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Reinforcing Games as an Educational Tool for Social Change
- a professional development training for youth workers & youth leaders -
Youth workers are challenged to constantly create learning opportunities to tackle crucial topics such as social exclusion. A very powerful tool to do this is playing games because "Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning". Games can address a variety of topics in a very accessible way and efficiently. Whether it’s global warming, poverty, leadership skills or conflict transformation: a game can help us to actively process new and complex information and find innovative solutions and ideas for initiatives to tackle social problems and raise awareness. Especially when working with youngsters, playing games is a great way of connecting with them, enhancing their sense of belonging and stimulating their learning and tackling youth exclusion and building a more cohesion local society.
The aims and objectives of this project were:
- raising awareness about gamification in educational contexts and introducing it as an efficient alternative tool in youth work;
- improving competences in engaging young people in their communities in their regular activities by using gamification techniques;
- creating a framework for developing educational games through experiential approaches towards learning;
- developing a set of educational board games to be used in the youth work field.
The main activity of this project was a professional training course for 27 participants from Austria, Armenia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine who came together and learned about the framework of gamification, including major principles and mechanisms and gained a common understanding of the essentials of board games in the social context. Participants got introduced to the concepts, tools and techniques needed for designing board games with educational value that can be used with young people. Participants worked in small groups and designed their own games that address different social concerning phenomena. Finally, the participants had the opportunity to pivot their newly designed games and think together about future action plans to be implemented on the local level with young people and beyond.
Outputs of the project:
The results of this project are directly connected with its main objectives and the desired learning outcomes and impact. One of the tangible results is the set of six educational games that were created by the participants on different socially relevant topics during the training. These topics were Bullying, Inclusion, Intercultural Dialogue, Political Participation, Democratic Participation, and S.T.E.M. After the training, a resource folder was created and shared with the participants where additional materials and manuals were compiled and presented to the group of participants in the learning environment created by the team. Besides the tangible outcomes, results of this training mainly lay in its intangible outcomes, which are directly connected to learning and competences acquired by the participants, who went through the whole cycle of the educational game creation process, understood, internalized and practised each step and are now able to adapt and apply these learning outcomes in their work. More details about this project are published on the ERASMUS+ results platform in this Project Card.
This project was funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union through the Austrian National Agency OeAD.
Impressions from the Local Follow-up Initiatives
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