a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.
Kind of like what us parents face in the digital age our children are growing up in! I am loath to admit how much time my kids spend playing on their electronic devices. We truly try to limit their screen time, but it has become increasingly difficult as their games travel everywhere they go with their mobile devices. With four kids it’s like whac-a-mole redirecting them away from their screens. In the time it takes me to get one reading on the couch, one of the others has gone down the rabbit hole into cyberspace somewhere else. We understand that this is the culture our kids are growing up in so we use their screen time to our advantage as much as we can. On the weekends for example, while our rules drastically limit video games during the week, the kids can play all they want on weekend mornings if they let us sleep in! I am also always on the lookout for games that are educational or enriching as alternatives to the many mind numbing ones out there. Research shows that well-designed digital games can be effective learning tools, and that they can be especially effective in the development of social and ethical skills.
I was thrilled to learn about and try the 2013 Games for Change Game of the Year award winner Quandary out with my kids when we were asked to do a review. Now here is a game that I can support as a parent! I actually think it could be great in a classroom setting as well. Quandary was designed to reinforce the learning of new skills as opposed to knowledge. Specifically, ethical thinking skills, the type of learning that, as a parent, I hope will last a lifetime. The game provides a learning experience that assists players in reasoning and understanding ethical issues. When kids learn how to approach situations with the type of reflective attitude they need to play the game of Quandary, they learn how to tackle important decisions in life by weighing the possible outcomes. While playing Quandary with my kids I watched them make decisions based on hearing facts and opinions from the community members in the game.
It was no surprise that my 13-year-old son tore through the three levels as I assisted my 9 year old through the scenarios, and prompted him to think things through along the way. I liked the challenge the free online game presented my kids in taking in and considering concepts or statements, and then responding to feedback from other characters in the game. In playing the game multiple times and making different choices along the way, they could see how the the outcomes for the planet could vary.
The Quandary player is a member of a new human colony on a far away planet. Players shape the future of their new society through dealing with the ethical issues and challenging situations they come up against. There are no clear-cut right or wrong answers, but there are consequences for each decision made. those decisions impact the player, their community, and the environment of the planet, so although players are able to exhibit free choice, it comes with a responsibility. The scenarios presented to the player in the Quandary game support two core ethical thinking skills; perspective taking that gives players understanding of others beliefs and preferences, and critical thinking which is associated with ethical reasoning.
Perspective taking is something I am constantly trying to reinforce in my kids, I think it is tough to do, and personally credit years of travel to very different parts of the world with helping me view things through different lenses. We can’t exactly travel the world with our kids right now, but playing Quandary is a good place for them to begin to hone those skills that will help our kids cope with the world as they grow up.
We can’t wait for new episodes of Quandary to come out now that we have been through all three levels that exist so far (with different outcomes I may add). Meanwhile when my kids ask if they can play a game online I love that I am armed with an option where I can say “yes”, and feel good about it.
This is a sponsored post, but as always all opinions are my own or those of my children.