Using the language of games to get youths to deal with serious subjects – this is an approach that studio CREO strongly believes in.
Tagville is a game designed to help students aged 9 to 14 (from the end of primary to the start of secondary school) develop their financial literacy. “We’re talking to the digital generation,” says Caroline Julien, President of CREO, the studio that created this product. “Kids expect us to address them in their language, so to speak.”
Initially, CREO received a request from the Paul Gérin-Lajoie foundation. “We had to come up with interesting and fun ways of delivering this kind of content to our target audience.”
Tagville is set in a futurist world. The “Tagtout” family decide to help a group of musicians who would like to acquire new instruments so as to put on a much-awaited concert. Players must make the right financial decisions to save enough money to make these purchases, without compromising the family’s happiness.
To that end, the students must distinguish between such notions as well-being, needs, and wants. In addition, they must manage a budget in accordance with income and expenses and develop their entrepreneurial spirit.
“We pay more attention when we’re immersed in an environment we like,” says Patrick Gleeson, a scriptwriter with CREO. “In a school setting, it’s more fun to play Tagville than to listen to a teacher lecturing or read a booklet. That’s what makes this game interesting – its power to capture its target audience’s attention and pass on content.”
It is worth noting that CREO was very attentive to the students. “Initially, we had planned for the game to be set in the world of dinosaurs,” says the scriptwriter. “The kids told us they preferred a city filled with graffiti where you got around on a flying skateboard. We listened to them and co-created this game with them.”
Tagville was well-received by its target community. “We got feedback from classes that tried it out. The teachers found out that a game is a fun and lively way of dealing with, say, complex subjects,” says Caroline Julien. “The kids really enjoy it! That’s what we like to hear.”
In her view, the future of teaching using digital platforms is extremely promising. “Digital technology not only allows you to transmit knowledge, but also motivates students and makes learning more fun and more effective.”
She has come to this conclusion based on studies carried out on other games created by CREO. “We’ve produced titles in collaboration with science education specialists who gauged the impact of games on learning,” she states by way of explanation. “The results really astounded us. Apparently, students learn four or five times faster using games than traditional learning methods. This persuaded us of the value of using edutainment in the classroom.”