Serious game to introduce young people to circularity
Nowadays, Flanders invests a lot in communicating the circular economy philosophy. These initiatives are mainly aimed at civil society, entrepreneurs, students from higher education or university... At the start of this project, however, there was no offer aimed at a younger target group, namely young people from secondary education.
To respond to this, POM West-Flanders started the project The Next Generation is Circular together with Cobot, the sector training fund of the textile industry, and PlastIQ, the sector training fund of the plastics industry. Our mission: to convey the basic principles of the circular economy to young people.
We have focused on the plastics and textile sectors, because they have enormous potential to grow within the circular economy. Both sectors have to deal with a shortage of labour and a negative image (think, for example, of the huge plastic waste problem), but at the same time they have the ambition to become more sustainable, by innovating in new technologies, by investing in recycling, etc.
With this project, we want to introduce young people to the circular economy, show them the sustainable and innovative developments that are taking place in these sectors and encourage them to make the career and training choices that are linked to them. In order to realise these objectives and get our message across in an interactive, target group-oriented way, we opted for a game methodology and developed a serious game: Circonopoly.
We developed a simulation game, Circonopoly, which introduces young people to circular economy in an interactive and targeted way. It is available free of charge online, together with an instruction video and additional teaching material for teachers.
With this game, we want to introduce a new target group to circularity, namely young people in secondary education, because most existing initiatives are primarily aimed at civil society, entrepreneurs, college or university students, etc.
Teachers who prefer to leave the guidance to someone else can visit the Activity Centre of the Circular Materials Centre, a knowledge centre for circular new materials in Kortrijk. Other workshops are also offered there.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
The game is an interactive way to give a lot of information about the principles of circular economy. We did establish that a good discussion before and after the game is important to be able to deepen the lessons learned. Just playing the game is too quick and only an introduction to this theme.
Co-creation was a very important aspect of this project. The game was shaped and adapted thanks to good cooperation with different class groups and their feedback. This way, we were able to evolve into a strong game concept with a focus on both the competitive and the educational.
We definitely need to put enough effort into dissemination. The project is only successful if the game is also picked up and received positively by teachers and pupils. It is therefore very important to pay sufficient attention to the launch and further promotion of Circonopoly.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
We are currently looking for long-term partnerships. There are talks with MOS West-Flanders for the organisation of a MOS day in the autumn of 2021 in the Circular Materials Center with the theme 'circular economy'. MOS is well known among committed teachers who are concerned with sustainability; an ideal platform therefore to introduce Circonopoly and the Circular Material Center to an interested public.
The Beroepenhuis vzw also showed a lot of interest in our project; they were already playing with the same idea. VN Delta, the cooperation network of the provinces East Flanders, West Flanders, Antwerp, North Brabant, Zeeland and South Holland is also very interested in our game.