+Power Project – Prisoners develop a console to support learning.

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The students of the professional course of Information Technology (IT) at the prison school in Castelo Branco (Portugal) developed a prototype for an Adaptive Console, as a result of a classroom activity, in order to respond positively to the challenge, set out by the +Power Project.

The project brings together the work and commitment of the teachers Luís Baião (special education teacher) and Paulo Serra, IT teacher, TOP 6 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize Portugal 2020, from the schools of Canelas – V.N. Gaia and Nuno Álvares in Castelo Branco, respectively, as well as a wide support team from both schools.

The prototype was developed through the recycling of obsolete computer equipment, and its function is to complement +Power Educational Resources, in order to support children and young people with and without motor disabilities.

The production of more than 20 Consoles was planned and will be used in the classroom by students and teachers, who will participate in a specialized training. This will be delivered in the two groups of schools.
The +Power Educational Resources are available for free on the project website (http://www.maispower.pt) and can be edited by teachers, students and tutors to support or reinforce their students’ learning, applying to all levels of education.

In this project, students also involved in the project “SIM, Somos Capazes” (Canelas – V.N. Gaia), actively produce resources to enrich the volunteer movement.

The advantage of these resources is based mainly on the adaptability and simplicity of executing and editing tasks with previously given templates so that they can be easily adapted. Then, anyone with basic skills in electronic editing and presentation software (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint) can adapt these to each student, promoting digital, social, and school inclusion.

According to its mentors, the project aims to “provide the development and sharing of digital educational resources and relative support technologies, through the recycling of computer materials, promoting Reintegration in the community, Inclusion, and Volunteering”.

On January 27, 2021, an online Workshop was held (program) during which the project was presented (watch video). This was attended by students, parents, and psychology teams from the school clusters involved, as well as by over 160 teachers from several schools in the country.

This workshop allowed all partners to reflect on the impact generated by these dynamics in terms of prison students’ motivation. Therefore, by giving students the opportunity to know the reality of Inclusion and Volunteering contributed to greater commitment and dedication.

Furthermore, the involvement of students in the SIM, Somos Capazes’ project “introduction to reading” is stimulated through the creation of resources to help other students in a true spirit of cooperation and sharing.
To conclude, according to the teachers Luís Baião and Paulo Serra, encouraging participants to reflect on the importance of “make people believe and get socially involved” are the core values of the +Power Project.

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