Real education is much beyond rote learning; it is beyond being a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer or an MBA, for that matter. The real purpose of education is not to create individuals who command a few lakhs in their pay package each month but to develop ‘humane’ humans, who understand kindness, who care about each other and the planet, and understand the importance of, as well as practice, sustainable living.
Unfortunately, our education system is yet to encompass these ‘human’ realms in its ambit. Luckily, there are a few thought-tanks and creatives amongst us who have taken it upon themselves to turn this situation around. Enter Greg Acuna, an author, playwright and media strategist of repute, who has come up with an animated virtual world with the aim of empowering young people to change the ‘real’ world.
Titled Planet Earthlings, this unique project creates empowering games including "Zarbul", a gamified educational space-themed universe for young people with an overall story interwoven through it, to excite and reward the kids, ensuring they have fun while learning.
Students will encounter four major activities in the form of educational content, co-operative gaming, collaborative apps and community tools to stimulate their minds and encourage ‘real’ learning.
Once they enter this virtual universe, players will create an alien avatar, assemble a spaceship and set out to explore the universe and save Earth. Each planet they choose will contain educational mini-games, user-created content and offline content to encourage real-life experiences that can be shared on the online world, later.
Creating a unique educational social network through multiplayer games, the platform enables students to explore the activities together, creating virtual study groups and chat to help each other. Students would also have access to a tutor database on the platform.
Taking the experience one step further, the educational mini-games would soon be expanded to the mobile platform, compatible with both Android and iOS devices, forming a revenue stream to fund the venture along with the commissions earned from tutors. In the future, Planet Earthlings would partner with more creatives and content firms to make the experience even more engaging, and the academic base, wider.
Apart from creating a powerful parallel universe of learning and fun, Greg has several ‘kind’ tricks up his sleeve, such as the kindness card game "Acting Kindly" and the #7DaysKindnessChallenge that fosters community spirit and teaches kids to be kind and respectful towards individuals and surroundings in a fun manner. There is also the ‘Save Da Aliens’ game, a fast action arcade game with a twist. Here, instead of shooting aliens, children rescue them, helping them come to Earth, learning about the universe and the advantages of kindness and diversity in the process. The game has already received a Steam Green Light to be sold on the world’s biggest desktop game distribution platform, reports the website. You can see a promo of the game on www.planetearthlings.org.
Making world a better place
It takes great leaders to raise great nations – however, grooming the children of today to be kind and sensitive leaders is what is going to change the fate of our world. Be it sustainable living, protecting the environment or breeding harmony amongst nations and communities, it all starts with educating the kids right. Greg, through Planet Earthlings, has taken some concrete steps in this direction, while ensuring children do not lose their childhood in years of rote learning. Learn more about Greg and his ventures at www.planetearthlings.org.
2nd April 2017
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