I am a huge fan of game-based learning. I enjoy learning things through games. I also use them while teaching (e.g., my course Disinformation Pandemic) and have some experience with game development. In this article, I would like to share some tips on online games to support information literacy.
These games teach students about disinformation in a variety of ways, such as:
- Identifying the red flags of disinformation, such as sensational headlines, biased language, and lack of evidence.
- Understanding the different types of disinformation, such as fake news, satire, and propaganda.
- Learning how to fact-check information and identify reliable sources.
- Developing critical thinking skills and becoming more discerning consumers of media.
The games can be used in a variety of educational settings, such as classrooms, libraries, and after-school programs. They can be played individually or in groups, and they can be used as part of a larger lesson plan on disinformation or media literacy.
Bad News – This game exposes players to the subtle arts of fake news creation. they’ll learn the techniques behind polarization, conspiracy theories, and invoking emotion. The game was created in cooperation with the University of Cambridge and it was proven, that the game helps players to build a keen sense of discernment against disinformation.
Go Viral! – In this game, the mysteries of pandemic disinformation unfold! The same creators as for the Bad News but more specified on COVID-19. Players will grasp the motivations and deceptive techniques that are the driving forces behind the spread of misleading information.
Harmony Square – In this captivating game, players delve into the manipulation techniques and divisive strategies used to sway political outcomes. The game mirrors real-world scenarios, allowing players to experience first-hand the process of distorting realities for political gains. This game was also proven as a functional tool to raise awareness about manipulation techniques.
Choose your own fake news – Crafted meticulously in Twine, this game follows several characters as they navigate various scenarios, illustrating the profound consequences of disinformation in real life. Players are plunged into decisive moments, determining the beliefs and actions of the characters based on the information provided.
Fakey – This game teaches media literacy, allowing players to scrutinize articles and identify the credible from the misleading. Players engage with a simulated news feed, identify credible articles, share insights, or fact-check the suspicious ones. With each interaction, you gain insights into the subtle mechanics of disinformation, distinguishing legitimate news from deceptive reports, conspiracy theories, and junk science.
Cranky Uncle – Humorous game about the world of climate change conspiracy theories. This game, melding cartoons and critical thinking offers a playful yet insightful exploration of how doubt and discord are sown to discredit scientific findings. Guided by “cranky uncle,” you’ll delve deep into the mechanics of misinformation.
Fake it till you make it – This game enables players to assume the role of a fake news creator, revealing the dark arts of generating attention and monetizing sites through questionable means.
Here are some additional tips for using online games to teach students about disinformation:
- Choose games that are appropriate for your student’s age and grade level.
- Preview the games before using them in class to make sure they are appropriate for your students and that they align with your learning objectives.
- Provide students with clear instructions on how to play the games and what you expect them to learn.
- Encourage students to discuss what they are learning while they are playing the games and to reflect on their experiences after they have finished playing.
- Use the games as a starting point for further discussion and learning about disinformation.