AWWWARE is firstly a non-commercial browser-based online game for children and young people in the 10–12-year age group. A game character in the form of a raven is seen holding on to a mouse pointer waving around in the wind like a kite, guiding it through a labyrinth of web pages. The player has to master a succession of tasks, avoiding online content that is irrelevant or harmful for young internet users. Players receive feedback on their internet skills according to their accumulated points scores and a detailed analysis of their performance.
Teachers can use AWWWARE to make pupils aware of the dangers that lie in wait for them on the internet, in a protected gaming environment where their safety will never be at risk. AWWWARE works with quotations from real websites, but all the image data is hidden. The indirect control of the mouse pointer has the effect of slowing down internet surfing, giving the player more time to think. Teachers can also develop their own tasks and levels for AWWWARE, with a user-friendly editor.
AWWWARE as a research tool
With support from the Swiss National Research Foundation (SNF) the Institute for Media and Schools at the Central Switzerland University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschule Zentralschweiz) is undertaking a series of quasi-experimental studies to investigate what aspects of serious games are conducive to in-depth absorption of the learning content, and what aspects detract from such learning. There is a particular focus on examining the importance of support learning tasks and advice to enhance learning processes for players of educational games.
The development process was funded by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung foundation.