Playing a Pokemon-like card game about ecology and biodiversity can result in broader knowledge of species and a better understanding of ecosystems than traditional teaching methods, like slideshows, according to a study. The research, published in the journal Palgrave Communications, works similarly to Pokemon trading cards, but uses real organisms and natural events instead of imaginary characters. Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada examined how people who played the Phylo game retained information about species and ecosystems, and how it impacted their conservation behaviour. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThey compared the results to people who watched an educational slideshow, and those who played a different game that did not focus on ecosystems. “Participants who played the Phylo game weren’t just remembering iconic species like the blue whale and sea otter, but things like phytoplankton, zooplankton and mycorrhizal fungi,” said Meggie Callahan, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. “They would say things like, ‘I really needed this card because it was the base of my ecosystem,’ or, ‘When my partner destroyed my phytoplankton it killed all of my chain of species.’ Obviously, the game is sending a strong message that is sticking with them,” said Callahan. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardParticipants in both the Phylo Game group and slideshow group improved their understanding of ecosystems and species knowledge. However, those who played the Phylo Game were able to recall a greater number of species. They were also more motivated to donate the money they received to preventing negative environmental events, such as climate change and oil spills. “The message for teachers is that we need to use all possible ways to engage the public and get them interested in and caring about the issues of species extinctions and ecosystem destructions,” said Callahan. “Our study shows that this can be a really beneficial way of learning about species, and their ecosystems and environments,” she said. Researchers used a deck created for the Beaty Biodiversity Museum that focused on British Columbia’s ecosystems, but there are many other versions of the Phylo cards circulating the world. A global community of artists, institutions, scientists and game enthusiasts have created numerous iterations of the game – including decks featuring west coast marine life, dinosaurs, and microbes.
Since July 2017 Scotland Yard has deployed spit guards 151 times and many officers see them as a protective barrier between themselves and a potentially dangerous suspect. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. However, many civil liberty groups have welcomed the move, calling the mesh hoods placed over suspects’ heads “dangerous and degrading” and hailing it as “ a step in the right direction from Cressida Dick”.Gracie Bradley, Advocacy Manager for Liberty added that the hoods have been linked to a number of deaths in custody and a “robust” case for their use has not yet been made.Matt Twist, Scotland Yard’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner said: “Over a number of years the Met has been looking at potential ways of minimising the threat this issue poses to officers and staff. One of the options that has been considered is spit and bite guards.”We continue to monitor the use of spit and bite guards in the Met and are working with the Met Federation about encouraging police officers to report when they are spat at so we ensure we have accurate records of this.”Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, has confirmed their use would not be extended to the front line. Sajid Javid said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the mesh hoods had not yet been adopted by all British forces in a speech at the Police Federation conference in MayCredit:Toby Melville/Reuters The Home Secretary and the UK’s most senior police officer have clashed over the use of spit hoods on suspects by front line police officers.Commissioner Cressida Dick said the equipment that prevents people from spitting and biting officers should only be used in custody suites and not during arrests, despite support for them from Sajid Javid.The decision comes after the Home Secretary said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the mesh hoods had not yet been adopted by all British forces in a speech at the Police Federation conference in May.Over 30 of the 43 forces in England and Wales use spit hoods, with many including the British Transport Police, issuing them to frontline officers.Dick’s announcement follows a lengthy trial of their use in custody during which Scotland Yard has used hoods in all custody suites.The decision has been met with anger by The Metropolitan Police Federation who have labelled the move “absurd”, insisting the hoods “do not cause any stress whatsoever.”Ken Marsh, The Federation’s Chairman , said “no member of the public will ever see a spit guard until they have spat at one of my colleagues.”