Saving scarce resources is necessary for a more sustainable future. In the context of energy, this can be pursued by complex interventions, such as renovation of buildings or purchases of appliances, but also through day-to-day change in habits related to energy use. Games are a powerful communication and collaboration tool, that can help people consuming energy in a better way. FUNENERGY is a tool that allows us to change the way we consume energy, through education and maybe with a bit of fun.
The goal of the game is to improve kids’ awareness about energy saving and influence the behavior of the whole family. FUNENERGY makes use of a card game, with very simple rules, designed for kids aged 9 to 12. It features a mobile app game, that extends the game rules with an “energy quiz”.
To test the effectiveness of this game, within the PENNY project, we designed an experiment conducted with 9 different schools, located in the Northern part of Italy. The experiment aims to verify if and how playing the energy game changes kids’ energy saving knowledge and attitude and whether this translates into some behavioural change at the family level. Kids are asked to fill-in questionnaires at school and deliver the questionnaires to their families. To assess any changes in knowledge, attitude and behavior, we designed pre and post treatment questionnaires.
Classes of the different schools are randomly allocated to treatment and control groups. Kids in the control group only fill in the questionnaires. The treatment group called “Playing” will attend some explanation of energy sustainability issues and play a round of the FUNERGY game at school. The treatment group called “Creating content” will receive the same treatment as the Playing group, but will also have the chance to create energy quizzes for the FUNERGY mobile app game and insert them into a simple web application provided by us. The content can be produced in Italian, but also in English, if the English teacher is interested in participating to the activity.
At the end of the experiment kids will receive a copy of the FUNERGY game. A video of the game play session, created by the class, will be published on the Penny web site. Questions that are evaluated of high interest will be inserted in the real FUNERGY mobile app game and the class will be mentioned in the credits of the FUNERGY mobile app game.
We are currently running the experiment. We received the filled pre-treatment questionnaires and soon the classes will play the games. By the end of February 2019 we plan to collect all post-treatment questionnaires and start the analyses. Stay tuned to check the results of the experiment!