Applying game-based learning to animal disease preparedness
Fifty years ago, the strategy-based game Oregon Trail hit classrooms around the country. Anyone who has played the game knows that crossing a river in the wrong place at the wrong time or other poor decisions along the trail can end the game.
A partnership project from Texas A&M AgriLife and the Texas A&M University College of Architecture aims to harness the teaching power of game-based learning and apply it to animal disease preparedness. This could provide those involved in animal health the opportunity to learn from mistakes in a digital world rather than suffer consequences of bad decisions in the real world.
Project S.W.A.R.M. — Strategic Widespread Agricultural Response Management Simulation — is an effort to develop a game-based learning tool to help teach those in agriculture the strategies needed to prevent and respond to an extreme animal disease outbreak. The project recently released its first trailer. The trailer outlines what such a tool might look like and how it can help producers.
“Agriculture, the food production system, and human and animal health is an extremely complex system,” said Jimmy Tickel, DVM, Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases. “It has become global and has a lot of factors to consider. Conventional training cannot track all those factors, but a computer program can. This project is trying to give agriculture a much more complex and adaptive preparedness training tool.”
The project is a partnership project between the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife; the College of Architecture’s Learning Interactive Visualization Experience, LIVE, lab; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office.