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Published August 5, 2019

In this paper, Schrier makes the case for the use of videogames as tools for ethics education. She argues that games’ strength as vehicles for role-play and simulation can allow students to “experiment with new idenitities and roles, take risks and push boundaries and practice certain behaviours, without worrying about the dire consequences that could occur in real life or in the tradiational classroom”. However she also makes it clear that not all games will have the same educational value. So her purpose is to set out a framework of educational goals and strategies by which an educator may assess a game to see whether it fits with their learning environment.

The Ethics Practice and Implementation Categorisation (EPIC) framework describes seven educational goals related to ethics which might be considered when selecting a game:

  1. Enhance ethical awareness
  2. Enhance emotion intelligence
  3. Practice care of empathy-related skills
  4. Practice ethical reasoning
  5. Practice ethical reflection
  6. Enhance character
  7. Cultivate facility with major ethics isues, approaches, and frameworks

To address these goals, Schrier describes twelve strategies that games adopt.

  1. Emotion, mood, and time
  2. Diaries or personal reflection devices
  3. Role-taking and role-playing
  4. Story or narrative
  5. Modelling through avatar or character
  6. Choices and consequences
  7. Simulation
  8. Social interaction and collaboration
  9. Deliberation, dialogue, and discourse
  10. Applications to real-world issues
  11. Procedural exploration and interaction
  12. ‘Nudges’ or contextual and/or personalised clues

This framework is built upon a throrough survey, both of the literature of ethics, games and education, and on a wealth of example games that exhibit these goals and strategies. While the paper is directed at educators selecting games, the taxonomy is also useful for designers considering making a game for ethics education. It highlights the importance of having clear educational goals, and provides a collection of strategies and examples to follow in the design process. 


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