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Living Lab for Health

The Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa designs a new health promotion model for schools


The new model, which aims to encourage students to play a proactive role in health promotion through participatory research methodologies, will be the guiding thread of the CONNECT International Conference on Open Schooling

Open Schooling aims to encourage students to solve problems in their environment with a proactive role by promoting participatory research with the community and professionals from different fields. The Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa, within the framework of the European project CONNECT and Sentinel Schools, uses this educational practice with the aim of improving health promotion. Today and tomorrow, the Living Lab team is presenting at the CONNECT International Conference on Open Schooling (CICOS 2023), organized by the consortium of the European project CONNECT and with the participation of IrsiCaixa, the design of a new health promotion model recently published in the International Journal of Public Health. This is one of the topics to be discussed at the congress, which will take place at the CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, and will bring together more than 120 international professionals in the field of Open Schooling.

Schools are devoting more and more effort to improve science education. CONNECT is committed to this improvement, which will be achieved by promoting the Open Schooling movement, which shows science as a key tool to improve our environment. Through this methodology, the students' confidence in the science learning process is improved and, at the same time, that of their families, who have a direct influence on the students' confidence.


Open schools to improve health promotion

International organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Control, suggest that, in order to improve prevention and health promotion, it is necessary to create community structures where different social actors can organize and network proactively. However, they do not provide guidelines indicating how they should be organized and what actions should be carried out.

To respond to this real and increasingly evident problem, The Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa has carried out participatory research processes using systemic approaches with primary and secondary school students. In this way, they get students to make strategic reflections and design and implement personalized and integrated interventions, taking a proactive role to solve problems in their community. To achieve this goal, they have designed a methodology called "oriented and systemic dialogue model". This is a process in which the team involves the students in solving a problem that really concerns them. The students acquire knowledge through participatory research that involves consultation, integration and prioritization of possible solutions to the problem, and finally, they disseminate the results and the process, while implementing their solutions through an action plan.

During these years, the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa has carried out three iterations, that is, it has repeated this process three times to work on two different challenges: the prevention of COVID-19 in schools and the promotion of the mental health of young people. In total, the team worked together with 2,479 students and families and 79 teachers from 23 different schools. The result of these processes, presented at the congress by the head of the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa Rosina Malagrida and the project manager of the Living Lab for Health Laia Vives, has allowed students to prioritize recommendations, set specific objectives and propose and implement missions to solve these problems.


CICOS 2023, a space for educational innovation and research

Professionals will discuss the methodologies used to promote the Open Schooling movement. Through this revolutionary approach, the aim is to lead students to identify real-life problems in which they are interested, and discuss possible solutions together with the scientific community and other groups involved in the problem. Thus, the congress will become a space to share methodologies and educational initiatives, and to discuss how to promote transition from traditional school model to the Open Schooling.

The objectives of CICOS 2023 are to disseminate and reflect on Open Schooling practices, overcome barriers and explore opportunities in this field, contribute to achieving sustainable development goals, and promote collaborative projects to reach this movement both locally and globally.

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