18 oktober 2023
I am Enrique González Muñoz, a PhD student in Education at the University of Granada, Spain. My thesis and research interests concentrate on Environmental Education, sustainability, and especially, the implementation of innovative and disruptive teaching methodologies in these fields. In my second year of doctoral studies, I have been trying to broaden my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of my thesis; unfortunately, the area I am researching is still in its infancy and despite its importance, there are only a few articles and research groups dedicated to it. This is why I was attracted to the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and its groundbreaking use of escape rooms and board games as educational tools. So, I contacted the Communication, Behaviour and Sustainable Society team (with Wim Elving as lector and Tania Ouariachi Peralta, as researcher known to my advisor and a recognized expert in the field) and decided to undertake a short 3-month research trip.
My visit had two distinct purposes. First, Tania led a nationwide project named “Turn the Lock, Beat the Clock” that centered on an innovative escape room concept, providing an extraordinary opportunity to gain valuable insights for my thesis. Secondly, Hanze had the “We Energy Game”, a board game that piqued my interest due to its subject matter (energy transition) and the lack of serious games that focused on this topic. As I was preparing to deliver an educational training course, it presented the perfect opportunity to showcase the potential of these resources.
My visit provided me with an abundance of enriching experiences. I had the privilege of witnessing the escape room in action, engaging with knowledgeable academics on topics pertinent to my thesis, and attending an array of seminars and forums on sustainability, including the “New Energy Forum.” This symposium was an abundant source of enthralling displays, thought-provoking lectures, and captivating discussions. Additionally, attending sessions on the ‘We Energy Game’ with both university lecturers and high school students, who are part of the target audience of my research, was a truly enlightening experience. Working with a prestigious, multidisciplinary team was undoubtedly a highlight, giving me the opportunity to contribute to collaborative
articles alongside esteemed researchers such as Professor Tania.
Beyond the academic pursuits, it was the warmth and kindness of the Hanze community that truly left an unforgettable impression. Wim and Tania, in particular, graciously welcomed me into their midst, blending me into their activities without a hitch. From communal meals to sincere conversations, they embodied the very essence of hospitality.
Looking back, my visit to Hanze University of Applied Sciences was an immensely enriching experience. I left with a better grasp of the significant impact escape rooms and board games could have in the field of education. The encounter not only expanded my educational outlook but also established enduring connections with a group of individuals sharing the same passion, committed to transforming our approach to climate change, sustainability and energy transition in education. So, if you’re looking for a place to conduct your research stay as PhD, don’t hesitate!