Gaming for Peace is an online role-playing game for police and military personnel that helps them learn peacekeeping skills.
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Rightly or not, violent video games have often been criticized for encouraging aggressive and callous behavior in their players. In this context, virtual reality gaming — which is even more immersive and engrossing — could provide further dangers. But now, a team of researchers at Trinity College Dublin is attempting to invert that process and are harnessing those very characteristics to help teach peacekeeping skills, via a virtual reality game — Gaming for Peace.
Gaming for Peace is an online role-playing game that aims to teach its players peacekeeping skills such as communication, cultural sensitivity and gender awareness. It is intended to be used by EU military, police and civilian personnel who have been deployed in peacekeeping and conflict prevention missions.
To begin, players will enter the game as avatars from a different organization than their own. They will often be a different gender or nationality. They will then be confronted with various challenging scenarios set in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya. By forcing them to view the conflict from various perspectives, the games aims to help the player learn vital soft skills such as communication and cooperation, gender awareness and cultural competency skills. Players will also be able to evaluate the game and add their own experiences of peacekeeping, enabling the game to continue developing over time.
The game is being funded by a EUR 2 million grant from the European Commission. It is expected to be completed in 2018. How else could virtual reality be used in education?