New Erasmus+ project "Virtual Reality Approach to Anti-Doping Learning" (VIRAL) aims to improve anti-doping education in a groundbreaking way.

As the COVID -19 pandemic has spread around the world, concepts such as social distancing are being put into practice in education as well as in our daily life. This has created many new challenges for education, especially in sport related issues. The pandemic situation has made apparent the need for the transformation of education from traditional to digital. Policy makers in the sport sector will be forced to adopt social distancing measures in the provision of education, hence replacing face to face teaching in traditional classrooms will become more important. Sport organizations will use new technologies to transfer their traditional teaching practices to virtual ones and develop appropriate pedagogical approaches. In order to do this it is necessary to embed digital technologies in ways that support deep and meaningful learning and build multifunctional online environments.

This is the vision of the VIRAL project. VIRAL project aims to promote innovative and impactful anti-doping education through a virtual reality game targeting competitive and recreational athletes. New technologies can greatly increase the acceptance and impact of anti-doping education among a variety of target groups. Through the development of a Virtual Reality program, VIRAL project recognizes the need to move forward and improve the way anti-doping education is developed, delivered, and assessed. The project seeks to produce a novel and impactful anti-doping educational intervention by combining:

a) updated research from the social and behavioral sciences on doping usage
b) state-of-the-art learning pedagogies
c) cutting-edge virtual reality game design and technology.

Such an approach allows building an innovative anti-doping training resource that will be appealing to young athletes and trainers. Using existing evidence of anti-doping, VIRAL project will

a) utilize cutting-edge behavioral science research on the risk and protective factors against doping use in amateur and grassroots sports to inform the development of an anti-doping virtual reality program
b) use the 'Open Innovation' framework to code-sign anti-doping virtual reality programs through active collaboration among anti-doping experts, VR designers and young athletes in amateur and grassroots sports
c) promote a more positive mentality about drug-free and health-enhancing physical activity and sports.

ENSE is thrilled to be part of the project together with its coordinator, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, as well as Sheffield Hallam University (UK), University of Leipzig (Germany), Aalborg University and the Southern Denmark University (both Denmark).

ENSE is about to kick off its first-ever digital event! Due to by now familiar reasons, ENSE decided to move the ENSE Forum from 2021 to 2022. As a result, ENSE has decided to offer its first-ever online event in 2021, providing two days of content on the subject of digital sport education.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the trend of digital sport education, pushing and inspiring many sport educators to offer programming online. The first day, September 23 from 10:00-11:30, offers an intense panel discussion. Under the theme “Digital Sport Education” the discussion aims to explore the possibilities, limits, challenges, and innovations presented by digital sport education. These speakers are leaders in their field and represent various important sectors, including research, policy, and grassroots sport:

Dr. Karen Petry is a Deputy Head of institute at the German Sport University, and she has worked for over 30 years on the development, delivery and evaluation of sport education programming. Dr. Sergio Lara-Bercial from the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) is an expert in Sport Coaching. He has extensive international experience in the development and evaluation and coach education systems and is director of the globally acclaimed Erasmus+ project iCoachKids. Carolina Barros from Tempo Livre/CEDG is a professor in physical activity. In her work at Tempo Livre, she aims to encourage sports practice in the Municipality of Guimarães, Portugal, by providing innovative services, sport programs and activities. ENSE’s Secretary General, Louis Moustakas, will moderate the panel discussion.

The second day, September 24 from 10:00-11:30, will consist of parallel virtual-yet-practical sessions. The goal of these sessions is to provide a practical, first-hand experience of the digital sport education activities undertaken by ENSE members. Participants will gain conrete examples of how sport education translates to the digital world. The following digital sport education topics will be presented and discussed:

The meetings will be held on the digital WebEx platform. Get your free ticket now by registering at this link: https://bit.ly/36xjOU6

Further updates on the digital event will be shared on www.sporteducation.eu.

On Monday, 14 June 2021, ENSE secretary general Louis Moustakas participated in the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) Consultative Committee Plenary Meeting. Mr. Moustakas presented the extensive work that ENSE has done in the field of sport education, including projects such as EDU:PACT and SEDY.

In addition, ENSE joined the annual EPAS Governing Board meeting on June 15-16. The event was held online to discuss the EPAS programme of activities ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on sport activities, to child safeguarding, to closed sports leagues

The revision of the European Sports Charter was also a prominent subject during the meeting. "We are pleased to see that the new Charter calls for increased education around human rights, safety and integrity in sport" said Mr. Moustakas, "Up to now, policy has often called on sport to deliver social benefits without necessarily recognizing the need for such education"

2021 - Annual meeting of the EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee

ENSE has been an official member of the Consultative Committee of the EPAS since 2018, while Mr. Moustakas was elected as a Bureau Member for the Consultative Committee CC in September last year. More information on the two-day meeting can be found here.

We are requesting organisations using sport for social cohesion to complete our short survey, in order to inform future programming and best practice.

The use of sport to promote social cohesion has grown rapidly in recent years. This includes the use of sport for social inclusion and the integration of refugees and migrants. Public, private and third sector organisations are using sport as a vehicle to advance social cohesion in various contexts.

However, there are various challenges which continue to limit our understanding as to how sport and social cohesion programmes can be most effectively designed, delivered, and measured.

As such, sportanddev, the German Sport University and Sport and Social Cohesion Lab project partners, are conducting a survey to identify common features, challenges, and best practices in the use of sport for social cohesion.

The survey is part of a broader mapping exercise which seeks to contribute to better understanding of social cohesion at the practitioner level, and the programmatic factors that may influence success.

There is great diversity of programmes and approaches to sport and social cohesion, including measurement tools. While this is to be celebrated, it poses challenges in identifying standards, common features, and best practices. Further, evangelical notions of sport and top-down approaches remain common, resulting in a gap between theory, policy, and local practices.

Why is this important?

Grassroots practitioners voices are often marginalized and crucial factors such as the type of sport, duration of participation, frequency of participation and non-sporting activities are under-reported and analysed. This makes it difficult to identify factors which enable interventions to be effective.

This survey and mapping exercise is part of the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab, an Erasmus+ funded project. The project adopts a highly participatory Living Lab approach to tackle the gaps in knowledge and implementation.

This approach will directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that advance sport for social cohesion and develop relevant tools for the exploration, measurement and improvement of programmes and outcomes in highly diverse urban neighbourhoods.

How will the findings be used?

This survey will help us identify the assets, needs and challenges experienced by organisations in the use of sport for social cohesion. This will include shaping activities in the above-mentioned project. Findings will be shared publicly and used to inform policy and practice.

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