By Maria Gregoriou
A NEW online educational tool ‘Gnositexnia,’ a fusion of knowledge and craft, geared to teach school curriculum through the use of music, poetry, movies and games has been approved by the education ministry.
“After receiving approval from the government we have started to upload material onto the software platform. So far I have visited a number of nursery schools in Nicosia to train the teachers on how to use the software. During the next few days I will also get back to some Cypriots in the UK who have approached me about the educational tool,” said Evaggelia Aristidou, the project’s founder.
All content for nursery schools and for the first grade of primary schools is now available online. The remaining material for primary schools, secondary schools and lyceums should be uploaded before the school year begins in September.
The aim is to offer a more efficient, creative and cost-effective solution to students who need extra help after school. It can also be used by teachers.
“Parents can use the software as if it were an afternoon private lesson. It is a much cheaper option and children can complete the lesson in the comfort of their own home, without parents having to drop them off and pick them up from afternoon classes,” Aristidou said.
After the registration of an account, users can select the lesson to be bought and add it to their cart. For 24 hours of usage it costs €8, for 30 days, €60 and € 220 for a year.
For example, a user can buy all the material for the Greek lesson taught in the first class of primary schools.
The nursery school material can be bought for €600 as a package for a year.
The programme also has various educational games. “While students are going through the game, parents can also learn the lesson or even take down notes to test their children later. In this way they can correct the worksheet,” Aristidou said.
Games are only timed for subjects like mathematics. For the other subjects there are no time limits.
To get Gnositexnia up and running, 15 teachers, two game developers, three website developers, three graphic designers, and 17 artists from Cyprus and Greece came together.
The whole idea began in 2006 when the issue of racism came up in a school in Nicosia where Aristidou was working. The existing educational material did not cover racism, so Aristidou had to create her own.
“Subjects like racism and how to save water are not in the material given to teachers, so we had to make our own. This takes a lot of time and when you are teaching you do not have much time to create extra material that is specialised to your class and ways of teaching,” Aristidou said.
Another problem was with the CD-ROMs which came along with white board hardware. These were translated from English to Greek and again lacked the extra material suitable for certain lessons.
On October 12 KESEA (the Cyprus Scientific Association for the Development of Information Technology and Communication) will organise the first educational conference for Gnositexnia.
For more information call 22625147.