Alt-Er App & Learning Resources
Teach Socio-Emotional Skills

ALT-ER’s aim is to foster resilience in learners, lessen early school leaving, and give European children (ages 4 -6) a good start in their education. This site will have animation tools and games - as well as learning activities specific to the transition phase from kindergarten to school.

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Using the App

Brief instruction of the app. Use with your 5-7 old child as a parent or let the kids at kindergarden explore!

  • Exploration
  • Dialogue with Parent
  • Languages
  • Jump to any Situation

Children can explore the vast world of animated, hand-drawn animations from talented French art studio. Clicking on characters starts animations describing situations to child.

Turn on dialogue options to discuss the animated situations with your child.

Change between English, Finnish, Romanian, French, Danish and Dutch languages!

Jump to any of the 100+ situations with a click of a button!

Additional Materials
Additional tasks and resources that can be used with children aged 5-7.

About

Overview

The progect’s aim is to foster resilient learning environments, lessen early school leaving, and give European children (ages 4 -6) a good start in their education while providing and advancing technical skills in working with technology that will serve them well in life. For this purpose, the partnership has developed age appropriate ICT animation tools and games - as well as pedagogical framework specific to the transition phase from kindergarten to school.

Project Intended Outcomes

  • Creation of a digital Toolbox platform, consisting of existing and/or necessary and internally developed tools and animation activities and for GBL and ECEC contexts. ALT-ER is primarily aimed at teachers for use with students, but can potential have a much wider range of impact.
  • Development of a pedagogical framework that embraces creative and innovative learning activities and children’s needs while addressing skepticism, reluctance, and low uptake concerning ICT activities in general and as related to ECEC specifically
  • Analysis reports on experiences from the pilot testing and workshop events which highlight the methodology and thinking behind the project further justifying both the framework and activities while generating new knowledge in a highly relevant of European policy
  • Publications and interactive platforms for transmission of the knowledge created during ALT-ER project

These combined outputs are thought to be the basis for real change in understanding, appreciation, and practice as regard to benefits and potential of using ICT in ECEC contexts and will create an atmosphere that is hoped will, moving forward, effect EU concerns about early school leavers, enhance performance in education systems, and allow for development of digital competences that will facilitate and improve eventual entry to the labor market.

Project Progress from project manager's perspective

To this point, the project group has investigated the standards and practices in each of the partner countries and are compiling the knowledge into a graphic that will serve to contextualise the accepted processes in each country in order to draw parallels and inform external audiences of the expectations, standards, and practices that exist across the EU.

This has and will continue to provide insight into the areas of development necessary in each partner country, and allow for a scatter plot based on age range and assumed effectiveness of learning activities and goals for the project. This knowledge has and continues to form the basis for the framework we are developing, which will contextualise and justify digital tools for learning as well as prescribing a process for educators to interact with the toolbox that we are curating and creating original elements for.

We have enacted several workshops to this point both in the discovery phase and in further development of a concept that is effective for the deployment of the learning goals we are building based on the preliminary research. Initial concept designs were well received with younger audiences, but were rejected by those in the latter stages of the age band in question as being immature. This led to a reexamination of the issues coming to the forefront, and the best way in which to address them without ostracising any part of the diverse group of intended participants.

Teachers and students on the younger side of the age band very much enjoyed a preliminary concept we were developing that took a train as the main conceit, controlled by the user, and which stopped at activities along the way. As mentioned, this concept proved very popular among groups of younger oriented audiences, but was ultimately rejected by groups representing the older age range in question. Additional research determined that the concept was deemed to be age inappropriate by the older children on the grounds that similar concepts had been a part of their formative experience as toddlers, and were said to be “boring” and intended for younger audiences. Youth respondents referred to a LEGO app that functioned in a similar manner and claimed that was “a game for babies.” This conforms to research provided by multiple partners that young people are far more likely to identify with a concept thought to be slightly beyond their age than one that caters to younger audiences.

Additional testing commenced, and upon regrouping at the second partner meeting, experiences and research led a debate about the best strategy for moving forward. As a result, this train concept was replaced with a hide and seek construct that would be scalable to any age range. Group work has determined that the ease of inclusion of hints, and the manner in which each experience could be augmented and have benefit added by a teacher or parents’ involvement made this a perfect fit for the needs of the project, the target groups, and European students and teachers.

We have engaged with audiences outside the formal partner constellation, mainly represented by schools in each partner country that we have met and worked with to understand the processes they employ as well as their impressions of the activities and goals in development. This has been both a formal and informal process, and has generated both qualitative and quantitative results for consideration in the overall structure of the project and inclusion in the reporting packages. They have responded to questionnaires about the use of technology in their schools and home countries, have opined on the platform and layout of the toolbox design, and have helped crystalize issues that demand attention in the transition phase. Additionally, we have involved several technology and gaming related companies in contextualizing their understanding of the needs of games meant to teach. They have been important for helping the whole team imagine concepts and strategies.

The next phase is to enter final production of the animated assets, and build story worlds with loosely tied narrative guideposts that allow users to create their own story out of the world’s cast of characters and happenings. Students should be able to use the platform as a game based learning tool that is primarily interested in having them “fill in the gaps” and link disparate events through creative, self-reflective storytelling.

Contact Us

Have a question? We love that – get in touch with the Alt-Er team by dropping an mail to !

Research

Click on sections to read more or download short PDF / full research PDF.

Resilience through socio-emotional development

  • Social interaction is crucial in any child`s development and children should be seen as inherently engaged in the social world from birth
  • Social engagement prompts development of skills in independently carrying out and organizing activities in their culture
  • Adult mediation is a way for children to be equipped with appropriate tools to focus on the learning outcomes in the creative processes they undergo in different contexts, giving them the necessary foundation for expressing themselves
  • ICT usage empowers children by granting them a voice they may have never had before and opens new ways of designing dynamic methods which can help to put children in touch with ideas and concepts formerly beyond their reach
  • Storytelling is recognized as a critical aspect of human thought and development, it positively affects social, emotional and lingual development and has a heavy influence of identity formation
  • Children should be provided with a different tools to express their ideas and emotions in a safe environment, ideally in a self-directed manner

Artifacts as prompts for dialogue

  • Both surface level and symbolic levels of meaning can be explored through dialogue based on depictions
  • Artifacts are reflective of the real world with which young people in the transition period are still coming to terms with and building their understandings of the world around them
  • Narrative creation fosters imagination development, creating an imaginative space to play and ponder which enables thinking about the world, people and relationships
  • Encouraging imaginative thinking and providing tools necessary for children to do so is highly beneficial for individual development and the ability for complex problem solving

Developing shared dialogues

  • Adults understanding of children`s needs and priorities is linked to the attention paid to the communication style of the child - attentive adults are more likely to engage in dialogue, and dialogue in turn fosters a better understanding of a child`s learning needs
  • A teacher must be aware of both child`s and his/hers own perspectives, possible only through dialogue with that student
  • Both children and the teacher must be involved/engaged in the process and present
  • The goals of the teacher and a sensitivity to the child`s perspective have to work simultaneously

Creative and narrative explorations

  • Creativity stands as one of the central competences most valued in 21st century employees – as such, it is deeply important to accommodate this increasing demand for creative minds through education, starting with training programs for teachers
  • Teaching creatively and using imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting and effective provides opportunities for children to express their own styles and personalities
  • Teaching for creativity aims to foster creative thinking and behavior among children through different teaching methods and strategies
  • Storytelling supports development of creativity, risk taking, and coping with uncertainty
  • Early narrative competences are linked to and predictive of reading comprehension in later primary school years and help to create a secure foundation for future literacy and long term success in schooling

Continuity across contexts

  • Teachers act as supporters, coachers, facilitators and models of creativity for children
  • The family is perceived as a micro social group within a macro social context - a collection of individuals with shared history who interact within ever changing social contexts across increasing time and space
  • Parents and teachers working in the same mediated space benefit retention and engagement
  • Supporting and creating links between young children and their caregivers both at home and in school is a vital part of successful school transitions
  • There exists a marked importance for collaboration and communication between kindergarten and preschool to ensure smooth and successful transition for childrens

School family communications

  • Communication between different institutions and the direct involvement of families, as well as teaching children to work in different social - cultural settings have been shown to smooth transitions for children
  • Guided participation takes into account not only the active engagement of children, but also the role of peers and caregivers between whom communication and has a significant role in children`s transition between institutions are critical to ease transitions
  • Using ICT with support of teachers and parents, can result in a more positive attitudes towards learning
  • Parents, teachers and children working in collaborative way together leads to improved academic performance

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