Τετάρτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2019

ERASMUS + KA2 COLOURFUL WORLD PROJECT 3rd MEETING IN PORTO


3rd Project Transnational Meeting in Porto

  Vamos Environmental Education Center participated in the Third International Meeting of the UK-approved Erasmus + KA201 'Colourful World -  programme (Key Action 201 Strategic Partnerships for the Field of Education - 2018-1-UK01-KA201-048028) October 18, 2019, held in Porto, Portugal, in the Matosinhos region. On behalf of the Vamos EEC, the Director Pontikakis Fotis and the member of the Pedagogical Group Eleni Despotidou, participated.
  In this international programme  a total of six organisations from 4 different countries participated (United Kingdom, Portugal, Poland, Greece). It is being  coordinated by the University of West London and the participants are, the Center for Environmental Education in Vamos from Greece , ADVANCIS and BOON from Portugal , specializing in the production of e-learning materials, the Szkola Podstawowa (Primary School) from Poland ,located in the center of Krakow) , SATRO from the United Kingdom , an educational NGO promoting science education (STEM) offering schools educational  programmes  and promoting the education of girls and of the less privileged social groups.
The Porto City Hall
  The Education Partnership Strategic Plan aims to develop innovative pedagogy that uses the game as a tool to promote Environmental Education for Sustainable Development for children aged 6 to 10 years, while increasing their interest in the Natural Sciences. Within the project,  a computer-based educational game will be created ,to be used  in formal, non-formal and informal learning environments. At the same time, a Guide for the Use of the Game and Parallel Educational Activities will be created, so that it can be used pedagogically by teachers. Presentations of the game, when ready, will take place in all countries involving teachers in the United Kingdom, Porto, Portugal, Krakow in Poland and Chania in Greece.
  At  the first meeting of this Strategic Partnership, which took place in December 2018 on the 11th floor of the Paragon University Building on the premises of the University of West London in Ealing, a presentation of the approved plan by the British Board had been made , the participants presented their actions, timetables were developed  and follow up was planned. At the second International Meeting of the programme held on 30th and 31st May 2019 in Chania, there was a presentation of the progress made in the implementation of the project and of the pedagogical objectives of the Vamos Environmental Education Center ,as well as the first plan of the formation of the educational game by the Portuguese website Advancis and the Facebook page of the programme created by the Portuguese organisation Boon.
The Central Train Station
At the Third International Meeting of the programme  that took place in Porto on 17th and 18th October 2019, there was  a presentation of the progress made in the implementation of the project (figures, drawings, script and dialogues), while the discussion on the creation of the Game Implementation Guide began, that will include a glossary of scientific terms in simple words, games, exercises and lesson plans to delve deeper into a range of environmental issues. This Guide will be available for teachers to use in their classroom and school. At the same time, a visit was made to the Schole Experimental School (from the Greek word "school") where children attend kindergarten and elementary school and  a cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approach is applied; children participate in groups according to their interests,  approaching environmental issues. In this school there are no traditional classrooms and students move around the classroom in an attempt to avoid teacher-centered perception and not forcing children to sit for hours at a school desk.

The Schole school
Library at the Schole school

Diining room at the Schole school



The Lello library/bookshop





The river Douro wih the wineries

In the Old City of Porto

Porto from the Cathedral's Hill




Τρίτη, 2 Ιουλίου 2019

Precious Plastic project


See a videoclip of Youth Trainers' Seminar in March 2019 in Aljusrel, Portugal, with our participation in You Tube
The “Precious Plastic” is a call for action, stimulating young people to act upon some of their fundamental environmental rights that are currently threatened. It is inspired by the Precious Plastic initiative (https://preciousplastic.com/), which enables the creation of low cost, DIY, community-based recycling units. Recycling units that are not only capable of collecting and separating plastic waste, but also to transform the recycled plastic into multiple and new design products. A space that connects social awareness (active citizenship) to creativity (design of new products) and digital skills (digital manufacturing). A Precious Plastic workshop is above all a neighborhood recycling factory, a space to gather a community, share a purpose, develop new ideas and contribute for a better world.
This project is innovative because while focusing on the worldwide circular economy movement of the Precious Plastic, it aims to address young people with less opportunities through specific actions that develop their spirit of initiative and respect for the fundamental right to a clean and sustainable environment and living space. Not only we are focusing young people´s needs by proposing to open a Precious Plastic local chapter but also opportunities, through the stimulus of their entrepreneurial spirit and self-reflexion on their consumption patterns and waste issues. From the success of this KA1 will depend on the existence of a future KA2, allowing to gather relevant experience afterward needed for the creation of new methodologies and other outputs targeted to this group.

The objectives of this project include:

-          Promotion of active citizenship and development of a sense of initiative in young people regarding a European priority – the reduction of plastic waste;

-          Enable young people facing social or economic exclusion to have a unique learning opportunity, promoting inter-religious dialogue and multicultural exchange to provide a more rich experience to participants;

-          Promote capacity building in partner organizations and youth workers in the development of innovative programs in circular economy, acquisition of digital skills, and in being able to engage youth communities to act upon fundamental rights as the right to a clean, safe and sustainable living environment;

-          Disseminate innovative practices and provide quality contents in the field of digital youth work;

We seek to empower local communities, with a particular role of young people, to make a difference regarding our collective future. This message is particularly relevant in a Europe still struggling to find a sense of belonging and purpose, while the precious plastic offers citizens a sense of usefulness and the opportunity to make a difference in a common challenge.
The Precious Plastic project will train 14 youth workers from 7 partner countries, as well as provide a Youth Exchange opportunity to 42 young people, all from difficult backgrounds facing social exclusion. It will be structured around three main activities:

-          Advance Planning Visit: Discussion of operational matters regarding the project implementation, preparation of the activities, and signature of the partnership agreement;

-          Youth Workers Mobility: Capacitating youth workers and partner organization to successfully implement and develop educational contents in the field of circular economy, as well as develop competencies in the area of digital youth work;

-          Youth Exchange: A unique opportunity for young people, facing the risk of social or education exclusion, to be part of an international environment and develop relevant competences and skills while promoting cultural and religious dialogue.

This project shall be continuously designed by both the partner organizations and participants of the activities, developing adequate training to specific needs and profiles. The precious plastic project is based on group work, implementation of non-formal learning techniques, and development of creative thinking. Such approach is only possible because the activities will be developed in Buinho (www.buinho.pt), a rural fablab that allows participants to go from idea to physical product rapidly. This enables participants to fail and learn from failure, to experiment and engage in peer-learning, and more importantly to have from freedom to develop their own learning experience.
Finally, a continuous dissemination strategy was designed to improve the sustainability of the project in time and increase its multiplier effects. The project dedicates a special attention to the future growth and impact that this project may provoke. Inspired by the work of Dave Hakkens (https://preciousplastic.com/en/mission.html), we aim to enable the creation of new precious plastic chapters across Europe, supporting the growth of this international network and more importantly increase Youth awareness and participation within this grassroots movement. This project will produce a strong impact not just with the participants but also for all organizations of the consortium, as well as other relevant and local stakeholders to which the Precious Plastic can provide new solutions in the area of circular economy. The interest and commitment of partner organizations in following the experience of applicant Buinho in opening a Precious Plastic workshop are indicators of the activities future sustainability.
The lessons learned from previous applications showed the importance of a coherent and solid consortium composition criteria. Such criteria include:
a)      Previous experience;
b)      Degree of motivation and needs;
c)      Added value to the project;
d)     Capability of the organization for preparation of participants and dissemination;
e)      Diversified background and nature of the participating organizations to add more contents and viewpoints to the project.

Two of the selected organizations (P2 and P6) are well known to the beneficiary, being also partner institutions in another KA1 coordinated by Buinho. The other four organizations (P3, P4, P5, and P7) were invited based on their quality, experience, and unique inputs they could bring to this application.
            The project is supported by a consortium of 7 partners from different backgrounds and composed by:
-          P2 Capranica – This Italian Municipality brings their experience in the fields of youth and social work and organizing activities with NEETs. They offer unique competences in the area of Youth work and non-formal education. With this project the youth workers from Capanica will gain more experience in the use of digital tools, develop contents for their innovative school project, learn how to manage and operate a Precious Plastic workshop and reinforce its position as an active and innovative member within the regional network of rural municipalities it coordinates;
-          P3 KPE Vamou – They provide training experience in the fields of Recycling, Upcycling, and non-formal education, thus being a relevant partner for the development of the training courses as well as the preparation of the youth exchange activities. It provides the opportunity to include and work with Syrian refugees based in Crete. P3 will also gain relevant inputs in the field of digital youth work as the use of 3D Printing and its use with recycled PLA. It will also learn on how to assemble and manage a Precious Plastic workshop, providing to their community a working space adequate to the nonformal learning activities they practice;
-          P4 Maltepe Secondary School – Maltepe Secondary school has a wide experience in managing environmentally related Erasmus+ projects and has a Makers Club focused in the use of non-formal education in order to stimulate a creative, leadership, team-work and entrepreneurial spirit amongst the school’s youngsters. Furthermore, Maltepe Secondary School works very closely with local organizations and municipality, providing non-formal educational contents and activities within the local youth center. Maltepe Secondary School has 10 teachers specialist in non-formal science based education, providing an excellent source of knowledge and experience to the consortium. The project will contribute to their work with refugees and other young people facing extreme social exclusion, namely in activities related with recycling and digital prototyping;
-          P5 Viaje a la Sostenabilidad – Is an NGO focused on environmental protection and education in the field of Deep Ecology. The deep ecology approach is of particular relevance in the diversification of the contents provided during the Youth Exchange, promoting cultural exchange, physical and emotional well-being, while raising special awareness for the issues of environmental sustainability. P5 youth workers will have access to very necessary training the fields of digital youth work and in the transformation cycle of plastic waste;
-          P6 Artefacts – It brings their accumulated experience as a major cultural and social cooperative, fostering entrepreneurship at all levels and their focus on youth work development. P6 will provide together with Buinho relevant contents in the field of digital youth work, namely the use of open source solutions and physical computing to provide low cost and engaging learning experiences to youth. For Artefacts this project represents a unique opportunity to develop added knowledge in the area of circular economy, now becoming a top priority for them;
-          P7 Ecocenter Foundation – P7 will share their experience in blended training and discuss forms to incorporate these capabilities in the continuous mentorship efforts useful to capacitate an effective network of Precious Plastic youth centers. The participation in this project will bring Ecocenter the opportunity to assemble a Precious Plastic project in Hatvan Park, strategic for the future growth and outreach of their nonformal education activities next to local young communities.

Participants’ Profile


Youth workers mobility
The criterion of fair and transparent selection is conditioned to the dimension of the partner organization. Nevertheless, the selection will be made according to both the youth workers and participating organization’s needs, as well as their availability to further participate in preparation of the youth exchange. Standard questionnaire will be used for a qualitative evaluation of the motivation and level of commitment of the applicants with future implementation activities and dissemination and includes four quality questions:
a)      Needs and motivation that sustain the application;
b)      Identification of skills to acquire and goals to achieve;
c)      Added value for the partner organization;
d)     Follow up activities and dissemination developed by the youth worker.

Youth workers mobility takes into consideration concrete needs of the participating organizations, namely regarding youth workers skills set.

Youth Exchange
We want to promote the use of fair and transparent selection process, but in order to ensure the participation of young people with fewer opportunities we will avoid the selection of participants that already have participated in more than one Youth Exchange or long term EVS. Since the target group are disadvantaged young people we will not use a questionnaire similar to the one used for the selection of youth workers. Instead we will rely on group sessions and group activities promoted with the youth trainers that will evaluate the following items:
a) needs and motivation to participate in a international exchange;
b) ideas they would like to explore;
c) skills and goals they would like to achieve;
d) interest in circular economy and plastic waste reduction;  
e) difficulties and obstacles that prevent them to engage in similar programs.

This is a measure specially designed to ensure the selection of youth with fewer opportunities and gender equilibrium. Taking also into consideration the feedback from the youth leader that developed the group dynamics and will lead the participants to A3, partner organizations will select the most motivated participants while providing positive discrimination for the candidates that:
a)      come from a disadvantaged environment and belong to a risk group;
b)      had never participated in international mobility; 
c)      or if the candidate’s gender is a minority within the overall candidate's population. 

Youth mobility is directed to disadvantaged young people, facing social exclusion and/or economic constraints. Participant profile is a young person with low self steem, unlikely to ever participated in an internacional exchange or even traveled abroad. The participant may face danger of radicalization by feeling excluded by Society, and will have poor access to quality educational contents.
The youth leader that will accompany each group in the youth mobility will be selected from one of the youth workers that participated in the youth trainers activity.

Τετάρτη, 26 Ιουνίου 2019

2nd Transnational Meeting of Colourful World Project in Chania

The 2nd Transnational Meeting of the Colourful World project was held in the Old City of Chania, Crete, Greece, in 30 and 31 May 2019.
The Erasmus+ KA201 «Colourful World» project (Key Action 201 Strategic Partnerships for the Field of Education - 2018-1-UK01-KA201-048028) is coordinated by the University of West London, and the participating other partners are Advancis and Boon from Portugal, Satro from UK, Szkola Podstawowa from Poland and Environmental Education Center of Vamos (Chania, Crete) from Greece.
 The project Colourful World aim is to create a computer learning game to support the Education for Sustainable Development of children (6-10 years old) and to raise their interest over STEM, in formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts.

To complement the interactive Game, partners will produce an Implementation Guide intended for teachers/trainers and parents - Colourful World Implementation Guide. This Guide will empower these educators in the use of the Game and in exploring different learning opportunities on Sustainable Development.

The goal of the project is to raise conscious European citizens, knowledgeable of the sustainability challenges, and ready to act and contribute to a sustainable European and Global societies. You may see the webpage of the project here.

The 1st Transnational Meeting of the Project was held in London in December 2018. The 2nd Transnational Meeting was held in the Old City of Chania, in the Center of Mediterranean Architecture.
Some photos of the 2nd Transnational Meeting in Chania, you may see below.


Fotis Pontikakis from Vamos Environmental Education Center



Ayodele Afonia from the University of West London


In front of the Municipality's Market in Chania


Goncalo Meireles from Advancis, Portugal

Goncalo Meireles from Advancis, Portugal (left) and Fotis Pontikakis from Vamos Environmental Education Center (Greece)


In the Old City of Chania, Crete, Greece