COVID-19 is having a huge impact on the cultural and creative sector and this is affecting also young people and citizens. It has created psychological problems and fear for the future.
We would like to face the issue by using Online Escape Rooms as a tool to support young people in the process of learning and raise their capacities of resilience, problem solving and creative thinking.
While the use of escape rooms in education is a nascent idea, the first recreational escape room can be traced back to Japan in 2007: the basic premise is simple: People are trapped inside a space for a specific amount of time and need to solve a number of puzzles to get out.
Dr. Scott Nicholson, an American Professor of Game Design & Development, was the first one in 2014 to approach the evolution of Escape Rooms from an educational point of view, therefore attempting to identify the way in which the concept could practically fit in various educational scenarios and programs. The power of this tool in the digital world is yet to be fully explored, but it for sure adds value in terms of inclusion, reach, and usefulness in times in which “on spot” activities might be more difficult to realize.
The objectives we want to achieve are:
– Provide an innovative ICT–based model, with theoretical and practical methods that will motivate young professionals in NGOs to enhance creative skills on young people and their target groups.
– Support youth workers to harness the potential of digital learning environments to build high-value skill sets within their target groups;
– Test with applying innovative methodology in each partner country and gather feedback for improvements;
– Expand youth workers’ tutoring tools with an enabler for conducting “Educational Escape Room” games, and encourage them to create online learning opportunities for youth;
– Strengthen cooperation in the cultural and creative sector and exchange of information and good practices between diverse entities in different areas of Europe.
The project will last for 24 months (March 2021 – February 2023) and is divided into the following phases:
a) The State of Art research “The First Looking at Learning” will outline problems in the area of creative learning in each involved country’s education systems, viewing education policy documents and the actual situation in education.
b) A second research, “The Key Elements of Creative Learning Environment”, will exploit the potential to enable new forms of teaching and transform the learning experience of online education escape rooms.
c) Creation of a manual which will show several ways to properly create a learning experience of education through escape rooms online.
d) Short term staff training. The main aim of the training course is to enable the youth workers involved to understand the manual previously created in order to become a new important online tool in their daily youth work.
e) App development. This phase will be concentrated on developing an educational online escape room app
f) Multiplier events.
g) Transnational Partners Meetings.
All methodology are based on the following principles:
– Face to face learning with non formal education methods mixed with theoretical inputs
– Cooperation for the achievement of the results and exchanging good practices and ideas
– Active involvement of the target groups to ensure their empowerment and therefore the achievement of project results.
– Transferability, as the activities can be easily replicated with other models and within another context.
The project will involve 120 youth workers and over 3000 youth directly in its life cycle.
On a long run, we can foresee that the methodology developed within our project can lead to the creation of a variety of tools to be used for different educational purposes in different contexts.