Beyond Borders: respect the disability, respect the person

While searching for good practices related to gamification and social inclusion in Greece, we at AddArt feel obliged to start by presenting one of our most trusted and accomplished partners in the field, Summer Camp Tsaf Tsouf. With more than 30 years of experience, Tsaf Tsouf was one of the first summer camps in Greece to implement a 2 week programme for people with disabilities, still running since 2000.

Beyond Borders is held every year at the end of August and is supported by numerous professionals, including but not limited to: experienced educators, art teachers, psychologists, physical trainers, animal handlers, animateurs, doctors, nurses, caretakers and lifeguards. Its core principle is respecting differences in gender, religion, sexual orientation, political belief and physical or mental disabilities. This is also reflected on the programme’s aims for its participants, which are: the development of new skills, human interaction – socializing – harmonious coexistence, exploring nature, edutainment (educational entertainment) and the development of autonomy and self-care.

The programme can host any person with mental/physical/sensory disabilities above the age of 6 (up to 200 participants), while accommodation and nutrition is focused on safety, comfort and division of needs. Respect towards disability and inclusion are the main pillars of the activities’ schedule, which includes: swimming and sports, canoe & kayak, climbing, horse riding, ATV rides, archery, painting, clay sculpting, dancing, theater play, cooking, radio broadcasts, film making, talent shows, disco & beach parties, live concerts and many more. Gamification is a strong element of all the aforementioned activities, as it eases the transition of the participants from one physical and emotional state to another through team building games & energizers and by introducing common camp goals/achievements to encourage participation & inclusion.

Caretakers are the most important aspect of this annual project, since without them nothing would be possible. Beyond Borders depends 24/7 on these young and energetic professionals to turn every activity into a fun, loving and memorable experience for the participants, always following the motto “All equal – All different”. A testament to the level of professionalism under which the programme is carried out is the fact that COVID-19 restrictions provided no hindrance in last year’s implementation.

Make sure to click on the video below to find out more about this good practice from Greece!

Written by AddArt

How to Blend-IN: a game of intercultural communication

As you may have read in previous articles, as part of the project, we are gathering good practices from partner countries in the field of social inclusion. In this spirit, we would also like to highlight the Blend-IN project, from the Slovenian partner, the Celje Youth Center.

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Blend-IN was an ambitious 18-month project, which was set to tackle the existing mistrust and non-tolerance among the different communities that live in Europe, through educating youth workers. The project was designed in the complex context of Europe, which is not as united as it was. Still, young people all over the continent have similar interests and problems and present the driving force for enacting positive change. Considering these dynamics, the Blend-IN partnership was driven to contribute to the pan-European efforts to promote the value brought by tolerance and diversity. As part of the project, they set up a platform on which you can play a simulation game on the topic of intercultural dialogue and communication. They have also prepared a handbook for youth workshops for the purposes of training and education in the field of intercultural dialogue and communication. The project was co-financed by the European Union’s Erasmus + program.

As said before as part of the project, they established a platform on which it is possible to play a simulation game on the topic of intercultural dialogue and in the game different scenarios are played out.  As a player, you can decide for yourself how you will carry out or solve certain problems or situations.

In today’s dynamic world of youth work, understanding different cultures and responding correctly to different standards has become key for achieving any positive results. Mastering intercultural communication and dynamic management is key when developing initiatives and creating communities, as inevitably there will be the need for both. In the Handbook, the six partners of the Blend-IN project have compiled, through their own experience, desk research, as well as qualitative interviews with professionals, some important points in the topics of: 

  • Developing and managing communities and initiatives; 
  • Intercultural communication;
  • Dynamic management; 

and Best practices in the field of intercultural communication and other simulation games. The Handbook also contains information on the Blend-IN Simulation game and how to use it, as this is the companion output of the project to additionally provide assistance to youth workers in their endeavors.

The English version of the Handbook is available here.

Involving young people in understanding social inclusion is a very important topic that can also be achieved through play and that is why we find this project so relevant.

Written by Celjski Mladinski Center.

“Cromos dels Barris”: gamification & tourism in Barcelona

When we think about tourism, we always picture far away cities, landscapes and environment. But most of the times, we miss knowing better what is going on around us at a local level.

Today, we at Fundació Catalunya Voluntària would like to introduce one of our best practices as a way to discover your city in a dynamic, inclusive and collective way.

‘Cromos dels Barris’ (Cards of the neighbourhoods) is a project that started in 2015 with two districts in the city of Barcelona. Today we are going to introduce the project in the neighbourhood of Poble-Sec, one of the oldest parts of the city (which celebrated its 150 years of existence in 2019!!), and also where the office of FCV is based.

So how does this game work? Raons Públiques (the promoter organization) has initially created 10 cards together with the Historical Centre of Poble Sec, with old pictures and description of emblematic spots of the neighbourhood. Places like the Press House or the first house that was built in the neighbourhood are included in the cards, and in order to collect them all, you have to find them and answer one of the questions written in the cards. This way, you can get to have all of them.

In Barcelona, each neighbourhood has a weekly celebration where organizations, neighbours
and in general everyone that lives or works there gets together to celebrate. The first round of cards was handed during the yearly celebration in 2019, and that kicked off the search. The first pack comes with two cards and a map, and when you reach the next place, you can get another set of cards. Later on, cards were handed in collaboration with schools of the Poble-Sec, as a group activity for classes in primary school. Also, with the collaborations of these young participants, the collection of cards is growing, with currently 16 cards (6 designed and added by the primary students).

This game has different aims. The first, of course, being getting to know better the neighbourhood and its history. Secondly, it wants to create an intergenerational activity, including everyone in families and friend groups. This way, older people can teach their knowledge, and the youngest get to learn, discover and have fun.

You can find more information on the website of the 150th Anniversary of Poble-Sec and at https://raons.coop/

Written by Fundació Catalunya Voluntària

Leading by example: gamification and education in Catalonia

To start talking about gamification, it is important to put a bit of context in the subject.

In our case, it is a bit easier to talk about the Catalan context, as Spain is a very big country, and the reality can vary from one region to another. The concept of gamification and its use outside work environment have become more popular in the last years.

But what is gamification and what does it consist of? Gamification is the incorporation of elements related to the game in daily tasks, thus allowing to develop motivation, creativity, versatility, and other skills when performing them.

However, the idea of ​​including fun, goals, and playful characteristics in learning has been around for much longer in the learning sector, especially in non-formal education. In Catalonia, youth work with NFE is a key element for youth development, as can be seen by the importance of Scout organizations.

So what is the innovative factor of gamification? This new methodology is linked, although not always or necessarily, to video games, online games, and all kinds of virtual games. In this way, it is linked to the technological development of recent years, adding the factor of the internet, applications and other elements to the concept.

In Catalonia, the Government is starting to offer courses in the formal education sector, to enable teachers and youth workers to include this methodology in learning processes. It is a relevant step that public resources are being used to further the mission of inclusive and alternative education. This is also possible as more technological devices are being added to classroom. It is important to highlight, though, the inequality these may cause between schools with higher financial support and those in more underprivileged circumstances.

Although gamification is a step to make education more accessible and fun to everyone, we should never forget the relation between social disadvantages and access to technology.

Written by Fundació Catalunya Voluntària

The hidden element: searching for gamification in Slovenia

Not much research can be found in Slovenia on the subject of gamification, but something is obvious; gamification is present in many fields. In fact, one of the first Slovenian works on gamification is a diploma thesis titled “The Gamification of Advertising in Slovenia” written by Pavlič in 2016. In her work, Pavlič states that with gamified advertising, advertisers most often address young people between the ages of 15 and 25, and that gamification on Slovenian soil has not yet fully utilized the motivational material offered by the elements of game.

That is definitely true, and a good example of this can be found by observing the development of escape rooms into an interesting tool for cultural enhancement. We already knew escape rooms in Slovenia at the time, as the first one was established in 2014, but these were nothing but gamification with the purpose of the game, hardly used to achieve other purposes. Then, in 2017, the team of the Slovenian Alpine Museum was inspired by the positive response from museum visitors to its permanent exhibition, set up as a museum narrative enriched with interactive challenges, so they took a big leap forward – into “gamifying” the museum exhibit known as BIVOUAC II. Bivouac II is not a classic “escape room”, where the game is led by a moderator who guides you as you try to escape from a room. Instead, it is an innovative way of exploring a museum through games developed specifically for the project.

Gamification has developed in Slovenia over the years in these areas, ie. advertising and tourism. However, for many years we have also known gamification at school, in the form of a Reading Badge that requires students to read a certain number of books to win it. Gamification also appears more recently in some young companies, where employers use it to motivate employees. In one of the Slovenian personnel companies, employees were specifically selected through a process that relied heavily on gamification.

With a one-month CEO call, the company looked for young talent and offered them a unique one-month internship. Each step in the process was tailored to the target group; they didn’t just post a classic ad on a website, but made a video and posted it on social media. Then they made an application, which those interested downloaded to their phone in order to solve three tests, attach a CV and apply for the tender via mobile phone. The process was therefore simple and interesting, adapted to the habits of the young, talented people they were looking for.

In conclusion, we can say that gamification has been present on Slovenian soil for a very long time, without ever being addressed as such; now that it is becoming more and more purposeful, however, it is finally being written about.

Learn more:
https://www.escapebox.si/blog/igrifikacija-v-turizmu-primeri-in-ideje/; https://www.escapebox.si/blog/igrifikacija-ultimativni-vodic/; https://svetkapitala.delo.si/delove-podjetniske-zvezde/z-igro-do-sluzbe/; https://www.facebook.com/win4youth/.

Written by Celjski Mladinski Center

Gamification in Greece: a work in progress

According to Gabe Zichermann, the world’s foremost expert and public speaker on the subject, gamification “is a process of using game thinking and game dynamics to engage audiences and solve problems”. But has Greece joined in the game yet?

If you factor in the marketing and advertising industry, the short answer is yes: from point rewarding banking systems to pizza delivery apps featuring storytelling for choosing a topping, gamification has been a part of our lives for quite a while now. On corporate management level, the Lego ® Serious Play® methodology is gaining moreground by the day, with VasilisGkogkidis being one of its most prominent advocates and facilitators through recurring training seminars around Greece.

Yet, little to no progress is being made to introduce gamification and game-based learning on the field of education, despite reports stating that they can have a direct impact on students’ motivation by improving their engagement in class, their satisfaction and their performance. Similarly promising results have also been confirmed on the field of disability and special education. Good practices can be found all around: Joshua Hartman is teaching Ancient Greek to USA college students using a uniquely designed board game, while high-schoolers in Greece struggle to memorize a language they regard as obsolete.

Erasmus+ courses actively seek to incorporate game oriented learning into Greek education and frankly, this is a much needed breath of fresh air. AddArt rises to the challenge and as partners of the Erasmus+ KA2 Spread the Game, we aim to exchange concrete knowledge and provide educators in Europe with all the tools needed in order to improve the quality of education and the level of inclusion for people with disabilities through the use of gamification techniques.

Written by Giannis Kanlis
Project Manager at AddArt