If you residing in the major cities like Jakarta then we are sure that at one point of your life, you have talked about or heard about how adding solar power (or other renewable energy sources) for your home or business is greater way to contribute to slowing down the impact of climate change. Solar adoption is gaining its momentum and the investment value is gradually dropped due to rapid innovation on the technology, and of course primary driven by policy.

While policies and decreasing costs are exciting, raising awareness among all ages, especially the younger generation is the next key to keep the trend ahead. The issue remains is how to teach such a heavy topic to children. In Hivos, the discussion after electrifying the schools is on how we can escalate knowledge on renewable energy to enhance education at elementary schools and junior high schools.

Through a partnership between Hivos and Australia Alumni Grant, we worked with Kummara, a game studio based in Bandung, West Java, focusing on serious game, gamification, and interactive system design. The game called AKATARA, in Sankrit means Energy.

Apart from the game, we also design a teaching material for teachers and teaching methodology. The expectation is the teachers to start using the same methodology to design games for other proposes. The goal of this game is increase knowledge among students and teachers which allows them to become a knowledge pioneer in their community.

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“Why game? The answer is we believe tha human are a playful species and we love to play game.”

The board game was colorfully designed to attract children’s attention with less text and providing Sumba setting (human, architects, landscape and energy sources). The rule is players to work together to build renewable energy plants to light up the houses or public facilities. Each of these facilities has score on it that need to be accumulated to move the green dice, represents carbon offset. The trick is among the deck of those cards are kerosene which is when obtained will add up our carbon point, and leads to moving the black dice. The winning team is the team that can move green dice ahead of the black one.

Try out was held in two schools in East Sumba from 30-31 May 2018,  at Mbatakkapidu Elementary School in Waingapu Subdistrict and Kataka Junior High School in Kahaungu Eti Subdistrict. The reason to choose elementary school and junior high school is to test whether the game can be taught across ages.

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The teachers from PV schools project who have participated in Training of Trainer (ToT) on the previous day, Game-Based Renewable Energy Learning for School Teachers were asked to conduct the trial.

At the elementary school, total of 7 groups began to play the game, each group consists of 5 children accompanied by 1 or 2 teachers to practice the game which lasted for approximately an hour. As the teachers delivered the introduction of the game, the children actively put their attention on the instruction and explanation, shortly afterwards they began to play the game. The outbursts of excitement of each group emerged throughout the activity that morning.

Some groups were cheering happily when they turned out able to win the game. The same situation also occurred in Kataka Junior High School on the second day of game trial. About 25 students expressed their enthusiasm while practicing the game.

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The discussion with the students after game session were also conducted at two schools. The students delivered their perceptions about the game that mostly expressed they have received more basic knowledge of various renewable energy sources and technology as well as its advantages. In addition, the students also agreed that the game encouraged and shaped their skill as supportive player in group to work together in determining strategy.

On the other side of teachers’ view, they emphasized the game is actually very useful as teaching materials. The students can also get many insights at a time, such as the importance of fossil fuel reduction, renewable energy use, various kind of science-based information, and so on. The teachers also stated other cognitive aspects of children benefited by practicing the game is the development of arithmetic ability, analytical skill, and children’ character.

In conclusion, game-based learning method can be implemented by teachers in line with the thematic curriculum applied in schools today in Indonesia. AKATARA game is developed over this principle which is expected to foster student curiosity and observation ability, also build a chance of dynamic discussion on renewable energy issue in class.

The key success is that facilitator to be able to match the game dynamic with its audience level of knowledge, and able to provide debrief to its audiences. Furthermore, this game was also played among Hivos staffs with different level of explanation from the facilitator. Through this series of trial, we understood that this board game is applicable for all ages.