Roger Dale Jones

Work Faster, Kid!

Roger Dale Jones

Ein Computerspiel zum Thema Kinderarbeit rezensieren

Jeder, der eine Jeans, ein T-Shirt oder einen trendigen Sportschuh kauft, ist als Konsument Teil einer globalen Wirtschaft. Deren Schattenseiten zeigen sich dort wo die Mode hergestellt wird: Häufig sind es Kinder, die in den Fabriken arbeiten. In der Online-Simulation Sweatshop nehmen die Lernenden die Rollen der Arbeiter und des Fabrikbesitzers ein. In einer Spielerezension setzen sie sich mit diesen Arbeitskontexten und deren Darstellung im Computerspiel auseinander.

The process of globalization we witness today does have its advantages and drawbacks: Sustainable global human rights laws on the one hand and policies of modern markets that demand cheap goods on the other are in conflict with each other. The social impact game Sweatshop (box 1) thematizes this conflict.
Sweatshop
Sweatshop
Sweatshop.
In Sweatshop the player slips into the role of child laborer who manages a factory in a third world country. As manager, the player must meet increasing production goals with a limited amount of resources. Furthermore, the player must keep workers (including children) alive. These are the goals of the game. As a simulation, Sweatshop takes a unique approach by putting players into the ethically complex position as both a child laborer wanting to remain employed, successfully complete the challenges, and continue playing the game, as well as a sweatshop manager complicit in exploiting other (often child) workers. However, Sweatshop also presents a paradox of a game with trivialized music and graphics and the serious topic of child labor.
This teaching unit encourages active learner participation in this global discourse (cf. Hallet 2013) by initiating and structuring critically reflective work with the game. The outcome of this work will be a game review which considers the social issues the game thematizes and addresses critically both the conflicts within the story of the game as well as its form of presentation. This game review is preceded by a background research on child labor and an analysis of the game.
Researching Child Labor
Fundamental to the analysis and review of Sweatshop is solid background knowledge on the topic of child labor and sweatshops. Without such knowledge, learners cannot critically reflect on the game as a part of the larger discourse on child labor and they cannot contextualize the game within the larger issues of globalization. Worksheet 1 offers support for online research into the topic. It provides tips and clues for performing effective internet research, language scaffolding for both internet research as well as issues surrounding child labor, and suggested websites that can get learners started. Furthermore, it provides a list of questions that can guide learners in their research and initiate reflective thought that will accompany their later game analysis.
Analyzing How Sweatshop Simulates Child Labor
Before learners can analyze the game as a part of the global discourse on child labor, they require input on the structural and generic components of games due to the unique ways games can (and cannot) reflect reality (worksheet 2 ).
Gameworld
Games are representational media which often share similarities with narrative forms (like literature and film). They typically present recognizable spaces (sometimes even their own worlds) with characters (controllable and non-controllable) and objects which can be manipulated. Many games even include story elements to make them engaging and comprehensible. While gameworlds may diverge from the real world to varying degrees, they typically present themes, discourses and values present in real life. This means that gameworlds can reflect reality. Thus, game characters can represent real-life character types and traits, game places and objects can have largely recognizable symbolic value and...

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aus: Unterricht Englisch Nr. 147 / 2017

Lebenswelten erproben: Simulationen

Friedrich+ Kennzeichnung Unterricht (45-90 Min) Schuljahr 10-13
  • Thema: Schreiben
  • Autor/in: Roger Dale Jones