Australian schools get on board with gamification to build awareness of technology-driven mining industry and careers

More than 57 Australian primary and secondary schools will pilot two new games for school students from this month to build awareness of opportunities in the modern technology-driven Australian minerals industry.

Australia's resources industry faces severe skills shortages, and more curious, skilled, data-literate graduates are needed to support its future success and growth.

The games have been designed to boost the profile, understanding and relevance of Earth, Space and Environmental Sciences in primary and secondary education through two engaging, exciting and fun games.

Gamification is a hands-on, interactive and engaging learning tool to improve student understanding of Earth Science and resources through relevant applied learning strategies that develop their interest in a resources industry career.

The Year 6 game Resource, Respond, Rescue - developed through the Minecraft Education Edition platform -sees mine Emergency Response Teams joining SES volunteers to protect a fictitious community in Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory and the mine from emergencies including bushfire, flood, earthquake and tsunami.

The Year 8 game Old as Dirt! uses the pit to port journey of iron ore from a mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region - including automated equipment and other technology - to introduce Earth Sciences to students through a web-based 'party game' format as an umbrella subject which brings together expertise from all branches of science and offers and helps students understand the natural world.

The integrated games align with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority's (ACARA) Earth and Space Science curriculum and assessment policy.

The modern Australian minerals sector is proud to support development of these games through the Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC). MTEC is funded entirely by MCA member companies and has provided $65 million since its establishment in 2000 to build capacity in Australia's higher education sector and increase the supply and quality of suitably-qualified professionals for the minerals industry.

The games were developed by Hobart-based independent games and creative technology studio Secret Lab through the CoRE Learning Foundation with an integrated STEM learning approach using CoRE's Learning Model including assessment and reporting.

Funding for the pilot implementation and game evaluation is being provided by BHP, with funding to be sought from industry and government to ensure long-term game support after the pilot phase is completed.

The development of Resource, Respond, Rescue and Old as Dirt! will provide innovative avenues to increase awareness about Australia's world-leading resources sector, the application of Earth Sciences to resources and beyond to support carbon sequestration and other future environmental technologies and career opportunities in the industry amongst Australia's primary and secondary students.

Australian mining needs more highly skilled and motivated people for its future growth and success. Advances in technology - artificial intelligence, automation, and big data - are core business for Australian mining.

Technology makes mining workplaces safer and healthier, while providing different opportunities for employees. It also enables the industry to employ more people in a wider range of roles.

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