Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Ari Herzog, a social media marketer who serves on the Newburyport (Mass.) city council. A longtime Cops 2.0 reader, Ari is a proponent of open government — government agencies using technology to make the public part of what they do. Today’s post is about how one of them is doing just that.
You must credit the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for thinking out of the box and continually striving to educate students about disaster preparedness.
From activity books to PSA writing challenges, IEMA wants every youth in the state from pre-schoolers to college students to know what to do when disaster strikes. Seeking a gap in their educational approaches with middle school students, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force commissioned the creation of a video game to help kids learn about effective response strategies. The first simulation, “The Day the Earth Shook,” was released November 15 and focuses on earthquake zones in the southern part of the state.
The game was developed by the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Center for Public Safety and Justice of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“We knew that we needed to do something that we would be fun, but they’re too old for coloring books and activity books at that age,” said Patti Thompson, communications manager for IEMA in an article published by Government Technology. “So it just seemed like the video game route was something new to do, a new direction to go.”
I think it’s an awesome idea. The world may be watching Facebook applications and Twitter innovations, but video games are just as popular.