Fellowship overview: I was awarded a lump sum of US $10,000 by UNESCO to analyse, design and evaluate computer games and virtual classrooms for HIV / AIDS preventive education and counselling services support for teenage students in Ugandan secondary schools.
Research direction: Designing, developing and evaluating computer games for HIV / AIDS preventive intervention in schools; bringing together creative students and teachers in a virtual classroom with web 2.0 technology features for collaboration, chatting, knowledge-sharing and collective intelligence generation.
Methodology: Design online lessons and computer games; develop a digital learning environment (DLE); evaluate games and DLE using a formative evaluation approach; perform a content analysis to establish the contribution of online discussions to behavioural change.
Evaluation: Fifty per cent of students preferred games and fifty per cent preferred discussion forums for conveying HIV / AIDS preventive education. The content analysis indicated that students preferred abstinence and identified peer pressure, alcohol consumption, idleness and emotions as risk factors for HIV infection.
Achievements: Creation of a virtual classroom for HIV preventive education; development of two computer games; training teachers and students to use games and virtual classrooms for HIV education; development of GASONEL (Games, Social Networks and Lessons) pedagogy and methodology for web-based HIV educational content design, development and evaluation.
Major lessons learned: Use online lessons and computer games for HIV / AIDS preventive education; bring together students, teachers and HIV counsellors to discuss HIV prevention using web 2.0 social network tools; involve students in building educational drama games based on local cultures.
Recommendations and follow-up action: Involve teachers and HIV counsellors in contextualized game design. Transform the collective intelligence gathered online from students, teachers and HIV counsellors into books for use in schools.
4 February 2010