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Young Minds - exploring links between youth, culture and health - web based, cross cultural development and research project (YM)

Project: Research

  • Department of Curriculum Research
  • Miljø- og sundhedspædagogik
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Young Minds is an Internet-based collaborative educational development project in which young people from a number of countries in Europe communicate and explore links between youth, culture, health and environment. It was initiated in 2000 and there have been several ?phases? of the projects since then. The project leader is Bjarne Bruun Jensen, and each phase has a coordinator. In the first phase -?Young Minds 1?, the coordinators were Bjarne Bruun Jensen and Venka Simovska, in the second phase - ?Young Minds 2?, Venka Simovska, in the third phase - ?Young Minds 3? Bjarne Bruun Jensen and in the last, fourth phase - ?Young Minds 4?, the coordinator was Niels Larsen.

The last year (2004) "Young Minds" consisted of 8 schools working within the frames of the approach, focusing on environment and health. The action component this time was linked to the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, titled ?The future for our children?, that is to take place in Budapest 23-25 June, 2004. "Young Minds" were invited to actively participate in this conference.

The following features are characterising all the phases of the project:

Student participation: students are genuinely involved in dialogue and decision making about specific aspects of the topics they are working with.

Action and change orientation: the student project-work is directed towards action and change. Students? ideas and visions have a crucial role in deciding about actions to be taken with regard to improving the environment and health in their schools and communities.

The use of ICT: students use WWW and other new technologies to investigate the topics, exchange and discuss ideas, present their findings and reflections and initiate a broader debate.

Cross-cultural collaboration: students cooperate in order to explore differences and similarities with regard to the environmental and health concerns, with an emphasis on global interconnectedness and social responsibility.

The project is linked to the European Network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS), a programme jointly supported by the European Commission, Council of Europe and WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Research is an essential aspect of the project. There have been several articles published in peer reviewed Journals, discussing findings related to Young Minds, as well as a number of presentations at international conferences.

Examples include:

Simovska, V. and Jensen, B.B. (2003). young-minds/lessons learnt: student participation, action and cross-cultural collaboration in a virtual classroom, The Danish University of Education Press. The book discusses the findings from the first phase of the project.

Jensen, B. B. Simovska, V. Larsen, N. and Holm, L.G. (2005). Young people want to be part of the answer: Young Minds as an educational approach to involving schools and young people in national health and environment action plans. WHO Regional office for Europe. The book documents the project through case stories from each of the 8 schools involved, discusses the findigs from the evaluation research with participating teachers and students, and suggest strategies for involving schools and young people in the national health and environment action plans.

?Learning through InterAction: learning through participation and action: the health promoting schools perspective?. A PhD submitted by Venka Simovska in December 2004. The study draws on the Young Minds project to criticaly explore processes of learning about health through participation and action. A new theoretical perspective on learning is suggested, through a model of participation which joins together the principles of the democratic health education and health promotion and the main concepts of sociocultural learning theory.
Effective start/end date01/03/200020/02/2005

Research outputs

ID: 128851088