Personally speaking, I was greatly affected by the CyGen project in the way I currently approach children, when a new item/subject is to be taught. I now give more emphasis on children’s cooperation but in a more obvious and practical or imaginative way.
My relationship with kids has been improved at every aspect, there a closer communication with pupils-as an educational target audience. It is a success for a teacher to face their kids, acting in a more collaborative manner, getting themselves even closer to each other. Furthermore, the children themselves have been affected surprisingly by the whole methodology of the Design Cycle (Presentations, Creations, Collaboration, Filming, Interviews, Reporting, Findings and Solutions).
Our organization itself has a lot to say on the CyGen project results. For example, other schools’ positive comments about our project, especially while hosting the ME, on March 20th 2019 and other teachers’ verbal references, on the project itself, prove of the CyGen project success.
Our school has been a scene of great creativity and stakeholder engagement, receiving credentials by other nearby schools, parents and by familiar organizations. Through the project., our profile has been raised and we have managed to receive donations by private financial sources, in order to renovate our organization and alter our school’s image.
Greek CyGen team
May 2019 saw the last of the CyGen project’s Transnational Partner Meetings, which took place in Hasselt, Belgium. Attended by project team members from each of our country teams, we spent three days focussing in on feeding back from our latest Design Cycles, concluding the outputs of the project, talking about sustainability and impact into the future. After three years working on this project our partnerships remain strong and we are looking at how we can continue to work together in the future – watch this space! We’ll be getting our heads down over the summer months to complete the reporting for the European Commission – our co-funder – keep an eye on our webpage (www.cygen.eu) for our reports and continuing work. You can also follow us on Twitter (@cygen.eu). Get in touch with any questions or queries about the project!
Michelle and Paul
UK CyGen team
University of Northampton
The theme of the event was safe internet for young people. The CyGEN project was extensively presented by Ruben Jans. He is involved in the project as a researcher, and was responsible for the development of the online game, among other things. During the project he worked closely with pupils from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece and Belgium.
The first presentation on the CyGen project was intended as an informative presentation, followed by the presentation of research data from the project. These research data were used to start a conversation with the participants. This was also appreciated by the participants, so that they could also share their own experiences with the whole group. In addition, the Cybersimpel.be project was also presented. This is an initiative of Google and Test-Aankoop, with the support of the Center for Cyber Security Belgium, Federal Public Service for Home Affairs, Child Focus, Digital Belgium, Belgium Police, Bibliotheek zonder Grenzen. One of the components of the project is 'Cyber Hero'. Being a Cyber Hero empowers younger children to use the web safely and wisely, so they can be confident explorers of the online world. This toolkit was extensively discussed and shown. The participants also had the opportunity to work hands-on themselves.
The online world sometimes offers more questions than answers. That's why we thought it was important to invite organizations like AWEL vzw. AWEL is a free service for young people between 6 and 25 years old. Contacting Awel is anonymous. A theme that often comes up is Cyberbullying.
The event ended with a 'Safe internet' workshop. An employee of Child Focus explained apps. She not only talked about possible threats to apps, but also about how to deal with them as a teacher or parent. Child focus is a very well-known organization in Belgium and is supported by the government.
On March 20th 2019, the Greek CyGen team organized its Conference (Multiplier Event) in Kalamata, at the Amphitheatre of the Central Labour Hall of the town. The title of the ME event was: ‘Little kids-Great dreams’.
Many teachers, parents, pupils from the 2nd Primary school, along with stakeholders from other schools nearby, attended the event. Also, there was a representative from the Police Department who analysed the very basics of Online Safety. Moreover, the event was introduced by the Prefect of Adolescents’ Prosecution who presentation was on ‘Addicted Behaviour on Net gaming’. In addition, an ICT teacher (ex-Councilor) on Computers gave a speech on the subject ‘Festival on Digital creations’. Finally, our ICT teacher and CyGen member, presented a brief update on the CyGen project (Actions and Results), referring to the ongoing project, especially on the Greek Design Cycle of the Greek 10-year-olds pupils of the Primary school.
At the end of the event all the donators of our school were honoured for their support. The CyGen Conference was accompanied by music, songs and relaxed children’s voices who embraced the atmosphere, characterising the whole process a mere success.
Greek CyGen team
In the framework of the design-based research of the CyGen project, two workshops have been implemented in the context of the Greek design cycle: the data workshop and the design workshop. The first of the two CyGen workshops, the data workshop, aimed at leading students towards understanding safe online behavior through meaningful creations to them. These creations, according to the project guides, consisted of Lego and play-dough constructions as well as drawings students usually create at this age (10 year- old children), all relating to opportunities and challenges the children face online such as recreation through the internet (watching movies, listening to music), dangerous situations (gaming), discussed issues like viruses, scary situations (e.g. blue whale), effects like sharing personal data. Students came up with such constructions as Lego viruses, robotic figures, mobile/tablet and computer screens/consoles, constructions showing messenger or other media communications.
The second CyGen workshop, the design workshop, focused on initiating discussion on general and specific online dilemmas already derived from the previous data workshop, that is, children’s constructions regarding online opportunities and problematic situations. Children identified challenges like ‘Talking to Strangers’ ‘Phishing messages’, ‘personal data’ and their sharing, ‘surfing unknown web pages’ and ‘playing dangerous games’; they had to stick to one of the above problems, work on their own in order to construct the identified problem by using a different kind, from the previous data workshop, material. Then, students had to draw a poster in their groups in order to depict ‘their group’s problematic situation’ and offer relevant advice to other children or people through their posters.
In January 2019 the UK CyGen team returned to the UK project school: Preston Hedges. We spent the day with the CyGen children, testing the latest version of the webapp and getting their feedback. As a result, the project mascot, Bubbles, now features in the opening pages of the tool, welcoming users and giving them oversight of how it works, where to click and when. The children also took part in a lesson delivered using the teacher wrap around text that we developed as part of the project. We received some powerful VoxPops (short videos offering their opinions of the project and their part in it), that the children recorded themselves: we have some great budding reporters within the group!
After lunch, the children took up their roles as peer researchers again, helping us to construct a questionnaire for their grown-ups on the impact of the project and the design of the webapp. Working with the UK CyGen team they used an online survey tool to upload the questions that they had designed. The survey will be distributed during summer 2019 to help with our reporting for the project.
The UK CyGen team
The conference started with an introduction to the CyGen project by the DK team. At the conference four keynote presentations were made. The first was delivered by the Danish organisation ‘Center for Digital Education’. The presentation was aimed at middle school students, school teachers and parents and centered on children’s online behavior, including a facilitated discussion about digital communities, digital bullying, image sharing and privacy.
Next Michal Pilgaard and Jette Aabo Frydendahl from VIA University College gave a presentation on how the CyGen team are applying user-involvement in design. In this presentation the audience got the opportunity to do hands-on activities on how to work with user-involved design processes in educational contexts. The processes illustrated how teachers can use design-based learning to create a space for children to reflect on and analyse current issues and potentials related to digital behavior.
The third presentation focused on the CyGen Young People’s Panel – Children’s Life in a Digital Age” by Heidi Stensman Pugh from VIA. The Young People’s Panel is a central part of the CyGen project to involve children as researchers. During the presentation findings from the CyGen project in Denmark were presented. Findings regarding the opportunities and challenges Danish schoolchildren meet in their everyday lives in relation to digital behavior.
The conference ended with a presentation from the municipality of Odense on how they have made an active effort to support parents of teenagers to talk about online behaviors. The efforts have been made in close cooperation with the behavioral design agency WeLearn. The presentation addressed the results already given to both behavioural behaviour and the way in which a close partnership can help bring the people at the center in a project on children’s online behavior.
The latest two-day international partner meeting for CyGen was hosted by the Greek team in Kalamata, which is in the Peloponnese region in the south of Greece. We were able to hear from all partners regarding their progress on the project, and to plan together for the coming months. We were joined via a weblink by our Belgium colleague in Ruben, who was able to update us on exciting changes to the CyGen webapp.
On the 2nd day, all members of the European team (England and Denmark), visited the 2nd Primary school of Kalamata where they were introduced to the school’s facilities. They received a warm welcome by the school’s teachers/Headmistress, as well as from representatives of various educational or Local Authorities.
Some presentations and a project meeting took place in the brand new (recently reconstructed) computer lab on the second floor of the school. CyGen was the focus of a news item on a local television (‘Mesogeios’) station later that night, which included interviews with our Headmistress, and some of the international CyGen team. As part of the visit we were immensely pleased to welcome supportive local dignitaries who showed their support of our project.
Teacher of Information Technology
2nd Primary School of Kalamata
With thanks to the following colleagues who supported the visit:
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Consultant of Informatics, Head of Consultants for Nursery school of Peloponnese Directorate, General Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in Kalamata, the President of ‘Frontizo’ (a body of educators assisting pupils of lower financial background), the Headmistress of 2nd Primary school, and the PTA president for the 2nd Primary School of Kalamata.
The team met for our 4th project meeting to discuss our findings so far and how these are shaping the design and content of digital resources to support children’s digital literacy and online safety.
Teams presented key messages from children, parents and teachers about how they children go online. We noted some interesting differences between 9-10 year olds in the UK who tend to use their phones and other platforms to create and consume digital content and to talk to friends they know from school and Danish teens who told us how they are extending their digital social networks to include people they meet online.
Children’s ideas continue to shape the content of the digital resources with children’s ideas about how they manage online challenges being incorporated in to the digital resources we are co-producing with them. Quizzes, interactive activities and clear guidance for parents, children and teachers are the take-home message from Danish and UK children.
Prof. Helen Lomax
Professor of Childhood Studies
University of Huddersfield
In September 2018 our Danish CyGen team participated in the annual European Educational Research Conference (ECER). This year the main conference theme was Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research? The conference was in the beautiful city of Bolzano, Italy.
The Danish team held a double paper presentation with the titles: “Co-creating an Educational Package with children on the topic of Safe internet behaviour and good practice online” and “Children as co-researchers – including children in developing and collecting data as part of a European Research Project on Digital Safety”.
The aim of the papers was to present our research to educational researchers across Europe, giving them a strong insight into how we use participatory design to involve children, teachers and parents in the development of the digital tool. The presentations also included preliminary findings from focus group interviews with children, parents and teachers.
Our papers were well received, opening up fruitful discussions on the similarities across European countries in the challenges children, parents and teachers faces going online – and how to address these challenges. Discussions centered on the question of the definition on danger online – and if children define danger online in the same way adults do. The network for whom the presentation was held also showed interest in seeing the finalized digital tool and the CyGen team have been invited to return to ECER 2019 to present this – exciting times!
Heidi Stensman Pugh
Danish CyGen Team
Lecturer, VIA University College