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Switzerland: Games as a school subject

Published by

August 15, 2019 5:13 pm

Switzerland: Games as a school subject

40 young people from Zurich try their hand at developing games in the new school year. And are thus taking the first step towards an ICT career.

In recent months Fortnite has employed schools throughout Switzerland. There was hardly a place for breaks where there were no discussions about how to use the game properly. And the “observer” even reported last summer on teasing and arguments among the children.

While many educational institutions have banned the topic of gaming, the Grünau primary school in Zurich has chosen a different path. In the “Gaming4All” project, 40 young people learn to program during a school year. At the same time, they run a gaming café on one afternoon a week in the nearby housing estate of the Stiftung Alterswohnungen der Stadt Zürich (SAW).

Reducing fears among older people

The project is organised by Generation 65 Plus in cooperation with the Stiftung Alterswohnungen der Stadt Zürich (SAW). For Ulrike Liebert, Managing Director of Generation 65 Plus, the playful introduction to ICT topics is important. Her goal is to address the shortage of ICT specialists innovatively. The inclusion of older people promotes the development of social skills and the ability to change perspectives.

Andreas Dreier, project manager on SAW’s side, emphasises the opportunities that digitalisation opens up for older people: “With the Gaming Café, SAW strengthens the digital skills of its tenants so that they can live independently in their homes for as long as possible – in line with the goals of the foundation.”

Senior citizens are concerned with the use of mobile devices. It has become indispensable to be able to use smart home applications, for example. These enable a higher quality of life, but they have to be accepted. “The project follows the intergenerational approach because seniors are much more open to innovations when they come into play through their grandchildren,” explains Ulrike Liebert. “Not all pensioners have grandchildren who make them familiar with the use of the project, so the project is a good match.”

The next Battle Royal hit?

At the end of August, young and old will immerse themselves in the structure of different game types, learn the art of game design, before starting to program the games effectively. The games should be ready by June 2020, and the next Battle Royal overhit will hardly be among them. But it may be the very first step towards an ICT career for participants.

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