‘Can interactive entertainment change children’s perceptions of maggot therapy?’ That was the question Dr Sean Walton, Lecturer in Computer Science at Swansea University, asked, and using CHERISH-DE funding, he created the "Love A Maggot" educational game which will be the centre piece of a teacher pack aligned with the new Welsh Science Curriculum.
The Swansea University ‘Love a Maggot’ campaign, led by Professor Yamni Nigam, raises awareness of the use of living maggots as a clinical treatment to help clear and heal chronic wounds.
Sean comments: “Despite being an incredibly effective way of treating wounds, many patients refuse maggot treatment as they don’t like the thought of this. This squeamishness is actually learnt behaviour and before children are 12 or 13 they are still receptive to the medical use of maggots. By educating children about maggot therapy using this game, we are hoping they will in turn pass this information on to their parents and grandparents.”
Using a £10k escalator fund Sean developed a prototype of the maggot game, which led to talks with the Welsh Government regarding schools’ science curriculum. A further escalator enabled him to work with Stephen Mitchel, a Masters student, to develop the loveamaggot.com game, which has since been showcased in schools across Wales and to Welsh Government. The 'Love a Maggot’ campaign has also gained national media attention when maggot therapy was used in a storyline in BBC’s ‘Casualty’.
As well as promoting the use of maggot therapy, Sean and Stephen are currently using the information from the project to further their research into educational game design.
Sean's research in the media
Game developers' approaches to communicating climate change
Predicting effective control parameters for differential evolution using cluster analysis of objective function features