Kids exploring ethical choices in unnatural biologies


Session Title:

  • Digital Pedagogies

Presentation Title:

  • Kids exploring ethical choices in unnatural biologies




  • Dr Egg Digital is creating cutting edge interactive children’s entertainment with a twist. Exploring biotech science and ethics, this trans-media project seeks to engage kids via embedded gaming mechanics and animation within an interactive storyworld. Based on the prize winning, internationally successful theatre show Dr Egg and The Man With No Ear, the interactive storybook app is set in a fantastical interactive laboratory. The Dr Egg interactive storyworld explores cloning and genetic modification through the eyes of three young characters. The stories have strong educational and cross-platform potential extending into interactive publications, TV episodes/webisodes, mobile cross-platform apps, and games. Originally dramaturged by SymbioticA’s leading Science-Art practitioner Dr Ionatt Zurr, the work references real scientific and ethical dilemmas, such as therapeutic stem cell technologies, cloning, xeno-transplantation and ethical laboratory practices. The interactive storybook/browser allows the largely 8-13 year old audience to explore the story as well as interact with animated and gaming elements. The main user experience whilst gaming will be to ‘collect’ objects such as seeds or body parts, making ethical choices about creation and destruction, encouraging scientific investigation around systematic collecting and ethical decision-making. The Literature and Inter-Arts boards of the Australia Council have funded the writing of interactive pathways and production of the multi media assets. Can children learn about ethical choices while they play games? OR do they want to play with mutant creations just to have fun and destroy the bad guys? How do we run market tests that reflect both entertainment value and explore ethical responses? In this creative presentation Dr Egg Digital creative director and writer Catherine Fargher, trans media project manager Dani Wiessner, screen director Maia Horniak, script editor Gina Roncoli and game developer Zina Kaye discuss market testing, educational strategies and Linean collection systems as a means of getting kids into ethics.