Finding 1 - Basic to Complex
“Before playing the simulation, I really did not know anything about the social aspect of Fort McMurray. I think that in a lot of ways it resembles my own community - on the surface, it looks nice, the community centres are large and luxurious, and the houses are big. But, deeper below the surface, there are people struggling on the streets trying to make a living as the gap between rich and poor widens.” (student survey response)
One of the first questions the students were asked in both surveys was “What word, phrase, or image comes to mind when you hear the term ‘oil sands’?”. Here are the results displayed in word cloud formats (the size of the word is proportional to the frequency it appears in the responses):
As I previously mentioned, I wanted to find out if Fort McMoney would help students see that the issues related to the oil sands go far beyond the usual ‘environment versus the economy’ debate. These pre- and post-survey word clouds seem to suggest that the game is successful in this regard. While the pre-survey responses (Figure 1) are heavily dominated by words such as “Alberta”, “money”, “dirty”, “economy”, “pollution”, and “environment”, the post-survey responses (Figure 2) include many of these words but we also see a high frequency of responses such as “drugs”, “alcohol”, “homeless”, “corruption”, and “opportunity”. Other words and phrases such as “mistreatment of women”, “Aboriginal”, and “health problems” also appear in the post-survey while they do not appear in the pre-survey.