Furthering Emotional Intelligence through Video Games

The field of serious digital learning game titles that aim to develop players' empathy with their cognitive competencies has made great strides in the past decade. Today, exclusive simulations and video games for communal change have much to offer the field of education. Even though the advantages of these offerings remain making themselves obvious, an increasing number of teachers are trying to stay on the front-end. Many instructors are tinkering with new ways to connect with students through the same technologies that occupy time of young people's free time. Teachers are significantly considering whether and how digital video games and simulations might contribute to civic proposal and action. If gambling and virtual simulations are so appealing to young people, how can we better harness these varieties of entertainment to foster mental intellect and empathy so that students can exhibit a far more caring and energetic respond to relevant social issues? How can computerized simulation video games help foster global empathy and interest in global civic learning/action? How might simulations help learners to empathize and identify with the lives of global Others? They are just a few questions that contribute to school room learning in significant ways.

Before taking into consideration the value of video gaming and electronic simulations in relation to empathy, it is important to identify why empathy should be trained in schools. Inside our period of globalization, there is a growing need to educate for global citizenship, especially as people throughout the world become more plus more connected. A true global citizen values empathy and the ability to understand other people across edges and social divides. As an important factor of being individual, empathy is often thought as an emotional state that includes "feeling in oneself the thoughts of others. Empathy is growing as a particularly significant disposition for global citizenship since it allows us to perceive the world through others' perspectives, go through the emotions of others, and communicate and act with techniques that consider others' views and needs" (Bachen et al. , 2012, p. 438). As adults, we come to see ourselves not only as citizens of our neighborhood, country, or ethno-cultural group, but also as global people willing and able to empathize with other peoples and their situations in other places in the world. While students can simply find out about the plight of disadvantaged individuals surrounding the world, adding empathy to the training experience helps them preserve and relate with this knowledge in a more profound way: "emotion plays a number of important tasks in pondering and learning. First, whenever we are control information, we store it more deeply and integrate with our preceding knowledge better when that new information has an emotional charge for all of us, whenever we feel something reaches stake or issues" (Gee, 2008, p. 35). Furthermore, in the same way empathy may be used to increase knowledge of various global issues, a lot more students are asked to investigate and relate to global issues through the sight of the Other, the deeper their empathic response becomes. Because of this, empathy is a key component of sociable justice education.

If a primary goal of cultural justice education is to cultivate a responsibility to do this, then we cannot truly teach sociable justice without empathy. Social justice education is based on a need to recognize and change structural inequalities and disparities worldwide. A good way to teach this is to provide students with opportunities never to only gain contextual knowledge but likewise have experiences that create empathic insights into the lives of individuals who are oppressed. Segal (2011) thinks that "when there's a shared meaning of the empathic insights into discrimination, injustice, or inequality, folks are better able and much more willing to do this that promotes public justice" (p. 268). Therefore, the capability to experience empathy through a genuine contextual zoom lens deepens our knowledge of the contemporary society we are in and compels us to feel a public responsibility that can lead to communal justice. Segal (2011) expresses that "exposing children to other people who are different from themselves gives them an possibility to practice affect posting or mirroring and home/other-awareness while at the same time enhancing their awareness and knowledge of different public conditions" (p. 274). This consciousness, in conjunction with empathy, can result in a larger desire to do this for communal change.

Video games and virtual simulations are a straightforward and effective vehicle to connect students to the lives of individuals from various interpersonal organizations. These tools are effective to advertise empathy in a social justice context because they have compelling narratives that get players into confirmed situation. The energy of narrative thus assists as a simple facet of educational game playing

Narrative-centered learning conditions manage significant opportunities for students to take part in motivating story-based educational encounters. Virtual character types can indulge users in a number of task-oriented educational and entertainment tasks. Dream contexts in educational video games have been shown to provide motivational advantages to learning. Because of the power of account to draw people into compelling plots and abundant configurations through the promotion of suspension system of disbelief and increased account participation, narrative can contribute to learning in important ways. (McQuiggan et al, 2008, p. 1511)

Besides hooking students into a tale, narrative-based video games invite players to look at the point of view of someone who is quite not the same as the player's own self applied, which then results in several judgments about the Other being changed, as the ball player exercises empathy: "By stimulating us to exercise our moral creativity, we develop our capacity to more fully put ourselves in another person's situations and so those 'different' to ourselves in circumstance, id or practice can't be dehumanized or Other-ised as 'disgusting' or 'subhuman'" (McRobie, 2014, n. p. ). Narrative-based game titles and simulations forge contacts between humans from different parts of the earth, and the player can learn to better identify with and understand the plight of someone whom she or he may never normally meet in real life. Furthermore, this role-playing element of gaming, with most of its imaginative capacity, can result in better identification with the Other as empathy continues to develop in the gamer: "Empathy may be further developed when a player not only takes the point of view of another, but also begins to identify with the type represented" (Bachen et al. , 2012, p. 440). Increased identification with the press character has further benefit, as Bachen et al. (2012) describe that this leads to "greater focus on and retention of text messages associated with those character types" (p. 440). As a result, educators can exploit video games and electronic simulations because they not only hook up students to various individuals across the globe, but ultimately can result in deeper learning because students become immersed in their learning and take more away with them by the finish of the experience.

A key difference between traditional written narratives (reviews, novels, etc. ) and exclusive simulations is the ability to simulate (and almost live) a real-life experience a student would often only find out about. Video gaming and online simulations open up the likelihood to interact with a period and place that may be worlds away: "a electronic world provides an experience set inside a technological environment that provides the user a solid sense of being there" (Warburton, 2009, p. 415). Because of their narrative feature, videos games and online simulations present players with a personality that they adopt, while living out a couple of experiences from the point of view of the type (Gee, 2008). They allow for exposure to real content and culture and invite for reproduction of contexts that can't be reproduced easily in true to life: "Most game titles for change simulate real physical casualties so that the player develops a knowledge of a situation where war and genocide may be central to everyday activity" (Huang and Tettagah, 2010, p. 138). This, in turn, allows students to see complex and potentially dangerous situations without risk, virtually implementing the perils of the character's life, while all together "feel[ing] sympathy and/or empathy for the people in the overall game" (Huang and Tettagah, 2010, p. 138). Raphael et al. (2010) suggest that "[r]ole playing games allow players to explore institutional, physical, and temporal configurations that would often be inaccessible, allowing players to learn from the consequences of choices manufactured in the world of the game that would be impractical or dangerous to experience straight" (p. 200). In this particular role-playing framework, players exercise firm, because they are given the liberty to experiment relating with their own goals. Players are allowed to do and act according with their own judgments. This experimentation can help the player better understand the potential repercussions of certain actions or selections. In nearly living out the results, the player is more likely to empathize with the character in the situation, which preferably will lead to increased understanding of inequities around the world and the necessity for action to address issues of social justice.

To put my discourse of game-playing, empathy and cultural justice into an educational context, I'd like to present three types of virtual simulations and video gaming you can use in classrooms to encourage empathy and action. The first is called Real Lives (http://www. educationalsimulations. com/), a simulation game designed for middle and high school students where the player exists into a life from any country on the planet. For example, students can experience life as a peasant farmer in Bangladesh, a stock staff member in Brazil, a policeman in Nigeria, or a computer operator in Poland. As players adopt the point of view of the given identity, they apply knowledge to solve real issues while evaluating different value systems as they play the overall game. Students must make a number of decisions that entail careers, financial standing, health, matrimony and family life, and involvement in civil contemporary society. The game prompts players to engage in ethical representation, always in the context of troubles or opportunities prevalent to the given country (based on real-world figures for the country's poverty rate, toddler mortality rate, and so on) (Raphael et al, 2010, p. 216). The efficiency of the game in creating empathic insights is evidenced by Bachen et al. 's (2012) review, which have show that Real Lives had a considerable effect on players' development of global empathy: "Comparing students who played the game with those who participated within an alternate computer-assisted learning activity, we found that playing the simulation game was associated with significantly higher degrees of global empathy" (Bachen et al. , 2012, p. 450). Video games like Real Lives are suitable to growing personal responsibility or persona. Raphael states game titles for sociable change "lend themselves to exploring individual ethics rather than the ethics of corporations or modern culture although they still add students to the dynamics of large-scale set ups that form lives providing them with little power to alter those structures but demanding moral evaluation of these" (p. 219). Just as Real Lives, games of responsibility can also pressure players to grapple with the question of how to live on a good life in a society which may be imperfect and unjust (Raphael et al, 2010, p. 221).

A second digital simulation gaming that evokes player empathy is Darfur is Dying (http://darfurisdying. com/). This video game is dependant on the genocide in Sudan and is explained by the game's builders as "a narrative-based simulation where the consumer, from the perspective of the displaced Darfurian, negotiates makes that threaten the survival of his / her refugee camp. It offers a faint glimpse of what it's like for the more than 2. 5 million who've been internally displaced by the crisis in Sudan" (http://www. darfurisdying. com/aboutgame. html). I have used this game in my classroom teaching with level seven students and have observed that many benefit from the experience because of the game-based troubles that students must be conquer as their individuals associated risk their lives to safeguard their community while still wanting to maintain success. Huang and Tettegah (2010) declare that "the goals of the coders and instructional designers of Darfur is Dying include raising awareness so that the player/user shares fear, empathy, and other emotions associated with victims of conflict. Darfur is Dying originated with goals to educate, provide support and inspire" (p. 142). Characters depict actual situations that appear in true to life, summoning the player's emotive capacity as s/he practically becomes a displaced Darfurian who must take serious hazards while completing seemingly mundane daily duties, such as gathering water and food. I use this game in my own classroom with the hope that students develop empathy for the character, predicated on the experience portrayed in the overall game, and that this leads to ethnical awareness and a deeper individuals link with the individuals of Sudan. In other words, empathy becomes the main learning outcome instead of acquiring specific content.

Finally, Against All Odds (http://www. playagainstallodds. ca/) is a 3rd internet-based video game simulation for communal change that can be used to instruct empathy in a social justice platform. The game originated by the United Nations Refugee Agency and was created to teach 12- to 15-year-old players about the plight of refugees. Players undertake the role of any refugee, and play through levels, from depiction of persecution and flight from their local country to eventual integration into a international country as an asylum seeker. I find this game particularly relevant today, especially in view of your current political local climate and the displacement of Syrian refugees. Many students are experiencing about these issues in the news and in discussions at home, but do not fully understand what it means to be always a refugee, the problems refugees face, and how individual citizens in Canada could probably aid in this situation. Raphael et al. (2010) dispute that exclusive simulation video games that promote empathy, such as Against All Odds, can encourage students to seek out more knowledge beyond the overall game and make efforts to act somewhat than just observe

playing or growing games may increase students' motivation to learn and drive them to consult sources beyond your game, motivate critical representation on background and politics and exactly how they are symbolized, provide multiple viewpoints on contested occasions and ideas, allow players to sketch on distributed knowledge and develop skills in control and collective action you can use to take on real-world political problems, or afford opportunities to explore moral selections and develop empathetic understanding by projecting oneself through an avatar into places and times normally inaccessible. (p. 200)

My ultimate goal in using video game simulations such as Against All Chances is to market civic action. It isn't enough for students to know in regards to a problem, empathize with those damaged, and then continue living their normal lives without further reflection. I hope that the empathy that is made by the overall game playing incites students to take action, even in a small way, so that they recognize that global citizenship is an active process and that we are each independently accountable for the Other.

Given that a important part of social justice is developing a community of citizens who take action, it is important that students who play gaming simulations such as Real Lives, Dying in Darfur, and Against All Its likely that given an wall socket to both show understanding of empathy and take action. The question that remains for me is exactly what can students do with this experience? Based on their experiences playing a number of virtual simulation video games, students is now able to create their own video game simulations presenting each day in the life span of any refugee of these choosing. Using online software called Twine, students can create a narrative that allows players to choose various pathways, much such as a choose-your-own-adventure book. As students create their game, they demonstrate a knowledge of the daily challenges faced by a specific refugee, thus exhibiting empathy for lives of individuals who is quite different from themselves. To make this an activist one, my middle-school students will be asked to create their game for a young student inside our neighbouring elementary school. This enables students to take action using what they have learned, so that as they share the overall game with a more radiant child, they undertake the role of educator and active citizen.

Social justice video gaming provides real opportunity for reflection and learning in the current classrooms. For teachers who want to participate students in learning about real world issues, or who are seeking alternative resources to enhance pupil learning, pairing young people's fascination with games with a significant social justice matter has the probable to cause powerful educational experience. The narrative element of virtual simulation video games is a real hook that can attract students to learn about the lives of men and women around the world, and the interactive features require students to both end up being the character while performing exercises agency to solve genuine civic problems. The problem-solving facet of these virtual video games sets students in the shoes of the Other, allowing them to better understand hardships and hopefully strongly empathize with a life that may otherwise seem faraway and irrelevant. While video game simulations are not a magic means to fix increasing student engagement or growing empathy, they certainly can be considered a great tool that allows students to realize that they play an important role in making change around the globe.

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