In 2020, Sutton Council Cultural Services received a £25,000 Engaging Libraries award to raise awareness about misinformation in an increasingly digital age. Almost half of all UK library services applied for this funding, with only 14 making the final selection.
The result of this highly sought after funding is NewsFlash! – a fun online video game for 8-12 year olds with supporting educational resources for parents, carers and teachers. Both the game and supporting resources aim to enhance digital literacy and introduce children to the skills needed to critically think about misinformation. NewsFlash! will enable pre-teens to analyse their research habits, develop skills for assessing the legitimacy of information consumed, and support better understanding of the impact of misinformation.
Partners on the project include Dr Gianfranco Polizzi from the University of Birmingham, whose research focuses on education and digital literacy. Teachers and students from Stanley Park Junior School and Glenthorne High School also participated in focus groups during the development of the game – their input directly influenced the game designer and writer, Adam Dixon, to use the ‘mystery’ genre as the basis of the game.
As part of their participation, pupils from Stanley Park Junior School took part in a ‘design your own game character’ competition. This produced two winning characters which now feature in the game (look out for Newsie and the Pumpking!) For the pupils from Glenthorne, their participation was rewarded with the opportunity of taking part in a Q&A session with the game’s designer, Adam Dixon. This of course proved highly popular!
Sutton Cultural Services would like to thank all the partners and participants who provided support, guidance and feedback during the development of NewsFlash!. Thanks also to the Engaging Libraries team and our funders for the opportunity.
If you have played the game, explored our resources or attended associated project events, please let our funders know how we did by completing this short survey. Your feedback will help us see how we did and what we can improve in future projects. It also helps the Engaging Libraries funding partners, Carnegie UK Trust, Wellcome and The Wolfson Foundation, understand the reach and success of their funding.