Should we reform economic education and thinking, and how can we go about it? The Newbee Fest last June 9th, 2022, was a buzzing hive of ideas and experiments with nearly two-hundred self-appointed visionary teachers, researchers and entrepeneurs. Organised by the Hogeschool Rotterdam and De Haagse Hogeschool, and by Kees Klomp, Remko van der Pluijm, Jacco van Uden and associates more in particular, the fest aimed to be a thought provoking get-together. And it was. As current directors of SAGANET we felt that serious games should be part of the venue. So I was sort of delegated to be there, and gave a demonstration of an economic serious game myself (It’s All about the MONEY).
To my surprise and happiness, there were various others with serious games and some more with playful ways of looking at the world.
Hanane Abaydi gave a demo of her new game to understand institutional exclusion and corporate activism. Paul Brinkkemper played the Ons Geld game Moneymaker. An economic tiny LARP did not materialize, but we were promised a comeback with a vengeance next time. MeYouWeDo presented a compass for sustainable decision making by building a huge bamboo installation – also playful! And there was a lot of storytelling, which in my experience borders on playful learning.
In other words: Serious games and game based learning are alive, and gaining in interest. That’s a good thing, as games are well suited to convey especially complex subjects, such as economic dilemmas and puzzles. Games are also good to practice subjects, and foster cooperation and empathy.
This busy bee day ended with a plenary session, with some questions for all attending. Should we change the way we teach economy? Should we not be more concerned with the morality of our market place, and educate makers instead of takers? What do we really want to teach at our schools about economy, and how? Is the curriculum diverse enough, or should we widen horizons? Those were some of the questions. I believe serious games certainly are worth having a place there.