The need for promoting Physical Literacy (PL) in the public and across all ages is extremely important for holistic health and for encouraging healthy lifestyles for all, especially in an early stage of life, and through Physical Education (PE) courses at school. This need is imperative, in light of distressing results from the Special Eurobarometer 472 that demonstrates low levels of physical activity in young people.
At the same time, Physical Education (PE) as a school subject signifies a channel of provision for physical activity opportunities in all societies. The ones responsible for delivering those opportunities are none other than the PE teachers and primary school teachers. This responsibility brings challenges to (PE) teachers, who are often perceived as role models for students. Educating students about ways to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and taking responsibility for participating in Physical Activity (PA) is a great duty. The importance of PE is directly linked to global health concerns about the prevalence of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, and other major health risks related to a sedentary lifestyle and obesity.
Up-to-date, actions to promote knowledge and understanding of PL which create significant connections between university and school and between scholars and teachers are urgently required. The inclusion of innovative practices in the teaching approaches of primary, and secondary PE teachers, e.g., promoting the understanding of PL as a lifelong dimension when teaching PE is necessary.
In alignment with the above mentioned needs, UCLan Cyprus has successfully secured funding for the implementation of the Erasmus+ Sports project ‘Promoting Physical Literacy and healthy lifestyles through digital materials for university students (ePhyLi).
The ePhyLi project aims to promote awareness and activity in health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) environments and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. This will be achieved by (i) increasing the knowledge and understanding of the notion of Physical Literacy (PL) of university students, who study Physical Education (PE), Sport Pedagogies, Sport and Exercise Science, Primary school teaching, and related fields and intend to become PE teachers and/or generalists primary school teachers teaching PE, (ii) properly preparing them for further promoting Physical Literacy to their students, as part of their future teaching career.
A gamified digital learning approach will be endorsed towards the design and development of an e-book, a serious digital game (mobile app), and an e-platform with interactive learning material, that can be used by Higher Education Institutions (HEI) as part of future (PE) teachers’ preparation. The ePhyLi project will have a long-term impact on future (PE) teachers’ teaching and pedagogical practices and therefore the experience of children being taught in the future, with a subsequent impact on the currently sedentary population, as children will start to value and engage in physical activity more regularly. Also, the project will strengthen the competency profiles of the Higher Education Academic staff when it comes to educating their university students in the field of Physical Education, as well as when it comes to the use of digital tools in Physical Education related courses.
The ePhyLi partnership includes organizations from four EU countries (Cyprus, Italy, France, and Luxembourg), with expertise in Physical Literacy, Physical Education, Sport Pedagogy, Primary and Secondary Education, as well as Gamification, e-platforms design and development, and dissemination of project results. The partnership is comprised of the UCLan Cyprus (coordinator), the Libera Università di Bolzano (UNIBZ), the University of Luxembourg (uni.lu), GrantXpert Consulting (GX), Infinitivity Design Labs (IDL), and one Association the European Physical Education Association (EUPEA). The project is coordinated by Dr Efstathios Christodoulides (Course Leader in Sport and Exercise Sciences, International Physical Literacy Association Country Lead and UNESCO Co-Chair on Governance and Social Responsibility in Sport, UCLan Cyprus).