Paper No. 115-12
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM
FACILITATING SPACES OF COLLABORATIVE LEARNING FOR GEOCONSERVATION USING A NEW BOARD GAME, REEF SURVIVOR JAMAICA
Reef Survivor Jamaica is an educational board game that incorporates elements of place-based education and Earth systems thinking to help players learn about reef ecology and resilience in the face of environmental change and human disturbance. Each player (or team of players) is tasked with building a reef and keeping their reef ecosystem healthy, while they are challenged with natural disasters and human impact. The game board represents the fringing reef offshore east Portland, Jamaica, and the reef builders and dwellers represent the most common corals and herbivores on these reefs. Players are tasked with building a reef and protecting it from natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Reef Survivor Jamaica was modified from a similar undergraduate board game, with modifications informed by a qualitative study with locals in Jamaica. We interviewed 19 stakeholders, including: fisherman, farmers, the Chief of Maroons, artists, a teacher, tourism operators, a scientist, and funding agencies. The semi-structured interview script included questions about: (1) the locals’ connection with the ocean, rivers, and mountains, (2) natural sites that are meaningful to them, and (3) their knowledge about nature, coral reefs and conservation strategies for the region. The game is part of a broader educational program aimed at facilitating spaces of collaborative learning and action in geoconservation in Portland, Jamaica. The learning goals and assessment follow the Ocean Literacy Principles, theory and evaluation instruments used in Place-Based education, collaborative learning, and Earth systems thinking research. For example, the use of diagrams or sketches to assess Earth systems thinking and the use of local examples to increase sense of place. During the testing sessions, we have observed that the game is helping players learn about Jamaican coral reef diversity and main threats. The activity also highlights important connections between humans and nature. For example, “Why is overfishing detrimental for reef ecosystems?”. Future work includes facilitating complementary activities aimed at helping stakeholders increase knowledge in geoconservation, in learning spaces where stakeholders learn from each other through collaboration.