It seems appropriate that Malta Cafe Scientifique’s first totally digital event of the season would be, Malta Café Scientifique: Rebooting the Classroom, a discussion on how digital tools and video games could be used to revolutionise the classroom of the future.
More used to introducing speakers and experts in front of a crowd, event organiser and host Danielle Martine Farrugia had to present to a grid of expectant faces, a view we are all too used to by now.
Danielle was joined by Dr Iro Voulgari, from the Institute of Digital Games - University of Malta, Jonathan Barbara, senior lecturer in Creative Computing and Games Design at Saint Martin's Institute of Higher Education, and Dr Leonard Busuttil from the department of Technology and Entrepreneurship Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.
The panel talked about how computer games can be used as tools to introduce pupils to new situations and to enhance empathy, and how video games allow for immersive storytelling like no other medium, where you truly have control of what happens. Although it might take some time for these resources to be embraced by the school systems, there seems to be a place and an ever-growing demand for educational tools that keep pupils engaged as well as supplement their learning. Even without the usual wine and nibbles (that we could see) the conversation went on long after the speakers had said their bit, with questions on Minecraft, storytelling, and the philosophy of video games.
We all may be missing going out and seeing each other without too much worry, but Malta Café Scientifique will continue to try and bring a safe physical event where possible (with a much-reduced crowd and also streamed live on social media) very soon, however, some events will still be solely online, for the time being, so now there really is no excuse to miss out.
Their next event will be a look at how our lives could be impacted by our aging population and how electromagnetism could provide some solutions. More details may be sought online.