Corona Minister in action

During the corona lockdown, we held an online seminar with 155 students from the Academy for Talented Youth (ATU). ScienceAtHome researchers Jacob Sherson and Arthur Hjorth shared how it is to work as a scientist and what ScienceAtHome projects are investigating, and the students also got to play the game Corona Minister. This game simulates the challenges policymakers face during a pandemic and how different interventions can affect the population - read more about the game in our previous blog.

Screenshot from the Corona Minister game

The seminar is part of the project CoronaGoHome which focuses on how young people are managing their everyday life during the pandemic. And CoronaGoHome is part of the bigger project ”Data om dig og de andre” (Data about you and the others) where ScienceAtHome is collaborating with Professor Carsten Obel and his team, exploring and co-creating new forms of communication on mental health, data, and technology use with young people.

We used this opportunity to ask the students about their own experiences during this time of crisis and how it has affected their lives both positively and negatively. The responses collected from the students are valuable for us to improve the Corona Minister game and understand more about the effects of the corona pandemic on young people. It gives us insights into their points of view during a time where a lot of focus is on the immediate and large economic and health effects of the pandemic rather than more subtle consequences for e.g. young people.

We collected responses concerning the negative effects and here are some quotes from the young people and a word cloud from the negatively phrased sentences:

“It also deeply affects the mind that we can’t have ambition or plans for the foreseeable future.”

“During this quarantine it has been harder to maintain good habits. It’s easier to eat unhealthy food and lay in bed than it is to get up and get something out of this time, where we in reality have more time than before”

“Corona has cost me some great friends because I was not able to see them and had to prioritize.”

The young people also shared experiences on the more positive side:

“Oddly enough have these challenges only caused me to rethink what I am spending my time on and put more appreciation to my time.”

“This might teach us how to live life day by day instead of always thinking about the future”

“There has been a change in my diet. It has become healthier.”

We got a lot of positive feedback concerning the seminar. The students reported that they found it interesting to participate in research by playing the game and that they liked how it became interdisciplinary by connecting computer models to politics. For many of them, it was a nice surprise that the seminar was on the current hot topic: COVID-19! We are always happy to interact with young people and inspire them to learn more about how it is to work in the research field. And we are glad that we were able to capture their interest and allow them to explore the difficult decisions related to such a crisis that policymakers have to address by giving them the tools to try out the role of a Corona Minister.

On the 30th of June, the ATU students will gather for a day in Herning. We will host a workshop on computer modeling and epidemics to show how the use of technology can help us answer important questions for research and policymaking. We will use this opportunity to collaborate with the students on the possibilities for further development of the Corona Minister game based on their particular challenges. Going forward, we hope to be able to further develop the Corona Minister game, also using the input from the students, with the aim to create a more holistic game with wider possible applications in education and policymaking. And we look forward to meeting the ATU students in person this time - with the appropriate amount of distancing of course!

On the same day, Jacob Sherson will join a panel discussion for World's Biggest SEL Online Conference. The topic for the discussion is social-emotional learning (SEL) and Education in Emergencies! It is free and only requires you to register here. The discussion starts at 22.00 CEST on the 30th of June. See you there!


Corona Minister in action