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Create A Shield – Connecting Kiwi Kids Through Gaming

A homegrown Kiwi company that bills itself as the Netflix of education content and a NZ foundation, have joined forces to release a new youth, wellbeing game today.

‘Create a Shield’ is the latest in AFED Education’s classroom resources that give youngsters a chance to learn key skills through online play they can relate to.

The game encourages learners to work through sessions focused on building qualities like confidence and resilience, while accumulating rewards.

The development of the game was funded by Te Puni Kōkiri as part of its support for initiatives that improve rangatahi wellbeing and resilience, through the Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Fund. The Jean Swainson Foundation did the digital development work to create the resource for Afed Education to distribute.

“The aim is to create an easy-to-use and relevant resource for teachers, parents and iwi groups to help support rangatahi,” says the game inventor Cam Swainson-Whaanga.

“We are walking towards the kids, helping them move through the steps to long-lasting resilience in ways that they like to absorb information. It’s in their language, at their fingertips, fun and engaging and it takes them to the heart of the skills and knowledge they need to look after themselves well.”

Modules in the game include hauora (wellbeing), hinengaro (good mental health), building confidence and resilience, and dealing with sadness and depression. It includes a view of life lessons and values, the importance of being connected, and teamwork and mentors.

Create a Shield has 18 levels, and 180 video lessons and questions, quizzes and rewards, all built in partnership with providers who run rangatahi and tamariki health and wellbeing initiatives across Aotearoa, including Te Tai Timu Trust, Te Rau Ora and Tu Kaha Foundation.

The AFED Education online platform, built in Wairoa using top end Māori tech talent, was launched to a keen reception by teachers and students earlier this year.

Launch videos for an earlier financial literacy module also supported by Te Puni Kōkiri show educators thrilled to have learners so enthusiastically engaged with chewing through the levels of financial knowledge and skills, and with the confident use of te reo Māori throughout, that supports their transfer of the language to students.

Comments from teachers included “The kids connect, because it’s pretty cool”, and “I had fun, I learnt, the kids learnt,” while students comment that they love seeing themselves progress within their squad: “I like being able to level up!”

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