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    St. Sebastian Primary School Qormi
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    E-Crisis project – SDP

    E-Crisis project – SDP

    E-Crisis Erasmus Project

    Mr Jeremy Mercieca, Ms Mariella Buhagiar and Ms Stephanie Rose Portelli

     

    The 3-year E-Crisis project aims to enable inclusive education through playful and game-based learning and, thereby, foster the development of social, civic and intercultural competences such as conflict resolution, creative thinking, and reflective debate in primary and secondary education students. Games drop students into accessible, inquiry-based, complex problem spaces that deliver learning. All effective classroom games must come with specific learning goals in mind. Each game has to have specific learning goals built on a basic set of game-design knowledge and skills.

    The E-Crisis consortium consists of five partners from three European countries – Greece, Austria and Malta. These partners act in the fields of education and ICT technologies. Seven teachers, four from the St. Ignatius Boys Secondary School and three from the St. Sebastian Primary School, Qormi, together with educators from the University of Malta, are the partners from Malta.

    E-Crisis will build upon two award winning games: the Village Voices and Iconoscope.  The ‘Village voices’ is about collaboration, sharing and helping each other but also about spreading rumours and stealing resources. The other game, Iconoscope is a game deployed on tablets and on the web, which aims to foster the creativity of its players. The inspiration behind Iconoscope comes primarily from non-digital construction and guessing games. Iconoscope motivates players to creatively interpret concepts (described linguistically) as icons (depicted visually) which convey the same message.

    We are helping in designing a toolbox and guidebook for teachers to help them use these games in their pedagogy. Our role in this project is to discuss and assist the creation of a guidebook on how certain games can reach the aims of the project. Our key objective is to examine the problems emerging across Europe in school communities and societies, such as refugee exclusion, European debates, economic crises and bullying. During our workshops, we examine these challenges with the help of 21st century skills, mainly conflict resolution, and with an eye to creative problem solving.

    Both games have several advantages. Iconoscope enhances creative thinking and creates non-verbal communication while emphasizing the use of teamwork. On the other hand, Village Voices can be used in various subjects and different scenarios. It creates an interactive way to promote integration, respect, empathy, conflict resolutions and social, civic and intercultural competences.

    Maltese teachers coming from the St. Ignatius College have met several times in order to plan and discuss the implementation of E-Crisis games in the classroom. We have brainstormed about the use of the E-Crisis games in relation to our current social inclusion framework and eventually tried to adopt the games and use the E-Crisis Educator Toolbox within our curricula.

    Between the 5th and 9th of March, 2018, we have also participated in a Game-Based Learning Workshop held at the University of Malta. We had to prepare a presentation, with the college overview of different scenarios and to explain how different minorities in our society are being included within our society/classrooms. We have also prepared a multi-visual video clip with to give a college overview to the other participants representing the five partners in this project.

    We gained a lot already from the first part of this project. We got familiar with game-based learning and gained a lot of knowledge on how to use these games in lesson scenarios. Apart from that, we have broadened our understanding of the need of creative thinking, reflective debate and conflict resolution amongst the children in a classroom.

    The Second Game-Based learning Workshop was held between the 1st and the 6th of July 2018, in Marathon and Pallini, in Attica, Greece. This Summer Academy was organized by the Ellinogermaniki Agogi of Athens, a school which offers education from the Kindergarten all the way to the Senior High School. This Workshop was more flexible than that organized in Malta and it consisted of (a) the core element of the basic concepts, methods and play, and (b) a selection of practical case studies for us participants to choose from in order to build our own theories of teaching. Each case study built offered insights into research and teaching techniques taking place in the context of our school within the St. Ignatius College, Qormi Primary St.Sebastian.

    First and foremost, in our first day of the workshop, we have recapitulated what was done in the first Workshop done at the University of Malta, about the eCrises case study. This case study looked into game-based education practices in time of crises by fostering development of skills in conflict resolution, creative thinking and reflective debate. This was done in light of the serious challenges and conflicts in today’s Societies, which occur due to economic recessions, social structure instabilities, and also, the refugee crises which is highly common in our country, Malta. Those participants who did not attend the workshop in Malta had the opportunity to explore these two games; Iconoscope and Village Voices, in order to understand what was said and explained about these everyday real-life problems arising.

    However, apart from discussing only the eCrises case study: the game-based student empowerment in time of crises, in this Summer Academy in Greece, we had the opportunity to work on other different case studies;

    i.        The Gaia case study examines how game-based learning experiences could be used to promote energy efficiency in schools. This game uses playful learning to raise awareness of the need to save energy and offer ways in which this can be achieved in everyday life, mainly between the users of a school building (SMT, teachers, children and other staff). Eventually, the concepts learned will then be passed on to their families and local communities.  The main aim of this game is to encourage each and every person who uses the school building to increase energy efficiency in the school building. The users of the school experiment and ultimately adopt positive ways in which they can save energy without affecting their everyday school life.

     

    ii.        The C2learn case study offers ideas into innovative ways in which games could be used in education to foster co-creativity. This case study explores methods of creativity and digital games in today’s schools. This study aimed to familiarise us educators to a more game-based learning approach with regards to the various subjects and concepts we teach. During this case study, we saw that the teachers could design different learning experiences for the children consisting of challenges, quests and missions. The latter are small games and playful activities that get the learners to play with emotions, images and words in order to address the problems themselves.

     

    iii.        Another Case study was the Envisage case study. In this study, the educators could enhance their learning experiences in online virtual labs. These virtual labs give the learners a more innovative way to learn their curriculum by exploring the materials found in a lab, and answering questions related to Chemistry. Each educator could create his or her own online virtual labs, and it enhances decision making and facilitates the learning of the students’ content.

    Eventually, all the participants in the Play-Create-Learn Summer Academy in Greece were divided into groups, and each group had to reflect and exchange practical personal scenarios. We had to choose a particular lesson from our syllabus and engage one of the case-studies discussed in our lesson. On the final day of this workshop, each group had the opportunity to present the lesson created, and elaborate more on the topic chosen.

    From these four case studies, we have realised that with the creation of games in schools, students could turn into creative thinkers and develop different skills and values for tomorrow’s needs. This academy has helped us to reflect on innovative and creative learning activities in the classroom to address the needs of today’s students.

     

     

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    St Ignatius College, Primary Qormi St Sebastian
    Narbona Square, Qormi, QRM 2403
    Tel: 21442851, 21488296
    Fax: 21492280
    Email: sic.qormiss.pr@gov.mt

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