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 for the young people with whom they work to tackle crucial topics such as social exclusion and youth marginalisation. A very powerful tool to do this is playing games because "Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning" - Diane Ackerman. Games can address a whole variety of topics in a very accessible way and in a short span of time. 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 creative and innovative solutions and ideas for initiatives to tackle social problems and raise awareness. Especially when working with young people, playing games is a great way of connecting with them, enhancing their sense of social belonging and stimulating them to learn new things. However, because youth workers don’t always have the know-how, the time or the inspiration to come up with new and exciting game-based activities, we designed this project to create a platform for youth workers where they can learn how to create educational games, practice game-building skills and share ideas and good practices with other youth workers from Austria, Armenia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine.

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The aims and objectives of this project were:
- raising awareness about gaming and gamification in educational contexts and introducing it as an efficient alternative tool for working with young people;
- improving youth workers’ 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.

Learning experience:
The main activity of this project was a professional training course for 24 participants from Austria, Armenia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine who came together for a week and learned about the framework of gamification and gaming, including major principles and mechanisms and gained a common understanding about the essentials of board games in the social context. Further, the participants got introduced to the concepts, tools and techniques needed for designing and developing board games with educational value in social contexts that can be applied to young people. As a next step, participants worked in small groups and designed their own games that address different social phenomena that the group was concerned about. Participants were supported by two experienced trainers during the training to design and test several games. 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 and beyond.

Who can participate?
- You live in Austria, Armenia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia or Ukraine (citizens, non-citizens, and residents);
- Able to communicate in English;
- Older than 21 years old;
- Able to participate in the whole duration of the activity;
- Be working with youth and/or being motivated to explore innovative approaches in youth work,
- Ready to experiment, and commit to working on creating a board game and its further development;
- Ready to support dissemination and visibility activities online and offline;
- You wish to learn more non-formal skills, methods and workshop techniques;
- You enjoy working and cooperating with others;
- You would like to build closer connections with an international community.

How much does it cost?
- The accommodation, training, materials, meals, and transport are covered to the determined limits.
- Participants are required to book their own transport to and from Rustavi/Tbilisi and we will refund the eligible costs to you after your successful participation,
- It is financed by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ Programme.

Participation rules?
- You must have the time to attend the entire activity from 4th to 11th February 2022.
- You should involve yourself in all preparation and follow up activities to the best of your abilities.
- You should fill out the application form before Wednesday 01 December 2022.
- You should sign the participation agreement once selected, within a period of three days.

- You should purchase your travel tickets within a period of five days after signing the participation agreement.

Dates and times?
From 01. December 2021 to 31. January 2022 (in various stages)
February 4th to 11th (in Rustavi/Tbilisi, Georgia)
March 2022-August 2022 (several follow up calls and activities)

Important notes:
- Applicants will be reviewed and accepted based on their motivation.
- More details will be confirmed after selection via email.
- We will select participants based on the timeliness of applications.

You will receive a YouthPass certificate on the last day of the training.

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