Imagine a regular morning: You start your day with a cup of coffee, slip into your comfortable cotton shirt and make yourself some delicious muesli with lots of fresh fruit and nuts. You would have to do without all of this if it weren't for those important little helpers - our wild bees. More than 550 different species of wild bees are known in Germany but more than half of them are on the Red List or have already become extinct. Consequences are devastating: wild bees significantly contribute to the diversity of our ecosystem. However, the "wild sisters" of our well-known honey bees are often rather unknown creatures. Hence, raising awareness about the many challenges they face is of utmost importance.
In this project, we are developing an intelligent application for classroom settings, which shows the great importance of wild bees for our ecosystem with a game-based approach. Our goal is to develop a cross-platform mobile application to increase sustainable awareness about the protection of wild bees. The current prototype includes six levels with different mini games related to topics such as biodiversity, nesting places, feeding habits or enemies, which also relate to real-world activities. These are embedded in project workshops and enable the user to transfer the virtual information into environmental actions.
The application starts with a grid (4 x 3) consisting of 11 different wild bee species and a honey bee character. Each character’s name emerges from the given latin name of the species and involves both male and female wild bees. The design process of the characters for our first prototype – Mia, Terris, Mani, Coelia, Chilli and Hirti – has already been completed. Further characters are currently in preparation.
We already collected the requirements for the app in a workshop with teachers, experts for wild bees and members of the project team. Based on our evaluating of the findings afterward, an exciting story emerged. It includes diverse biologically well-founded characters, such as the garden wool bee Mani or the mason bee Mia, which will soon take users on a journey to discover their secrets. We are currently translating our many ideas into a technically feasible framework to implement our first prototype. It will make its way into the classroom of some of our participating schools during a first testing phase in summer 2022. At the same time, the project team is already working on using the app in other languages and discovering new stories with Mani and Mia.
- Mönch, J., Stock, A., Baatz, J., Krieglstein, F., Stock, O., Suren, M., Rey, G. D., & Wirzberger, M. (2022). “Wild sisters” meet app: Connecting virtual and real worlds to foster environmental awareness in classroom settings. In C. Bermeitinger, & W. Grave (Eds.), 52nd Congress of the German Psychological Society. Pabst Science Publishers. [presented as talk in the symposium "Green Ergonomics: An Engineering Psychology Perspective on Sustainable Development"]
- Wirzberger, M., Bornemeier, J., Kampel, S., Álvarez Serrano, M. G., Ullmann, L., & Rey, G. D. (2021). Umwelt trifft App: Verbindung virtueller und realer Welten in der Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung – Kurzbericht [Environment meets app: Connecting virtual and real worlds in education for sustainable development – Short report]. Umweltpsychologie, 1, 123–132.
- Theodosius Florentini Schule
- Bodelschwingschule Sindelfingen
- Johannes Kepler Gemeinschaftsschule Magstadt
- Gymnasium Neckartenzlingen
- St. Ursula Gymnasium Freiburg
- Braike Grundschule Nürtingen
This project is funded by the German Environmental Foundation (DBU).
Introduction of the BeeLife project in Hildesheim
At the occasion of the 52nd Congress of the German Psychological Society in Hildesheim, our project was featured with a talk in a symposium on "Green Ergonomics: An Engineering Psychology Perspective on Sustainable Development", which was organized by our colleague Prof. Dr. Thomas Franke, head of the professorship "Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics" at the Institute for Multimedia and Interactive Systems at the University of Lübeck.