1. Background Information
1.1 What Is Engineers Without Borders?
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) originated from Melbourne as a small group of engineers that wished to fill the void that kept young students from getting experience in rural communities. Since then EWB has grown into a respectable organisation that works alongside developing communities not only in Australia, but also overseas in supporting them and allowing them to obtain the resources, knowledge and technology necessary to improve their standards of living. A lot of the problems EWB faces include helping a community to obtain sanitation, access to clean drinking water, sustainable energy, information communication technology and engineering education.
Within each challenge EWB faces, they strive to achieve certain goals that ensure they have effectively reached a practical and improved solution. Engineers Without Borders' (2010) strategic aims are to:
1. Facilitate meaningful and lasting change
2. Engage individuals and organisations in meaningful volunteerism
3. Improve development engineering practices
4. Nurture development leaders
5. Be a small giant
1.2 Kooma Traditional Owners Association Incorporated
The Kooma Nation is an indigenous community that resides on the borders of Queensland and New South Wales. After acquiring approximately ninety thousand hectares of traditional land from the Indigenous Land Corporation, The Kooma people wish to improve the acquired properties, Bendee Downs and Murra Murra, which are located in rural south east Queensland. These sites were once used for farming and now the Kooma community intend to improve upon these locations for a whole new cultural and environmental expansion to reconnect them to the country.
As well as the current partnership with EWB, the Kooma Traditional Owners Association Incorporated (KTOAI) has also overseen a number of environmental initiatives such as fencing of much of the Nebine River through their property, cleaning up old rubbish dumps around the property and signing up to the Indigenous Protected Area program. They have also run a number of formal courses to develop their skills in permaculture, natural resource management and land management.(Engineers Without Borders 2010).
1.3 Engineers Without Borders & The Kooma Nation Partnership
Engineers Without Borders first started working with the Kooma people in 2006, aiding with restoring dump sites and improving waste management. Later in 2008, a formal partnership agreement was signed between EWB and the KTOAI which certified that they would commit to improving the overall quality of living for the Kooma community.
1.4 Murra Murra & Bendee Downs
The properties consist of two pastoral lease holdings and a small area of free-hold land with a total area of approximately 87,159 hectares (Engineers Without Borders 2010). These two properties are effectively the largest in the region. On the Bendee Downs site, an old shearing shed which is no longer being used is in dire need of maintenance. The KTOAI have sought assistance from the Engineers Without Borders in restoring the shearing shed for cultural, artistic and educational purposes.
One of the challenges that the EWB have been assigned is to design education games that will promote the cultural exchange. These games will be installed on the ten new computers which will be installed into the building. The program must include educational content and topics specific to the Kooma Nation and must be suitable for the intended use on the Bendee Downs property.
There are currently two families that permanently reside in the region who also have taken it upon themselves to maintain the properties. Other Kooma people often visit these two sites for a number of reasons such as family gatherings, courses, cultural affairs and official business. The site is said to have a flow of approximately between fifty to a hundred visitors a week.
The Bendee Downs and Murra Murra sites are located approximately at the coordinates 28oS, 146o W. The primary method of getting to either of these sites is via car for a ten hour drive. The site does have a landing strip, but such methods of transport are too expensive for the people to afford.
Map of the region is shown in Appendix 1.
2. Prior Art
2.1 Educational Computer Games
An educational computer game is classified as software which has been specifically developed to teach/instruct people about a particular subject, strengthen their development, to appreciate a historical event or culture, assist them in their studies or expand upon a subject whilst they participate through the game. Games can come in many different forms in terms of the creation style which they are made. Within these particular styles of game design, certain topics of educational content pair well with them. For example, learning mathematics would be better suited as a primarily text orientated game. If mathematical content was to be included into a first person shooter, the overall purpose of this action genre is lost to a topic which lacks general appeal; thus making it an ineffective educational game.
Because video games are also classified as entertainment, a ‘good' game is one that satisfies the audience's need to be stimulated and kept interested. This is a great challenge in educational game design because the topics that need to be put across are often ones that would be under appreciated if taught in a classroom environment.
3. Project Scope
4. Feasibility Analysis
5. Feasibility of Development
Engineers Without Borders 2010, Design Projects, viewed 11 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/ewbchallenge/backgroundinfo/2010challenge/design>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, History, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/about/aboutewb/history>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, Kooma Traditional Owners Association partnership, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/koomapartnership>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, About EWB, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/about/aboutewb/>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, Our Aims, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/about/aboutewb/ouraims>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, Partner Profile, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/koomapartnership/ktoaprofile>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, 2010 EWB Challenge, viewed 12 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/ewbchallenge/backgroundinfo/2010challenge>
Engineers Without Borders 2010, FAQ's, viewed 13 March 2010, Engineers Without Borders <http://www.ewb.org.au/about/aboutewb/faqs>
EWBAustralia 2010, EWB challenge 2010 - Kooma Nation at Murra Murra, video, 4 March, viewed 13 March 2010, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlabrWv25qQ>
EWBAustralia 2010, EWB Challenge Presentation, video, 4 March, viewed 13 March 2010, <http://www.youtube.com/user/EWBAustralia?feature=mhw4#p/u/0/_pjD4zXlxvA>
Appendix 1. Map of Murra Murra and Bendee Downs (Engineers Without Borders 2010).