Five pilot training courses took place between October 2013 and June 2014 in Italy, Greece, France, Slovenia and Hungary during the school year 2013-2014.
Each pilot course consisted of 6 learning units combining classroom meetings, hands on activities in nature, field visits and ICT workshops for the design and creation of a mobile game on nature conservation in each country.
In Italy, INVOLEN was carried out at the secondary school Micali (IC. T. Tesei) in Livorno, a big town close to the Provincial Park of Monti Livornesi, the selected protected area.
The project was also supported by the local association belonging to the project “Occhi sulle Colline” (which gathers all the associations aiming at the protection and valorization of Monti Livornesi). The WWF volunteer recruited into the project and belonging to such project was very helpful to recruit motivated seniors. Finally, the pilot group was made of 4 seniors, 4 facilitators and 8 students. The activities, organised in 6 work units, began in June 2013 and concluded in April 2014.
We report the strong points of the project by the point of view of the pilot group. If you are interested to know the weak points, please, download the full report.
Facilitators: “INVOLEN brilliantly taught to apply in a creative more than mechanical way ICT for learning. The use of technologies gave students the chance to feel like teachers. They learnt to use technologies in a funny way for didactic purposes, not only limited to social networks. In the end, there was more consciousness of a good use of technologies”. “The ideas can develop, change and become real”. “Students have learnt to be patient and to respect timelines. They learnt to accept changes and adapt their ideas through the group work with people of different age and background”. “We saw a great group work capacity despite the heterogeneity. The interaction between students and seniors was amazing and everybody could share knowledge and competences: creativity, informatics expertise, nature knowledge”. “Seniors looked comfortable. They have transferred with passion lots of things to the students, but also students taught some things like tips and shortcuts in the use of the platform”. “The use of iPhone is limiting because most of the people uses android”
Students: “The group was nice: we felt peer to peer with adults and elders were very helpful because they are rich in knowledge, like human encyclopedia. They were not boring at all”. “Seniors were able to use computers and camera much more than me and they also were good walkers. They gave a big help but I’m sure they also learnt something from us as like as we learnt from them”. “Many things of elders’ life are similar to ours even if they do in a different way”. “Teachers are more relaxed and normal when they are out of traditional classes”. “We liked the project because we could skip classes”. “We learnt that we can find orchids close to our town, in Monti Livornesi, and that water comes out from the rocks”.
Seniors: “Students seemed comfortable and protagonists of the meetings. At the beginning I observed a lot, then, during the excursion, I started collecting rubbish and I was surprised because students followed me, starting to collect rubbish as well”. “I was astonished by the ingenious drawings they created for the game”
“In general, students are good and know a lot about technologies so, I have learnt that I should improve on that in order to communicate better with my nephews”.
In Greece HOS organised under the supervision of PRISMA 2 (two) Focus Group Meetings, during which the desired according to the project’s proposal target groups were informed about INVOLEN: the first on the 11th of April 2013 and the second on the 15th of May 2013.
All meetings of the pilot group were held at the secondary school at Gerakas almost every Friday (unless there was a public holiday or a strike), except for the predicted visits to the protected area. Meetings at classroom lasted for less than an hour, as this was the estimated durance of the classroom environmental education group meetings in Greece according to the Ministry of Education. In some cases, the meetings lasted for an extra half an hour, not although with the presence of all participants. Meetings at the protected area lasted almost 3 hours, after the permission of the Headmaster and the youth’ s parents written permission. The number of the seniors were ranged from 3 to 4 and their presence was adjusted to the schedule and the needs of the meetings of the programme and their ability to be physically present.
The piloting sessions were led mainly by the facilitators, and especially the main facilitator who were the school’s teacher, but when the programme demanded the expert of the protected area was taking over or the project managers of both organizations or the ICT experts had to lead the discussion.
The conservation activity in the wetland of Vravrona brought closer even more the participants, who were engaged together in practice into something that benefited the area. Even though the production of the game will raise awareness and in the long term scale will help the area to be known and thus protected, it is more of a future process without tangible effects at the present. Especially the cleaning of the area from domestic waste and garbage was a challenge for both groups, seniors and youth, who considered this action as their obligation towards the area. The evaluation questionnaires were distributed after every unit was terminated, with the final evaluation ones to be handed at the last closing meeting of the pilot on the 28th of March 2014.
After the finalization of the pilot phase, two mobile game were completed: the one narrates the story of a young teenager named Lisa, the character the player has to play, who lives with her parents in a trailer and travel all around the world as her father has an animal TV show. During one of Lisa’s trips it happens to be near the Vravrona wetland. Stopping by to take her pet monkey Eddie for a walk, she sees it running towards the wetland as if he wants her to follow. Will Lisa, namely the player, discover the secret of the wetland by following it? The story evolves incorporating elements of the senior stories and the protected area expert’s guidance about the pollution of the water and all living creatures by pesticides, combining mystery with knowledge. The second story dares the player to have a walk on the wetland in order to relax and escape the hustle of the city, learn more about it and help it to solve some of its problem by becoming an “official” explorer of this area, protecting this way the jewel of Attica. In this game, the pollution on account of the pesticides, the migratory species, the release of the domestic waste, the Vravrona tomato and fig, being borrowed by the narrations of the seniors and the experts, are present and intervened cleverly.
Last autumn (2013-2014) in Slovenia, NEC started to implement the INVOLEN learning methodology. Flow of information transfer among participants became very alive. All together 20 participants were involved in pilot meetings with 4 hours duration: 3 persons from NEC, 15 volunteers and 2 facilitators. Seniors have taught us about basket weaving; an ancient traditional craft which is almost forgotten nowadays. It enhances sensitivity towards nature and heritage. Most of the meetings were held in the classroom from Nov 2013 until Apr 2014, where the pilot group tried to learn how to create location based games. Young volunteers showed interest into ARIS games and learning about features about Notranjska Regional Park, its natural values, discovering old stories and searching for some local legends. Most of volunteers were enthusiastic about ICT equipment (notebook, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch). Then we set up the learning game that encourages exploration of the old village center located on karst soils. Karst is characterized by water that formed the landscape, culture and life of the local inhabitants in general. Throughout the game player can learn how the villagers are able to use water resources in sustainable way. Let’s play and learn about it and encourage environmental protection through nature appreciation!
Between October 2013 and March 2014, la ligue de l’enseignement in France has implemented the pilot courses of the Involen project. In partnership with the syndicate Mixte de Gâvre Quiberon and the young space of Belz, 8 youth and 4 seniors actively participated in the creation of a mobile game, combining the discovery of environmental and intergenerational learning. The French pilot group decided to meet every 15 days on wednesday with intensive courses during the school holidays. The aim was to familiarize with proposed platforms, Aris and Enigmapp and then understand the area better, which would become the playground of our participants.
Several visits of the dune area with experts were organized: richness of the ecosystem, protection of wildlife and flora, all discovered in the selected area natura 2000. Seniors also shared their stories with youth: anecdotes of lives, historical narrative, the war's impact on the area, all have chosen to tell and testified with youth.
According to these stories, a scenario of the game was built. The history of Theomaque, a young sailor who returns to his hometown was born! After a storm his belongings are scattered, so he must begin a journey to find them: the interactive tour between Saint Cado and Erdeven begins: encounters, discoveries and return in the past are on the menu of the game. Part of the stories of seniors are integrated into the game, reflecting the exchange of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm hat has been developed between youth and seniors.
On April 2014, the game was officially presented with the contibution of all participants: youth, seniors, facilitators, representative officials.
And as said Florian, a young participant: “When is the next meeting to create another game all together?”
In Hungary, the partner school of the Hungarian pilot course was the Móricz Zsigmond Primary School in Győrszentiván. However, the participating students were not only from this institute. Youth from altogether 5 primary and secondary schools took part in the program. The Hungarian partner HAS-CERS implemented the INVOLEN methodology between March and May 2014, and we can happily announce that it was successful!Two facilitators, 19 students, 3 seniors and 1 environmental expert worked together for more than 2 months, in order to develop the game. During the Hungarian pilot 8 meetings were held altogether, all of them had a duration of more hours. It testifies the commitment of our volunteers very well, that the meetings (besides the first one) were all organized outside school-time. The INVOLEN-group did not regret his time and fulfilled the exercise.
The Hungarian team chose the surroundings of the Dead Rába as a Natura 2000 protected site. The Dead Rába is part of the Fertő Hanság National Park, and as a wetland it gives space to many protected animals and plants. With the development of this game, our aim was to show the natural treasures of this habitat. The Hungarian INVOLEN-team has a lot to thank to the participating seniors and the environmental expert, because without them we could not collect all the knowledge that served as a basis for the storyboard of our game.
The team implemented 6 learning units. They learned, how to create a location based serious game with the platform of ARIS, during a guided tour they got to know the surrounding of the Dead Rába, they made interviews with the seniors. They put their stories and the many information collected about the protected area into the storyboard of the game. The result, the Hungarian INVOLEN game is available on the interface of ARIS. We wish you a good game!