By Beth Forbes
Master of disaster
|Disaster Dave (top)
helps young teens learn disaster-readiness skills in
Disaster Dave's Misadventures, a new educational computer
game developed by Purdue Extension and the Federal Emergency
The saga opens with the young hero, Disaster
Dave, surveying the city's skyline. He ponders what
trouble the day might bring.
As he picks up his backpack to leave for
school, snow begins to fall in a slow, swirling dance. Its
beauty belies the bedlam that may later befall the city.
Our hero's anticipation of danger heightens.
Does this gangly, quirky teen have what it takes to protect
the residents of the city?
The safety of this city, and others like it around the world, lies in
the hands of those armed with the knowledge to handle all types of emergencies.
Disaster preparedness is no gameunless you're playing this
Disaster Dave's Misadventures is
an educational computer game developed by Purdue
Extension with funding from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA). The focus of the game is to learn disaster-readiness
skills in a fun and entertaining fashion. This is done through
Disaster Dave, who leads students through a variety of natural
and other disasters. Targeted to middle school/junior high
students, players test their knowledge of how to handle situations
that occur in disasters through a series of simulated events.
From blizzards to earthquakes and floods
to tornadoes, this fictional community is either destroyed
or spared based on the skills of the player. For example,
Disaster Dave faces a snow emergency. He has to decide how
and when to take shelter and what items to pack in disaster
supply kits. If he makes the right choices, the city and
its residents easily make it through the storm. However,
if he makes poor choices, the simulated storm worsens, and
the city suffers.
"We know that students learn best when
they interact with the materials," says Purdue 4-H specialist
Roger Tormoehlen. "We designed the game to provide simulated
scenarios, portraying real disasters that can be influenced
by the student's actions."
In Disaster Dave's Misadventures, correct
choices keep the city's disaster losses at a minimum,
while wrong decisions send the city into chaos. Animated
destruction and statistics gauge the possible loss of life.
The game is scored on the player's knowledge of disasters.
The CD-ROM is the brainchild of disaster
communication specialist Steve Cain. Tormoehlen provided
curriculum development and Web programmer Craig Personette
supplied the technical assistance.
Master of disaster