It is Monday the 30th of May, at the University of Patras. It is a hot spring morning, and the time has arrived for iLearn4Health to officially start taking shape. The partnership consists of 8 organizations from 5 countries: the University of Patras and p-consulting.gr from Greece, COMCY along with Agias Napas’ Primary School from Cyprus, FSLI from Romania, OIC Poland Foundation from Poland, and of course Centro San Viator and Errotu coming from Spain. The project’s 13 met, and after 2 days of discussion, planning, stressing a bit, eating great Greek delicatessens and effectively envisioning the progress of the project, we can safely say that the 1st iLearn4Health Meeting was a success!
How it all started
Nobody is powerful enough to not pay attention to their parents’ (especially moms’) advice. And no matter how much the whole process annoyed us as children, believe it or not, they (mostly) turned out to be right. Who would believe that! What was the no. 1 advice though, that our parents kept repeating and repeating, until we became hardwired and programmed to follow? Well, I don’t know about you, but I can still hear it inside my head; “Wash your hands, brush your teeth, DO NOT EAT GARBAGE, keep your clothes clean”! And back then we all remember how that felt, how we didn’t want to obey any of these, because health was not yet a concept worth our time.
How times (and people) roll and change however, and the last few years have come, to contradict our young and innocent beliefs, with the most pompous way. Yes, children carry the truth and light of the world within them; and for matters that they need help with, iLearn4Health is here!
And not only the Covid era forced the whole world to re-evaluate the concepts of health, personal hygiene, and the respective measures, but it also suckles an entire generation on these concepts. Kids that are discovering life and its beauty with a mask on, without being able to see their friends, relatives even. Kids that have to think and behave as grown-ups would (or should), show responsibility, to the point of feasible, and experience a massive number of activities that would normally take place face to face, in the digital world. School and education, peer communication, and hobbies, are only a few.
As one would easily imagine, a young and restless age, does not cooperate well with so many rules and changes, especially when forced. Identifying the above and aiming at the same time to answer all the ‘questions’ asked during a world-altering pandemic, iLearn4Health came to life!
The Kick – Off Meeting
Day 1: With all the above making circles in our minds and after having created a clear framework of what’s to be achieved through the project, the whistle was blown. The agenda included everything that is crucial to the initiation of a project of such extent, as well as setting goals on activities and project results that will take place later on. The first day began with an overview of the project, with partners going through the main aims and objectives, activities, and deliverables. After the introduction was over, we dived into deep waters.
The participants analyzed in detail all 3 of the project’s results: the ‘Electronic Diagnostic Tool’, the ’Digital Educational Games’ that shall be developed, and of course the ‘Online Training Program on Health Promotion and Health Education’, which focuses on the empowerment of teachers on the mentioned subjects.
Day 2: The 2nd day, with the palpable progress from the 1st day giving us strength, partners discussed on the ‘Risk Management Plan’, which includes risks and dangers that are possible to appear, as well as the practices to be followed, in order to tackle them and minimize their effects. The subject however that drew all the attention, were the strategies behind the dissemination of the project and its activities. In simple words, the partnership agreed in the ways that iLearn4Health is going to become known to the respective target groups. The project’s website, brochures and posters, media releases and newsletters, as well as online educational platforms, everything in the service of educating people on the cause and engaging them on the upcoming activities.
It was not easy; especially when the topic is so sensitive and most of the work involves young kids. But after a few hours, with all the suggestions and opinions having been noted, we finally were able to relax (just a bit), knowing that iLearn4Health had just made its first, steady steps, into a wild wild world, thirsty for innovation and progress.
The aim of the Project
The project aims to provide high-quality health education in primary schools, by implementing the Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) method, while at the same time training the teachers in the theoretical aspects of the concept, as well as the digital tools of the method. Students will have the chance to become educated on the concept of health and its values, and at the same time teachers will expand their skills and educational arsenal via courses and tools developed with them in mind.
The Results of the iLearn4Health Project
- Electronic Diagnostic Tool to diagnose the effectiveness of the DGBL method on children’s learning: An Electronic Diagnostic Tool that will identify the factors regarding the effectiveness of DGBL on students. The tool will be accessible online via all digital devices. At the end of the process an automatically generated report will offer insight, regarding the effectiveness of DGBL to students.
- Digital Educational Games for health promotion and health education in primary schools: Health education and promotion themed games as part of the DGBL platform. 6 (six) games will be created, suitable for children aged 6-12, with animations and graphics where needed. Each game will be based on a different thematic, according to the age group targeted: “Healthy dietary habits”, “Be Active-Train yourself”, “Accidents and Protection”, “Stereotypes and stigma in community”, “Internet addiction”, “Sexual health promotion and interpersonal relationships-The gender difference”. The games developed, will be fully accessible, downloadable, and playable via all devices.
- Online Training Program in Health Promotion and Health Education through DGBL: The Training Program will focus on teachers/head teachers in primary schools Trainees will improve skills on health education and DGBL related subjects, such as what is public health, why is it important for children and how do we train them according to their age, and why and how to use DGBL during the learning process.
The Target Groups
The project is addressed to:
- Teachers and head teachers in primary schools
- Teachers responsible for health and safety in primary schools.
- Children 6-12 years old and their parents
- Primary schools’ teachers’ networks and organizations
- Experts/professionals in DGBL
- Experts/professionals in children education
- Experts/professionals in public health & health education
- Training institutions
- Post-graduate students from educational sciences’ departments.
- Parenting networks and organizations
- Organizations promoting health education
- Organizations for children’s education
- Public and private educational and health authorities and stakeholders
- Universities with Departments of Educational Sciences & Departments of Medicine.
- University of Patras – Greece
- p-consulting.gr -Greece
- COMCY – Cyprus
- Agia Napa Primary School – Antoni Tsokkou – Cyprus
- FSLI – Romania
- OIC Poland Foundation – Poland
- Centro San Viator – Spain
- Errotu – Spain
We are here! Stay tuned!