Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Hack the #literatti to teach sustainability #clmooc

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Here is a hack I am doing on the Litterati game, something shared on clmooc google+ (thanks to Janis Selby Jones for posting it, and to Anna Smith for pointing me to it via twitter)

Some cultural context first:
I don’t teach sustainability, I usually teach “education” or “ed tech” but recently I started teaching a module (1/3) of a course on creating educational games (before i taught, the theme was edu games for sustainability, but when i taught it i made the theme “any cause you believe in as a group”). Before I ask students to design games, I play a few games with them to give them ideas. I always wanted to try a treasure hunt type game and this one can be seen as such. I my hack, I may be taking the idea
too far, but I could alway either scale it down later, or give it a larger part of the grade.
I work at the American University in Cairo, a non-profit but expensive and elite liberal arts institution. Most of our students are elite and Westernized, some live in a bubble, others come from more humble backgrounds and have had full scholarships to enter. There are loads of extracurricular activities to build awareness of and actually do, community service, as well as community-based learning courses, but not everyone gets the chance to participate in all or any of this. End result, in my view, is that some remain in a bubble until they graduate and are not aware of the world outside.

So I am thinking of a way to modify this game as a way to make them become more aware of the world outside campus gates. I have copied the full text of Janis’ game below and will use the delete format to show how I would change some parts… And write my own notes in bold.

Janis’ game idea is treasure-hunt like but i want to “hack” it, so read below….

Janis’ text:

I participate in +Litterati, which is a crowd-sourced effort to clean the planet “one piece of litter at a time.” For Make Cycle 3, I created a mini-Litterati experience for the #clmooc community.

Here’s how to play:
1. Find a piece of litter in one of the categories below and photograph it
Maha hack 1: ask them to find litter in a neighborhood different from their own (more details below)
Maha hack 2: instead of photographing it as is, I’ll ask them to do something with it, see below

2. Dispose of it properly or put it in recycling if possible
Maha hack 3: we don’t have recycling in Egypt easily, except on our campus; instead of asking them to recycle, I can ask them to re-use it in a creative way, or combine all the things they collect into a “useful” or “artistic” product
3. Open the CLMOOC Litterati ZeeMap
4. Go to “Additions”
5. Select “Add Marker” in the drop down menu
(You can choose to create simple or detailed markers.)
6. Add your entry information
7. Upload the photograph you took
Maha hack 4: photograph the end product using all the litter collected and describe the “use” or “art” of it
8. Click submit
9. Post your pick to Instagram with the hashtag #litterati to have your find added in the digital landfill

Maha hack 5: the list of items below are probably all available and familiar to our students, but not throughout Egypt. the trick is to get them to maybe go outside their comfort zone and do some primary and secondary research. Now, I have posted those ideas in bold beside the original ideas Janis had posed.

Try to find something in each of the following categories:
o Starbucks/Coffee Research tip: poor Cairo neighborhoods don’t go to Starbucks, they go to traditional coffeehouses. What kind of alternative litter would come out of there?
o Fast Food Research tip: what are some of the local types of fastfood (i.e. not McDonald’s!) and what kind of litter do they produce?
Research tip: [for all the below, the brands used in poorer areas must be different. Is there a difference between the raw materials that go into the packaging of local vs multinational brands? Students can pick any ONE category and work in groups to interview factory/plant employees from a local and a multinational company located in Egypt, and compare the environmental impact of one product vs another ]
o Candy Wrapper
o Tobacco Product
o Chip/Snack Packaging
o Soda Can
o Plastic Beverage Container
o Plastic Cutlery or Cup
o Plastic Cap or Lid
o Glass Bottle or Bottle Cap

Here is the rest of Janis’ post, just for completeness… And in case folks are interested in the original game and the cause.

The first person to collect and document all ten items wins the satisfaction of working to help create “A Litter Free World.”

Visit www.litterati.org to find out how to join the cause.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Role play or “acting” to promote empathy?Reflecting Allowed | Reflecting Allowed

  2. I really like this. It’s interesting to see how the game can change as we shift the context from California to Cairo.

    I would make one more small hack by changing “the first person to collect…wins…” to “any person who collects…wins…”

    • Yes, right Michael! “Any” or “each” person is what we really mean, right? Speed, place, are not the point. The process and accomplishment as learning are what matters.

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