Start & End Date: 01.09.2016-30.11.2017
Place: Erfurt, Lefkosia
Participating Countries: Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Italy
Project Partners: Cyprus Computer Society (CY), National Center For Scientific Research “Demokritos” (EL), Futuro Digitale (IT), A & A Emphasys Interactive Solutions Ltd (CY)
Number of Participants: 100 participants
Grant Giver: Erasmus+
Key Action: KA2, Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for youth
Grant Amount: 147,980 EUR
“Everybody should learn how to program because it teaches you how to think…” Steve Jobs.
Programming and computational thinking skills are becoming ever more important in our society and working life. The project comes to address the recommendation of the recent EC Report titled “New priorities for EU cooperation ET 2020” Report (COM15), which stresses that “knowing how to code is empowering. It allows to understand the digital world we live in and to shape it. Basic coding skills are essential for accessing the jobs of tomorrow and today” and for achieving a better skills-match between education and the world of work. “Coding is seen as the red thread that runs through future professions”.
The project opens up new routes into not only teaching coding and programming to teenagers, but also to open up their career options in order to initially have a first hand experience of the various field of computing and then choose to study in a related topic. Summer time, has been seen as an opportunity to offer an innovative and interactive programme for teaching coding to teenagers, but also to explore the field of computing for a better career guidance bridging skills gap between education and the labour market.
The CODE@YOUTH project was developed based on a needs identification of the consortium, as it acknowledges and supports:
- the unique potential of using the non-working time of formal schooling, which as reported in the 2015 Eurydice Report ranges from 13-19 weeks holidays per year, for the benefit of the young people. The opportunity to use this free time, especially summer time, in non-formal learning participation can contribute towards raising attainment (PISA) and acquiring key skills/ attitudes related to employment that might not be promoted in formal education so much;
- the changing role of youth workers to provide high-quality services based on building competences, raising quality standards, enriching expertise and reinforcing links between policy, research and practice;
- the great importance and crucial role that non-formal learning can play in the development of young people’s competences, as it is considered as the ‘hidden human capital’ (OECD 2013);
- the need to equip young people to meet the digital era demands.
The project pioneers to design, implement, evaluate and validate, a innovative, creative and flexible programme which aims to introduce young people/teenagers 13-17 yrs old to the world of ‘coding’ and ‘computing’, by:
- Using the summer time, when schools are closed (average 12 weeks in CY, GR, IT), in a constructive way to set up CODE@YOUTH CHALLENGES CLUBS in youth centres/ NGOs/ institutions for teenagers in order to learn how to code, as purported by the ET2020 report.
- Creating SYNERGIES between various stakeholders, NGOs, Youth Centres, ICT providers, institutions, enterprises etc. based on the principle of Volunteers Expert Mentors, who will support and guide throughout the process the Youth Workers to set up and run a CLUB,
- Using the SYNERGIES to provide career guidance for young people to expand their spectrum of career prospects, by getting to know the various academic paths and careers related to the computing field through first hand experience,
- Introducing the OPEN BADGES as a method to VALIDATE the coding competences acquired by both the youth workers and the young people as a rational and transparent method used widely in the USA and EU for non-formal learning.
Based on the above the project is in line with the Erasmus+ priorities for promoting high-quality youth work as well as:
- Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications: simplification and rationalisation of tools for transparency, validation and recognition of learning outcomes.
- Educators: actions supporting continuing professional development of educators especially on dealing with work-based learning, digital competences and innovative pedagogies. This will include building effective partnership between providers and educational institutions as well as the development of programmes, modules and on line courses to strengthen the induction of educators. (Horizontal)
- Strengthening the profile of the educators (formal and non-formal learning) to deliver high quality teaching, adopt new methods and tools. (Specific)
- Improve achievement in relevant and high-level basic and transversal competences in a lifelong learning perspective (Hor)
- Promoting open and innovative education embedded in the digital era through creating synergies, digitalizing learning, promoting the use of ICT as a driver for systemic change to increase the quality and relevance of youth policies (Hor)
- Helping sustainable investment through the use of evidence-based reforms that deliver quality in (formal and non-formal) learning settings (Hor)
- Addressing under achievement in the basic skills of maths, science and literacy through more effective, innovative teaching methods (Spec)
To reach the aims of the project, we designed the following activities:
Kick-off meeting to prepare the project.
Number of participants: 5
Profile of participants: Partner Project Coordinators.
A Short-term Staff Training for professionals who will take the role of MENTORS and will guide and support YOUTH WORKERS/TRAINERS to implement the CODE@YOUTH PROGRAMME to their youth centre/NGO/institute will be organised. The Staff training will take place in CY (P5 established ICT Training Centre that has the expertise and infra-structure to deliver professional training). During the same time the 2nd Partner Meeting (saving expenses), while a Multiplier Event (E5) is also planned which will have a transnational character with the participation of all partners.
It is proposed here that from each partner country 1 professionals will participate in this training: (1) the Partner Project Coordinator in order to fully support the implementation of the project in non-formal learning institutions/organisations, and (2) another professional who will be involved solely in the implementation and evaluation of the e-tool and programme.
The main focus of the Training will be on the following: – “Open Badge System Development” : The training will be aiming to enable staff of partner organisation to test developed “intellectual outputs” – Open badge systems, on-line educational quests and mobile application along with existing web platform and other tools for working with Open badges in the field of coding and ICT.
The added value of this activity is the competence development of badge issuers. Our developed badge systems and ICT tools will be effective only if badge issuers will get mastery in using them. Possibility to have international training activity would also build stronger partnership among badge issuers; it will provide better understanding of each other’s work reality and major challenges in the field of ICT education and coding. Participants will get greater understanding of all Badge Systems developed and will be kind of “badge agents” looking for opportunities to apply developed badge systems locally in the future. Another added value is possibility for partners to benefit from the German partner, who already had experiences in applying badges in some local and international educational projects. They would be sharing their insight and facilitating training sessions during the Training Workshop.
During the Training it is planned for the staff members to follow the procedure planned in the CODE@YOUTH project to earn a BADGE for their participation in the specific training, so that they are familiar with the process when used later..
The training is particularly important for all professionals involved with regards to their involvement in the project, but the added value is the opportunity that they are provided: – For further professional development – For being involved in transnational learning mobility who will broaden their horizons and extent their capabilities, motivate them for further work. – For upgrading their ICT skills in new areas such as learning analytics and learning semantics and be introducing to an up -level technological tools to further improve learning outcomes – For utilising their involvement and experience in the project into taking the role of MULPTIPLIER, INCUBATORS AND TRAINER for others. – For upgrading their own and their organisations’ professional profile. – For being involved in the exchange of good practices, new synergies, new ideas etc.
Number of participants: 5
Profile of participants: Partner Project Coordinators.
The methodology to be used through all stages will be based on competent management and effective monitoring of the scheduled activities, on-going assessment and evaluation of project outcomes, rigorous quality management and appropriate dissemination activities to generate awareness of the aims and objectives of the project.
In preparation of the proposal the consortium has done some preliminary research that identified the following:
- According to the 2015 Eurydice Report 11-13 weeks per year in CY, GR and IT are utilized in any way for the benefit of the students, while MS complain of the insufficient national results presented by PISA (2013). Evidence suggests that young people (14-18 yrs) are offered more opportunities to participate in recreation and camp programmes (i.e. sports), whereas programmes related to the acquisition of specific ‘academic’ competences are limited.
- Over the last couple of years many scattered initiatives were taken in partner countries (CY,GR,IT,DE) to promote digital acquisition and coding through non-formal learning and in particular through volunteering youth work provided in NGOs, Youth Centres, Councils etc. Although in some case, ICT professionals were highly involved, these initiatives failed to expand.