lunes, 30 de septiembre de 2019

ERASMUS + ROMANIA: RE: PLAY! Gamification in Youth Work.

Por Jana Blahová

-11 days long Training Course (TC) 

-23 youth leaders from 7 European Countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, Italy, Latvia, and Spain (participants: Helena, Rafi, Oscar, and Jana).

- Busteni, Romania 31st Aug – 10th Sept 2019

RE:Play was based on the premise that creative recycling and edugames (used in youth work, communities, workshops, trainings), which were approaching urgent issues related to social exclusion, disempowerment, and radicalization of young people, as well as various global challenges, are making a very big contribution by including young people (because they are innovative, attractive, user-friendly), raising awareness, responsibility and engaging diverse target groups.

Gamification is a method which can include points, leader boards, direct competitions, and stickers or badges, and can be found in industries as varied as personal healthcare, retail—and, of course, education. Games, in any form, increase motivation through engagement.

Creative recycling is a process when you give a new life to waste materials by designing and creating something unique and designed. It gives the opportunity to look at waste materials (as well as circumstances, our environment, human resources around us) as a source of inspiration, as a base from which we can start, build and create. 

As it was already mentioned the topic of the TC was creative recycling, upcycling and edugames, and how to develop and create games by using recycled materials.

Before the training course, I was as much excited as my friends. Every day we received a lot of information about this magical experience. The organizers had prepared us that it will be a really intensive course. And yes, it was. At the beginning it looked it will not be such a great experience but after 2 days it had already the right impulse. I do have no idea how but the spirit of the group was built. The group started to be Group. We worked, talked, created, ate, drank, laughed, danced, sang together, we got to know each other; we had a lot of fun...

The structure of the day there was followed: breakfast (8:30-9:30), break (11:30-12:00), lunch (13:30-15:00), break (16:30-17:00), dinner (19:00-20:00) and between was the program. 
After (almost) every activity there was feedback, evaluation of our feelings, what did we work on, what did we think during the activity…

In some days during the TC we also had “home” meetings where we analyzed how we are, how we feel, what we do in our lives, we talked about ourselves… 
The firsts half of days of TC we created stuff from recycled material, and the second one continued with gamification. In the half of the TC, the structure was changed and we managed the program by ourselves - we created the board games and also we presented the program (TC, non-formal education,) to teachers and orphans.    

The arrival day (Saturday, 31.8.) was a day full of explanations, the introduction of the daily structure of the program, getting to know each other, and some administrative stuff. 

The second day (Sunday, 1.9.) started with norms of the training course/venue/group. The followed activity was talking about Erasmus+ experiences. After this short and informative energizer, there we created a Masterpiece. Every participant should be in the silent and during 45minutes create his/her Masterpiece. The afternoon was started with gamification, storytelling and it finished with Dixit game which we played in 4 groups. The day was finished by watching some inspiriting short movies. 

The third day (Monday, 2.9.) we meditated about our strongest and the best memory of the childhood, drew by fingers, did the land art in the wood, created the feelings of the memory of our childhood. We were divided into 3 groups. Each group should choose one of the different kind of games (commercial ones, amateurs ones and the ones focus on 8 competences of YouthPass). Chosen games were: Activity, 4 elements, and Life Choices. We played games, wrote and observed competences and complements. At the end of the day, were organized the intercultural night. At first, there was a small quiz about cultures and every country has a small presentation about the country (talking, dancing, singing, eating and drinking typical foods and drinks).

In the Fourth day (Tuesday, 3.9.), there were 3 groups of materials (plastics, paper, and textile) in the workshop room. Everybody should choose what s/he would like to create. We learned a new recycled technique - transformation plastic bags to other useful things by ironing technique, we create wallets from tetra packs, notebooks from paper and carton, new stuff from textile...and we thought about the topics we would like to create the game. The chosen topics were: the language, historic-culture, SDGs, imagination, and self-develop. Each board game`s group thought about the structure, strategy, and rules of the games. The Spanish team worked on historic-culture and SDGs´s topic.

The fifth day (Wednesday, 4.9.) was the trip day. The all group was divided into 5 teams according to board games. Each team should do the given tasks. And of course, the Spanish team wanted to go together so we waited for each other. We decided to go to see the Waterfalls but we have seen only the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni because after the visitation of the castle there was totally rainy weather. And we dd not have time to go so see another place.  

The sixth days (Thursday 5.9.) we worked on our board games and prepared material, games, stuff for exhibitions, divided tasks for the next day.

The seventh and eight days (Friday 6.9./Saturday 7.9.) were the show days. We discussed which program we would like to prepare for 20 teachers. The task was to promote non-formal education, how to practice it, what is our program about, what have we done...Our program included an introduction, energizers, dividing to groups, playing board games, creation of wallets, an exhibition of the stuff we have created.

The second show day was for children (orphans). We met on the amphitheater; we started with aerobic exercise with sticks in our hands by led of instructor. Then we played with children (board games, chalk drawing, drawing of stones, and creation wallet from tetra packs). Evening there was a ”suprize”, a bonfire with dancing, singing, eating, drinking Rumanian “palenka” and hot wine.

The ninth day (Sunday, 8.9.), were improved and tested games and we started to create booklet (writing what the project was about; describing games, etc.). 

The tenth day (Monday, 9.9.) was the dissemination day, the evaluation day and goodbye day.

Whole training course was such a unique experience, a journey of learning, growing, recycling, connecting, creating, while setting up and playing by our own rules in a group context. During the project, we explored different social thematic, we explored the steps required for developing sustainable materials and cooperative edugames. We improved 8 key competences: multilingual competence; personal, social and learning to learn competence; citizenship competence; entrepreneurship competence; cultural awareness and expression competence; digital competence; mathematical competence and competence in science, technology and engineering; and literacy competence.

I am really happy I could be there. I have learned a lot of useful things for my personal and professional life. Going to training courses (but also Youth Exchanges) is such a perfect opportunity to improve yourself, overcome, 

and go out of your comfort zone!

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