna stuck outta the ground
[00:42:23.610]than a whole bunch of grass.
[00:42:25.290]And so having both those aspects is definitely
[00:42:27.823]high on our list.
[00:42:32.213]Let's do it.
[00:42:33.293]You could also start talking about. (indistinct)
[00:42:48.053]Soil health added into it.
[00:42:50.322]Animals like Murray guards that help increase the grass.
[00:42:54.240]Proper, proper foraging.
[00:42:55.830]That would be a cool one. If you're gonna (indistinct)
[00:42:58.470]See the power of games, your wheels are all just turning.
[00:43:02.370]I love it.
[00:43:03.203]This is cozy gaming by the way.
[00:43:05.040]Good. I'm glad.
[00:43:05.873]That's hat I meant by cozy gaming
[00:43:06.831]is like Mundane super straightforward stuff.
[00:43:11.847]It's real life. (laughs)
[00:43:20.100]This is what it reminds me of.
[00:43:21.592]Good, good, good. (indistinct) We go right there.
[00:43:25.140]So after students (indistinct)
[00:43:40.495]All the basic things. (indistinct)
[00:43:45.885]To an extent.
[00:43:47.340]So we do have supporting resources on global,
[00:43:51.540]but we don't get super deep into
[00:43:55.470]the really complex sciences.
[00:43:56.850]We're more like thinking about systems thinking.
[00:44:00.150]But definitely there's space for that kind of really
[00:44:04.723]harder science content with photosynthesis
[00:44:07.020]and things like that. That would make a lot of sense
[00:44:08.686]for some of the older grade levels especially.
[00:44:15.703]No, not for this game.
[00:44:18.720]With your Apocalypse one is it just like
[00:44:21.814]you go through year by year and then you see
[00:44:24.720]the outcomes of it?
[00:44:26.190]Have you done any branch chain scenarios of them?
[00:44:28.740]Like going down a path of bad choices
[00:44:31.260]and then where that would leave them
[00:44:33.000]if they followed all of that?
[00:44:35.993]Yeah, Apocalypse is good. (all laughing)
[00:44:47.520]So Apocalypse has been used actually for simulation modeling
[00:44:50.850]because it's basically a better interface
[00:44:54.030]to deal with all these different models.
[00:44:56.370]And so they actually have done,
[00:44:58.290]they publish like there's been some things published
[00:45:01.020]based on that to really like extend it out.
[00:45:03.270]Like what are the limits in some of these different areas?
[00:45:06.810]So it's kind of cool in that like it's all built
[00:45:10.680]on real models,
[00:45:11.790]so deserts, things like that,
[00:45:13.170]that are just a little bit more user friendly.
[00:45:16.560]And so yeah, you can use it
[00:45:18.690]to take those kind of (indistinct)
[00:45:22.560]Yes you can.
[00:45:24.210]But it's a model and there's limits to those models
[00:45:28.950]and if you go outside those bounds,
[00:45:30.090]the model is no longer very useful.
[00:45:32.280]So to an extent. To an extent models. (laughs)
[00:45:42.150]About the empathy, you noted that
[00:45:48.030]empathy being able to see the perspective of the producer
[00:45:51.540]or the landowner.
[00:45:53.430]Could you tell us a little more about
[00:45:56.100]your (indistinct) to that variable
[00:45:59.010]and why and how it might be used?
[00:46:05.964]So, that's a good question.
[00:46:07.993]I think partially that grew out of just a general interest
[00:46:12.540]of the development team
[00:46:14.430]in more social aspects of decision making.
[00:46:17.030]So I think we're all aware that when you make decisions,
[00:46:20.029]even in something that feels as kind of static
[00:46:23.820]as as range land management,
[00:46:25.380]like there's a lot of people involved and their feelings
[00:46:28.470]and their behaviors really matter.
[00:46:30.900]And so wanting to help players develop kind of this feel
[00:46:37.140]for how there's a role for those emotional kind aspects
[00:46:41.287]in decision making,
[00:46:43.039]even though like it doesn't really matter
[00:46:47.100]in Prairie Protector,
[00:46:48.930]it matters that some of your neighbors
[00:46:50.820]have these different fears and things like that.
[00:46:54.660]But really wanting to help students realize that
[00:46:58.770]in this agricultural system,
[00:47:01.980]there's different players
[00:47:03.000]and they all have different personalities,
[00:47:04.710]and how they work together really matters
[00:47:06.330]and how they can translate that from maybe this game
[00:47:09.184]to what it looks like in in their everyday lives.
[00:47:12.390]And so trying to really tap into that aspect
[00:47:16.110]way back when we were talking about the habits
[00:47:18.270]of a systems thinker and really how
[00:47:21.810]to fully understand a system
[00:47:23.850]you have to be able to take different
[00:47:25.110]perspectives within the system
[00:47:26.997]and also within the players of system
[00:47:29.910]and really having that be a focus for our games.
[00:47:47.940]Is, and of course to the real world, (indistinct) conflict
[00:47:57.840]Are you working on that design or a model
[00:48:01.567]that will (indistinct) questions?
[00:48:06.330]That's a really good question.
[00:48:07.800]We haven't done anything like that.
[00:48:10.950]I think that'd be really useful though.
[00:48:12.840]You have ideas, love to hear some of your thoughts.
[00:48:18.630]Like mad about how they're doing something
[00:48:22.950]or like have them have to make
[00:48:23.940]different management decisions like, (indistinct)
[00:48:31.211]that's something that maybe a neighbor would. (indistinct)
[00:48:35.421]So you could have NPCs and have like a resolution track.
[00:48:40.230]Yep, yep. (indistinct)
[00:48:41.880]Yeah, I like that.
[00:48:43.590]And along with that is there,
[00:48:44.790]I know that one girl who used the chainsaw 40 or 80 times,
[00:48:50.460]is there any mechanism to like limit particular methods
[00:48:54.690]of eliminating that.
[00:48:56.730]We can. Yes.
[00:48:58.928]So when you play Prairie Protector you can either do
[00:49:03.570]like the more complex version
[00:49:06.570]where you get the neighbors and stuff,
[00:49:07.920]or there's all these different scenarios that you can play.
[00:49:10.440]One of them is a drought scenario and so when it's drought
[00:49:13.680]there's no fire allowed
[00:49:15.210]and so you have to use the mechanical tools.
[00:49:17.637]And so yeah, doing something like that
[00:49:19.500]would totally be feasible.
[00:49:21.480]I think that could be really cool.
[00:49:22.800]So I think, at least the two of you need to be on 2.0 team,
[00:49:26.140]so don't (laughs) We'll be in contact.
[00:49:31.350]You have to help us. (indistinct)
[00:49:45.660]two months into the job we were at something at the union
[00:49:49.764]and Frank and Greg were there too with me
[00:49:52.077]and I met you there and we talked about a game that--
[00:49:54.778]That's right. That was a long time ago.
[00:49:57.330]Yes. I didn't reach out. (indistinct)
[00:50:08.010]We can always review in eight months.(indistinct)
[00:50:18.810]What is the trade off between
[00:50:21.960]playability user experience
[00:50:23.970]and like the scientific accuracy of everything
[00:50:28.470]that's going on.
[00:50:29.760]Because as I'm guessing the most recent high school graduate
[00:50:34.650]and former child here, (all laughing)
[00:50:37.455]I always (indistinct)
[00:50:46.080]Sorts of games came up in high school class and whatnot
[00:50:49.080]just like, "Oh use this model, use this thing."
[00:50:51.210]It's just like, "Okay cool,
[00:50:53.700]I'm just gonna do this and be done with it,
[00:50:55.770]because that's not really it.
[00:50:58.770]It's always "Okay, I know what they're giving here."
[00:51:02.520]I know what they're doing.
[00:51:03.900]And so what is that?
[00:51:07.050]How much of a balance is focused on like making it enjoyable
[00:51:11.100]or potentially even like label outside of the classroom,
[00:51:15.690]versus like I wanna have the reason
[00:51:21.797]to play it outside the classroom,
[00:51:25.012]I wanna know what that, how much leeway there is in there
[00:51:30.961]of that whole kind experience.
[00:51:33.270]If this game is playable
[00:51:36.240]outside of like the classroom essentially.
[00:51:39.120]It is playable. I mean, (indistinct) yes,
[00:51:46.260]I mean, so it's just prairieprojector.com.
[00:51:48.720]I've been pushing it out.
[00:51:49.950]The team's been pushing it out in social media and things
[00:51:54.360]And we do have surprisingly number,
[00:51:56.880]like lots of people are playing it,
[00:51:58.440]which is really bizarre to me because
[00:52:01.835]I think it's fun but like random person.
[00:52:04.136]But like this summer I was doing an event
[00:52:06.420]with middle school, high school students on campus.
[00:52:09.472]I'm like, I was talking about what it's like
[00:52:11.070]to develop a game.
[00:52:12.300]So I'm like, "Hey, has anybody played Prairie Protector?"
[00:52:14.160]And like three hands went up. I'm like
[00:52:15.607]"Okay, so random students around town
[00:52:18.330]are playing Prairie Protector. That's awesome.
[00:52:19.950]Like we don't have any teachers that I'm aware of in Lincoln
[00:52:22.440]that are doing this.
[00:52:24.917]So that's kind of cool.
[00:52:26.033]But the balance that you're talking about is really hard,
[00:52:31.711]and I think that's something that,
[00:52:34.170]like I'd mentioned with Apocalypse
[00:52:36.060]we had a crash course in like why it's important.
[00:52:39.600]'Cause Apocalypse is not fun.
[00:52:42.720]I don't, I mean it's kind of cool to look at.
[00:52:44.340]It's not that fun.
[00:52:45.900]Prairie Protector has some fun to it
[00:52:48.900]and a lot of that came from graphics
[00:52:52.650]trying to have a little bit more of a storyline.
[00:52:54.660]Although that's something the focus groups are telling us
[00:52:56.820]we need a better storyline
[00:52:57.870]'cause it's there but it's not as developed as it could be.
[00:53:03.240]There's a way to win with Apocalypse,
[00:53:06.330]you get to the end and you have a yield.
[00:53:09.420]Great. And unless you know what a yield should be,
[00:53:13.680]nobody has a clue if that's a good yield
[00:53:15.390]or a bad yield or what.
[00:53:17.430]With Prairie Protector, at some point you finish
[00:53:19.800]and it gives you stars and things like that.
[00:53:23.533]I think the fun aspect is tricky.
[00:53:29.610]And so we spend a lot of time in the development team
[00:53:32.160]trying to think about what are the decisions
[00:53:33.990]that the player makes,
[00:53:37.170]and what do we take out of their control?
[00:53:39.120]So things like money, in Prairie Protector,
[00:53:42.000]there's these nebulous coins and they mean almost nothing.
[00:53:46.050]And that was a lot of discussion.
[00:53:48.242]I don't know if you were super involved with that,
[00:53:50.310]but trying to think like in ideal world we'd love,
[00:53:53.670]if you have more Prairie, you have more grassland,
[00:53:57.360]you can handle more cattle, you get more money.
[00:54:00.840]So like the more grassland you have available,
[00:54:03.210]your dollars go up and so you have more money
[00:54:05.070]to take care of the rest of your land.
[00:54:06.990]But in practice that was impossible
[00:54:09.263]because as soon as you ran out of too much space,
[00:54:12.030]you were just like stuck.
[00:54:13.290]'Cause then you had no Prairie left, you had no grass,
[00:54:16.110]you had no cattle,
[00:54:16.950]you couldn't afford to do anything to your land
[00:54:20.122]at that point.
[00:54:20.955]So trying to make it slayable was really a big part of that.
[00:54:26.430]And I think having the coins, I mean that's one example.
[00:54:31.800]There was probably about a dozen of those discussions
[00:54:34.306]that happened when we were designing the game.
[00:54:36.600]And even the coins aren't quite the perfect solution.
[00:54:39.120]Students don't like 'em and they don't like,
[00:54:41.550]they can't bank them.
[00:54:43.980]They just magically appear every time you play.
[00:54:50.359]Yes, it depends which level you're playing.
[00:54:53.880]So there are some levels where it's...
[00:54:55.260]Are you just doing the tutorial?
[00:54:57.825]I probably did the, I did the demo spread.
[00:55:00.690]Yeah, spread demo.
[00:55:01.530]You don't get any coins
[00:55:02.460]because it's just showing you how the tree spread,
[00:55:05.670]the spread demo.
[00:55:06.750]So, but it's impressive that you're able
[00:55:08.490]to play on your phone.
[00:55:10.770]It is like you can play it on your phone.
[00:55:13.943]It is cranky and I don't suggest, play it on your laptop.
[00:55:17.790]It's way better experience
[00:55:19.440]but it is somewhat functional on a phone. (laughs)
[00:55:25.201]All right. Well thank you again.
[00:55:28.427]And thank you all for attending.
[00:55:30.060]See you next week. Hopefully.
Log in to post comments