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"Environmental peer-to-peer education for youths with focus on smart use of Information and Communication Technologies" (useITsmartly)

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For young people IT use is an important part of their everyday life but for the majority of them the awareness for environmental impacts of IT use and knowledge about how to save energy while using devices is still missing. The invisibility of the seemingly immaterial, virtual services and goods and their effects on energy demand and environment are a challenging field of action connected to the Europe’s 2020 goals. “useITsmartly” aimed to close this gap by developing innovative solutions to facilitate young people’s capacity building of smart IT use and ideas on how to reach adolescents regarding this topic. The project idea included the following steps:
  • mapping of IT user practices and contexts of young people for behaviour and technology change;
  • exploring innovative solutions and ideas to facilitate and encourage energy-efficient IT practices together with youth;
  • assessing the technical feasibility and impacts of these solutions by experts;
  • developing and implementing IT-peer education in all partner countries including innovative prototypes visualising aspects of sustainable energy consumption.
Results led to the creation of a toolbox and didactical guidelines for relevant stakeholders in the area of energy behaviour changing programs focused on IT and young people.

Results

  • In 15 creativity workshops 415 young people from 5 European countries developed 232 strategies for energy saving ICT use.
  • Youth proposed ideas were assessed by experts and summariesed in an interactive online-toolbox for youth, ICT-practitioners, NGOs, teachers, stakeholders, etc.
  • Didactical concepts for IT-peer training were developed, to help stimulate young people’s capacity building on green use of ICT and empowering them to make appropriate energy-related choices. These concepts can be adapted by multipliers in different countries.
  • 331 IT-peers were trained and they reached 39,716 other persons in their peer work through various methods. 240 schools and 408 teachers participated in the action.
  • useITsmartly contributed to reach the targets of the EU 20/20/20 Directive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency by stimulating changes in individual behaviours and lifestyles among young people and their families and friends.
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Lessons learned

  • Young people form a heterogeneous group with a variety of interests in ICT use, if properly engaged they can show great creativity and commitment to peer-teaching-projects.
  • Motivating ICT use behaviour change with environmental reasons makes it very difficult to sufficiently drive young people to become active. Furthermore, young people seem to prefer methods of information and communication that would not involve them "visibly".
  • Bracing peer-trainings in schools is advisable, because pre-existing structures can be helpful, as well as experience in teaching and the existance of people responsible for the sustainability of the project.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

University of Wuppertal
Germany
Contact point: 
Name: 
Jennifer Dahmen
Tel: 
+49 202 439 3181

Budget

In brief

Duration:
03/04/2013 to 02/04/2016
Contract number: 
IEE/12/997

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