Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 52

Search results for: Djerdali Sofia

22 Some Codes for Variants in Graphs

Authors: Sofia Ait Bouazza

Abstract:

We consider the problem of finding a minimum identifying code in a graph. This problem was initially introduced in 1998 and has been since fundamentally connected to a wide range of applications (fault diagnosis, location detection …). Suppose we have a building into which we need to place fire alarms. Suppose each alarm is designed so that it can detect any fire that starts either in the room in which it is located or in any room that shares a doorway with the room. We want to detect any fire that may occur or use the alarms which are sounding to not only to not only detect any fire but be able to tell exactly where the fire is located in the building. For reasons of cost, we want to use as few alarms as necessary. The first problem involves finding a minimum domination set of a graph. If the alarms are three state alarms capable of distinguishing between a fire in the same room as the alarm and a fire in an adjacent room, we are trying to find a minimum locating domination set. If the alarms are two state alarms that can only sound if there is a fire somewhere nearby, we are looking for a differentiating domination set of a graph. These three areas are the subject of much active research; we primarily focus on the third problem. An identifying code of a graph G is a dominating set C such that every vertex x of G is distinguished from other vertices by the set of vertices in C that are at distance at most r≥1 from x. When only vertices out of the code are asked to be identified, we get the related concept of a locating dominating set. The problem of finding an identifying code (resp a locating dominating code) of minimum size is a NP-hard problem, even when the input graph belongs to a number of specific graph classes. Therefore, we study this problem in some restricted classes of undirected graphs like split graph, line graph and path in a directed graph. Then we present some results on the identifying code by giving an exact value of upper total locating domination and a total 2-identifying code in directed and undirected graph. Moreover we determine exact values of locating dominating code and edge identifying code of thin headless spider and locating dominating code of complete suns.

Keywords: split graphs, identiying codes, locating dominating set, thin headless spider

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21 Faceless Women: The Blurred Image of Women in Film on and Off-Screen

Authors: Ana Sofia Torres Pereira

Abstract:

Till this day, women have been underrepresented and stereotyped both in TV and Cinema Screens all around the World. While women have been gaining a different status and finding their own voice in the work place and in society, what we see on-screen is still something different, something gender biased, something that does not show the multifaceted identities a woman might have. But why is this so? Why are we stuck on this shallow vision of women on-screen? According to several cinema industry studies, most film screenwriters in Hollywood are men. Women actually represent a very low percentage of screenwriters. So why is this relevant? Could the underrepresentation of women screenwriters in Hollywood be affecting the way women are written, and as a result, are depicted in film? Films are about stories, about people, and if these stories are continuously told through a man’s gaze, is that helping in the creation of a gender imbalance towards women? On the other hand, one of the reasons given for the low percentage of women screenwriters is: women are said to be better at writing specific genres, like dramas and comedies, and not as good writing thrillers and action films, so, as women seem to be limited in the genres they can write, they are undervalued and underrepresented as screenwriters. It seems the gender bias and stereotype isn’t saved exclusively for women on-screen, but also off-screen and behind the screen. So film appears to be a men’s world, on and off-screen, and since men seem to write the majority of scripts, it might be no wonder that women have been written in a specific way and depicted in a specific way on-screen. Also, since films are a mass communication medium, maybe this over-sexualization and stereotyping on-screen is indoctrinating our society into believing this bias is alive and well, and thus targeting women off-screen as well (ergo, screenwriters). What about at the very begging of film? In the Silent Movies and Early Talkies era, women dominated the screenwriting industry. They wrote every genre, and the majority of scripts were written by women, not men. So what about then? How were women depicted in films then? Did women screenwriters, in an era that was still very harsh on women, use their stories and their power to break stereotypes and show women in a different light, or did they carry on with the stereotype, did they continue it and standardize it? This papers aims to understand how important it is to have more working women screenwriters in order to break stereotypes regarding the image of women on and off-screen. How much can a screenwriter (male or female) influence our gaze on women (on and off-screen)?

Keywords: cinema, stereotype, gender bias, women on-screen, women screenwriters

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20 Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Speech and Communication Skills of Children with Autism

Authors: Aristi Alopoudi, Sofia Beloka, Vassiliki Pliogou

Abstract:

Autism is a complex neuro-developmental disorder with a variety of difficulties in many aspects such as social interaction, communication skills and verbal communication (speech). The aim of this study was to examine the impact of therapeutic horseback riding in improving the verbal and communication skills of children diagnosed with autism during 16 sessions. The researcher examined whether the expression of speech, the use of vocabulary, semantics, pragmatics, echolalia and communication skills were influenced by the therapeutic horseback riding when we increase the frequency of the sessions. The researcher observed two subjects of primary-school aged, in a two case observation design, with autism during 16 therapeutic horseback riding sessions (one riding session per week). Compared to baseline, at the end of the 16th therapeutic session, therapeutic horseback riding increased both verbal skills such as vocabulary, semantics, pragmatics, formation of sentences and communication skills such as eye contact, greeting, participation in dialogue and spontaneous speech. It was noticeable that echolalia remained stable. Increased frequency of therapeutic horseback riding was beneficial for significant improvement in verbal and communication skills. More specifically, from the first to the last riding session there was a great increase of vocabulary, semantics, and formation of sentences. Pragmatics reached a lower level than semantics but the same as the right usage of the first person (for example, I make a hug) and echolalia used for that. A great increase of spontaneous speech was noticed. The eye contact was presented in a lower level, and there was a slow but important raise at the greeting as well as the participation in dialogue. Last but not least; this is a first study conducted in therapeutic horseback riding studying the verbal communication and communication skills in autistic children. According to the references, therapeutic horseback riding is a therapy with a variety of benefits, thus; this research made clear that in the benefits of this therapy there should be included the improvement of verbal speech and communication.

Keywords: Speech, autism, Communication Skills, therapeutic horseback riding

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19 The Construction of Women’s Leadership in the Swedish Armed Forces in the Context of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Authors: Sofia Sutera

Abstract:

Despite the introduction of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda in 2000, thanks to the UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions, and the clear stance of the UN towards the support of increased participation of women in peace and security processes, women’s leadership in this context remains very low. Considering specifically the framework of peacekeeping operations, the aim of this paper is to analyze the way women’s leadership is constructed in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). In the context of the WPS Agenda, Sweden has been chosen as a case study because of the relevance of its singular feminist policies (the statement in 2014 from Wallström, previous and current Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, that Sweden is pursuing a feminist foreign policy is a clear example). Moreover, the SAF adopted in 2016 the Handbok Gender. This policy addresses explicitly the gender perspective embraced by the Swedish military institution, a sui-generis organization even in the Scandinavian reality. Indeed, the SAF has assumed a clear commitment to represent its institution as gender aware and gender equal. The theoretical perspective utilized in this research, which focuses specifically on women, is feminism and particularly a feminist constructivist approach, with an institutional focus on the military institution, has been chosen. Taking into account the specificity of the feminist research, the above-mentioned gender policy has been examined by means of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) whose main aim is to investigate the social structures of discourse and the power relationships inherent to it. Thus, CDA appears to be quite relevant in order to understand the construction of women’s leadership in the Handbok Gender. Nevertheless, even in a country which officially identifies as feminist and which is characterized by a peculiar military institution, the conclusions of this analysis revealed that women’s leadership in peacekeeping operations remains very low.

Keywords: Feminism, Women's Leadership, peacekeeping operations, swedish armed forces, UNSCR 1325, WPS agenda

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18 Ports and Airports: Gateways to Vector-Borne Diseases in Portugal Mainland

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Maria T. Rebelo, Maria J. Alves, Sofia Cunha

Abstract:

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans by mosquitos, sandflies, bugs, ticks, and other vectors. Some are re-transmitted between vectors, if the infected human has a new contact when his levels of infection are high. The vector is infected for lifetime and can transmit infectious diseases not only between humans but also from animals to humans. Some vector borne diseases are very disabling and globally account for more than one million deaths worldwide. The mosquitoes from the complex Culex pipiens sl. are the most abundant in Portugal, and we dispose in this moment of a data set from the surveillance program that has been carried on since 2006 across the country. All mosquitos’ species are included, but the large coverage of Culex pipiens sl. and its importance for public health make this vector an interesting candidate to assess risk of disease amplification. This work focus on ports and airports identified as key areas of high density of vectors. Mosquitoes being ectothermic organisms, the main factor for vector survival and pathogen development is temperature. Minima and maxima local air temperatures for each area of interest are averaged by month from data gathered on a daily basis at the national network of meteorological stations, and interpolated in a geographic information system (GIS). The range of temperatures ideal for several pathogens are known and this work shows how to use it with the meteorological data in each port and airport facility, to focus an efficient implementation of countermeasures and reduce simultaneously risk transmission and mitigation costs. The results show an increased alert with decreasing latitude, which corresponds to higher minimum and maximum temperatures and a lower amplitude range of the daily temperature.

Keywords: Risk management, Vector-borne diseases, Human Health, Risk Assessment

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17 D-Wave Quantum Computing Ising Model: A Case Study for Forecasting of Heat Waves

Authors: Dmytro Zubov, Francesco Volponi

Abstract:

In this paper, D-Wave quantum computing Ising model is used for the forecasting of positive extremes of daily mean air temperature. Forecast models are designed with two to five qubits, which represent 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-day historical data respectively. Ising model’s real-valued weights and dimensionless coefficients are calculated using daily mean air temperatures from 119 places around the world, as well as sea level (Aburatsu, Japan). In comparison with current methods, this approach is better suited to predict heat wave values because it does not require the estimation of a probability distribution from scarce observations. Proposed forecast quantum computing algorithm is simulated based on traditional computer architecture and combinatorial optimization of Ising model parameters for the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport dataset with 1-day lead-time on learning sample (1975-2010 yr). Analysis of the forecast accuracy (ratio of successful predictions to total number of predictions) on the validation sample (2011-2014 yr) shows that Ising model with three qubits has 100 % accuracy, which is quite significant as compared to other methods. However, number of identified heat waves is small (only one out of nineteen in this case). Other models with 2, 4, and 5 qubits have 20 %, 3.8 %, and 3.8 % accuracy respectively. Presented three-qubit forecast model is applied for prediction of heat waves at other five locations: Aurel Vlaicu, Romania – accuracy is 28.6 %; Bratislava, Slovakia – accuracy is 21.7 %; Brussels, Belgium – accuracy is 33.3 %; Sofia, Bulgaria – accuracy is 50 %; Akhisar, Turkey – accuracy is 21.4 %. These predictions are not ideal, but not zeros. They can be used independently or together with other predictions generated by different method(s). The loss of human life, as well as environmental, economic, and material damage, from extreme air temperatures could be reduced if some of heat waves are predicted. Even a small success rate implies a large socio-economic benefit.

Keywords: Quantum Computing, forecast, Heat Wave, D-wave, Ising model

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16 Influence of Instrumental Playing on Attachment Type of Musicians and Music Students Using Adult Attachment Scale-R

Authors: Sofia Serra-Dawa

Abstract:

Adult relationships accrue on a variety of past social experiences, intentions, and emotions that might predispose and influence the approach to and construction of subsequent relationships. The Adult Attachment Theory (AAT) proposes four types of adult attachment, where attachment is built over two dimensions of anxiety and avoidance: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. The AAT has been studied in multiple settings such as personal and therapeutic relationships, educational settings, sexual orientation, health, and religion. In music scholarship, the AAT has been used to frame class learning of student singers and study the relational behavior between voice teachers and students. Building on this study, the present inquiry studies how attachment types might characterize learning relationships of music students (in the Western Conservatory tradition), and whether particular instrumental experiences might correlate to given attachment styles. Given certain behavioral cohesive features of established traditions of instrumental playing and performance modes, it is hypothesized that student musicians will display specific characteristics correlated to instrumental traditions, demonstrating clear tendency of attachment style, which in turn has implications on subsequent professional interactions. This study is informed by the methodological framework of Adult Attachment Scale-R (Collins and Read, 1990), which was particularly chosen given its non-invasive questions and classificatory validation. It is further hypothesized that the analytical comparison of musicians’ profiles has the potential to serve as the baseline for other comparative behavioral observation studies [this component is expected to be verified and completed well before the conference meeting]. This research may have implications for practitioners concerned with matching and improving musical teaching and learning relationships and in (professional and amateur) long-term musical settings.

Keywords: Music Education, adult attachment, musicians attachment profile, musicians relationships

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15 Military Leadership: Emotion Culture and Emotion Coping in Morally Stressful Situations

Authors: Sofia Nilsson, Alicia Ohlsson, Linda-Marie Lundqvist, Aida Alvinius, Peder Hyllengren, Gerry Larsson

Abstract:

In irregular warfare contexts, military personnel are often presented with morally ambiguous situations where they are aware of the morally correct choice but may feel prevented to follow through with it due to organizational demands. Moral stress and/or injury can be the outcome of the individual’s experienced dissonance. These types of challenges put a large demand on the individual to manage their own emotions and the emotions of others, particularly in the case of a leader. Both the ability and inability for emotional regulation can result in different combinations of short and long term reactions after morally stressful events, which can be either positive or negative. Our study analyzed the combination of these reactions based upon the types of morally challenging events that were described by the subjects. 1)What institutionalized norms concerning emotion regulation are favorable in short-and long-term perspectives after a morally stressful event? 2)What individual emotion-focused coping strategies are favorable in short-and long-perspectives after a morally stressful? To address these questions, we conducted a quantitative study in military contexts in Sweden and Norway on upcoming or current military officers (n=331). We tested a theoretical model built upon a recently developed qualitative study. The data was analyzed using factor analysis, multiple regression analysis and subgroup analyses. The results indicated that an individual’s restriction of emotion in order to achieve an organizational goal, which results in emotional dissonance, can be an effective short term strategy for both the individual and the organization; however, it appears to be unfavorable in a long-term perspective which can result in negative reactions. Our results are intriguing because they showed an increased percentage of reported negative long term reactions (13%), which indicated PTSD-related symptoms in comparison to previous Swedish studies which indicated lower PTSD symptomology.

Keywords: Military, Emotion Management, emotion culture, emotion coping

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14 Examining the Effects of Increasing Lexical Retrieval Attempts in Tablet-Based Naming Therapy for Aphasia

Authors: Jeanne Gallee, Sofia Vallila-Rohter

Abstract:

Technology-based applications are increasingly being utilized in aphasia rehabilitation as a means of increasing intensity of treatment and improving accessibility to treatment. These interactive therapies, often available on tablets, lead individuals to complete language and cognitive rehabilitation tasks that draw upon skills such as the ability to name items, recognize semantic features, count syllables, rhyme, and categorize objects. Tasks involve visual and auditory stimulus cues and provide feedback about the accuracy of a person’s response. Research has begun to examine the efficacy of tablet-based therapies for aphasia, yet much remains unknown about how individuals interact with these therapy applications. Thus, the current study aims to examine the efficacy of a tablet-based therapy program for anomia, further examining how strategy training might influence the way that individuals with aphasia engage with and benefit from therapy. Individuals with aphasia are enrolled in one of two treatment paradigms: traditional therapy or strategy therapy. For ten weeks, all participants receive 2 hours of weekly in-house therapy using Constant Therapy, a tablet-based therapy application. Participants are provided with iPads and are additionally encouraged to work on therapy tasks for one hour a day at home (home logins). For those enrolled in traditional therapy, in-house sessions involve completing therapy tasks while a clinician researcher is present. For those enrolled in the strategy training group, in-house sessions focus on limiting cue use in order to maximize lexical retrieval attempts and naming opportunities. The strategy paradigm is based on the principle that retrieval attempts may foster long-term naming gains. Data have been collected from 7 participants with aphasia (3 in the traditional therapy group, 4 in the strategy training group). We examine cue use, latency of responses and accuracy through the course of therapy, comparing results across group and setting (in-house sessions vs. home logins).

Keywords: Language, traumatic brain injury, Speech-Language Pathology, Aphasia

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13 Identification and Classification of Fiber-Fortified Semolina by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR)

Authors: Amanda T. Badaró, Douglas F. Barbin, Sofia T. Garcia, Maria Teresa P. S. Clerici, Amanda R. Ferreira

Abstract:

Food fortification is the intentional addition of a nutrient in a food matrix and has been widely used to overcome the lack of nutrients in the diet or increasing the nutritional value of food. Fortified food must meet the demand of the population, taking into account their habits and risks that these foods may cause. Wheat and its by-products, such as semolina, has been strongly indicated to be used as a food vehicle since it is widely consumed and used in the production of other foods. These products have been strategically used to add some nutrients, such as fibers. Methods of analysis and quantification of these kinds of components are destructive and require lengthy sample preparation and analysis. Therefore, the industry has searched for faster and less invasive methods, such as Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR). NIR is a rapid and cost-effective method, however, it is based on indirect measurements, yielding high amount of data. Therefore, NIR spectroscopy requires calibration with mathematical and statistical tools (Chemometrics) to extract analytical information from the corresponding spectra, as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA). PCA is well suited for NIR, once it can handle many spectra at a time and be used for non-supervised classification. Advantages of the PCA, which is also a data reduction technique, is that it reduces the data spectra to a smaller number of latent variables for further interpretation. On the other hand, LDA is a supervised method that searches the Canonical Variables (CV) with the maximum separation among different categories. In LDA, the first CV is the direction of maximum ratio between inter and intra-class variances. The present work used a portable infrared spectrometer (NIR) for identification and classification of pure and fiber-fortified semolina samples. The fiber was added to semolina in two different concentrations, and after the spectra acquisition, the data was used for PCA and LDA to identify and discriminate the samples. The results showed that NIR spectroscopy associate to PCA was very effective in identifying pure and fiber-fortified semolina. Additionally, the classification range of the samples using LDA was between 78.3% and 95% for calibration and 75% and 95% for cross-validation. Thus, after the multivariate analysis such as PCA and LDA, it was possible to verify that NIR associated to chemometric methods is able to identify and classify the different samples in a fast and non-destructive way.

Keywords: Chemometrics, Principal Component Analysis, Fiber, linear discriminant analysis, near-infrared spectroscopy, semolina

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12 In Silico Analysis of Deleterious nsSNPs (Missense) of Dihydrolipoamide Branched-Chain Transacylase E2 Gene Associated with Maple Syrup Urine Disease Type II

Authors: Zainab S. Ahmed, Mohammed S. Ali, Nadia A. Elshiekh, Sami Adam Ibrahim, Ghada M. El-Tayeb, Ahmed H. Elsadig, Rihab A. Omer, Sofia B. Mohamed

Abstract:

Maple syrup urine (MSUD) is an autosomal recessive disease that causes a deficiency in the enzyme branched-chain alpha-keto acid (BCKA) dehydrogenase. The development of disease has been associated with SNPs in the DBT gene. Despite that, the computational analysis of SNPs in coding and noncoding and their functional impacts on protein level still remains unknown. Hence, in this study, we carried out a comprehensive in silico analysis of missense that was predicted to have a harmful influence on DBT structure and function. In this study, eight different in silico prediction algorithms; SIFT, PROVEAN, MutPred, SNP&GO, PhD-SNP, PANTHER, I-Mutant 2.0 and MUpo were used for screening nsSNPs in DBT including. Additionally, to understand the effect of mutations in the strength of the interactions that bind protein together the ELASPIC servers were used. Finally, the 3D structure of DBT was formed using Mutation3D and Chimera servers respectively. Our result showed that a total of 15 nsSNPs confirmed by 4 software (R301C, R376H, W84R, S268F, W84C, F276C, H452R, R178H, I355T, V191G, M444T, T174A, I200T, R113H, and R178C) were found damaging and can lead to a shift in DBT gene structure. Moreover, we found 7 nsSNPs located on the 2-oxoacid_dh catalytic domain, 5 nsSNPs on the E_3 binding domain and 3 nsSNPs on the Biotin Domain. So these nsSNPs may alter the putative structure of DBT’s domain. Furthermore, we detected all these nsSNPs are on the core residues of the protein and have the ability to change the stability of the protein. Additionally, we found W84R, S268F, and M444T have high significance, and they affected Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, which reduces or disrupt the function of BCKD complex, E2-subunit which the DBT gene encodes. In conclusion, based on our extensive in-silico analysis, we report 15 nsSNPs that have possible association with protein deteriorating and disease-causing abilities. These candidate SNPs can aid in future studies on Maple Syrup Urine Disease type II base in the genetic level.

Keywords: in silico analysis, DBT gene, ELASPIC, UCSF chimer

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11 Status Quo Bias: A Paradigm Shift in Policy Making

Authors: Divyansh Goel, Varun Jain

Abstract:

Classical economics works on the principle that people are rational and analytical in their decision making and their choices fall in line with the most suitable option according to the dominant strategy in a standard game theory model. This model has failed at many occasions in estimating the behavior and dealings of rational people, giving proof of some other underlying heuristics and cognitive biases at work. This paper probes into the study of these factors, which fall under the umbrella of behavioral economics and through their medium explore the solution to a problem which a lot of nations presently face. There has long been a wide disparity in the number of people holding favorable views on organ donation and the actual number of people signing up for the same. This paper, in its entirety, is an attempt to shape the public policy which leads to an increase the number of organ donations that take place and close the gap in the statistics of the people who believe in signing up for organ donation and the ones who actually do. The key assumption here is that in cases of cognitive dissonance, where people have an inconsistency due to conflicting views, people have a tendency to go with the default choice. This tendency is a well-documented cognitive bias known as the status quo bias. The research in this project involves an assay of mandated choice models of organ donation with two case studies. The first of an opt-in system of Germany (where people have to explicitly sign up for organ donation) and the second of an opt-out system of Austria (every citizen at the time of their birth is an organ donor and has to explicitly sign up for refusal). Additionally, there has also been presented a detailed analysis of the experiment performed by Eric J. Johnson and Daniel G. Goldstein. Their research as well as many other independent experiments such as that by Tsvetelina Yordanova of the University of Sofia, both of which yield similar results. The conclusion being that the general population has by and large no rigid stand on organ donation and are gullible to status quo bias, which in turn can determine whether a large majority of people will consent to organ donation or not. Thus, in our paper, we throw light on how governments can use status quo bias to drive positive social change by making policies in which everyone by default is marked an organ donor, which will, in turn, save the lives of people who succumb on organ transplantation waitlists and save the economy countless hours of economic productivity.

Keywords: Game theory, Behavioral Economics, Organ Donation, status quo bias

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10 Study of the Hydrodynamic of Electrochemical Ion Pumping for Lithium Recovery

Authors: Maria Sofia Palagonia, Doriano Brogioli, Fabio La Mantia

Abstract:

In the last decade, lithium has become an important raw material in various sectors, in particular for rechargeable batteries. Its production is expected to grow more and more in the future, especially for mobile energy storage and electromobility. Until now it is mostly produced by the evaporation of water from salt lakes, which led to a huge water consumption, a large amount of waste produced and a strong environmental impact. A new, clean and faster electrochemical technique to recover lithium has been recently proposed: electrochemical ion pumping. It consists in capturing lithium ions from a feed solution by intercalation in a lithium-selective material, followed by releasing them into a recovery solution; both steps are driven by the passage of a current. In this work, a new configuration of the electrochemical cell is presented, used to study and optimize the process of the intercalation of lithium ions through the hydrodynamic condition. Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn₂O₄) was used as a cathode to intercalate lithium ions selectively during the reduction, while Nickel Hexacyano Ferrate (NiHCF), used as an anode, releases positive ion. The effect of hydrodynamics on the process has been studied by conducting the experiments at various fluxes of the electrolyte through the electrodes, in terms of charge circulated through the cell, captured lithium per unit mass of material and overvoltage. The result shows that flowing the electrolyte inside the cell improves the lithium capture, in particular at low lithium concentration. Indeed, in Atacama feed solution, at 40 mM of lithium, the amount of lithium captured does not increase considerably with the flux of the electrolyte. Instead, when the concentration of the lithium ions is 5 mM, the amount of captured lithium in a single capture cycle increases by increasing the flux, thus leading to the conclusion that the slowest step in the process is the transport of the lithium ion in the liquid phase. Furthermore, an influence of the concentration of other cations in solution on the process performance was observed. In particular, the capturing of the lithium using a different concentration of NaCl together with 5 mM of LiCl was performed, and the results show that the presence of NaCl limits the amount of the captured lithium. Further studies can be performed in order to understand why the full capacity of the material is not reached at the highest flow rate. This is probably due to the porous structure of the material since the liquid phase is likely not affected by the convection flow inside the pores. This work proves that electrochemical ion pumping, with a suitable hydrodynamic design, enables the recovery of lithium from feed solutions at the lower concentration than the sources that are currently exploited, down to 1 mM.

Keywords: Lithium, hydrodynamic, desalination battery, electrochemical ion pumping

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9 Conservation Agriculture under Mediterranean Climate: Effects on below and Above-Ground Processes during Wheat Cultivation

Authors: Vasiliki Kolake, Christos Kavalaris, Sofia Megoudi, Maria Maxouri, Panagiotis A. Karas, Aris Kyparissis, Efi Levizou

Abstract:

Conservation agriculture (CA), is a production system approach that can tackle the challenges of climate change mainly through facilitating carbon storage into the soil and increasing crop resilience. This is extremely important for the vulnerable Mediterranean agroecosystems, which already face adverse environmental conditions. The agronomic practices used in CA, i.e. permanent soil cover and no-tillage, result in reduced soil erosion and increased soil organic matter, preservation of water and improvement of quality and fertility of the soil in the long-term. Thus the functional characteristics and processes of the soil are considerably affected by the implementation of CA. The aim of the present work was to assess the effects of CA on soil nitrification potential and mycorrhizal colonization about the above-ground production in a wheat field. Two adjacent but independent field sites of 1.5ha each were used (Thessaly plain, Central Greece), comprising the no-till and conventional tillage treatments. The no-tillage site was covered by residues of the previous crop (cotton). Potential nitrification and the nitrate and ammonium content of the soil were measured at two different soil depths (3 and 15cm) at 20-days intervals throughout the growth period. Additionally, the leaf area index (LAI) was monitored at the same time-course. The mycorrhizal colonization was measured at the commencement and end of the experiment. At the final harvest, total yield and plant biomass were also recorded. The results indicate that wheat yield was considerably favored by CA practices, exhibiting a 42% increase compared to the conventional tillage treatment. The superior performance of the CA crop was also depicted in the above-ground plant biomass, where a 26% increase was recorded. LAI, which is considered a reliable growth index, did not show statistically significant differences between treatments throughout the growth period. On the contrary, significant differences were recorded in endomycorrhizal colonization one day before the final harvest, with CA plants exhibiting 20% colonization, while the conventional tillage plants hardly reached 1%. The on-going analyses of potential nitrification measurements, as well as nitrate and ammonium determination, will shed light on the effects of CA on key processes in the soil. These results will integrate the assessment of CA impact on certain below and above-ground processes during wheat cultivation under the Mediterranean climate.

Keywords: Wheat, Conservation agriculture, Yield, LAI, mycorrhizal colonization, potential nitrification

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8 Analyzing the Impact of Bariatric Surgery in Obesity Associated Chronic Kidney Disease: A 2-Year Observational Study

Authors: Daniela Magalhaes, Jorge Pedro, Pedro Souteiro, Joao S. Neves, Sofia Castro-Oliveira, Vanessa Guerreiro, Rita Bettencourt- Silva, Maria M. Costa, Ana Varela, Joana Queiros, Paula Freitas, Davide Carvalho

Abstract:

Introduction: Obesity is an independent risk factor for renal dysfunction. Our aims were: (1) evaluate the impact of bariatric surgery (BS) on renal function; (2) clarify the factors determining the postoperative evolution of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR); (3) access the occurrence of oxalate-mediated renal complications. Methods: We investigated a cohort of 1448 obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery. Those with basal GFR (GFR0) < 30mL/min or without information about the GFR 2-year post-surgery (GFR2) were excluded. Results: We included 725 patients, of whom 647 (89.2%) women, with 41 (IQR 34-51) years, a median weight of 112.4 (IQR 103.0-125.0) kg and a median BMI of 43.4 (IQR 40.6-46.9) kg/m2. Of these, 459 (63.3%) performed gastric bypass (RYGB), 144 (19.9%) placed an adjustable gastric band (AGB) and 122 (16.8%) underwent vertical gastrectomy (VG). At 2-year post-surgery, excess weight loss (EWL) was 60.1 (IQR 43.7-72.4) %. There was a significant improve of metabolic and inflammatory status, as well as a significant decrease in the proportion of patients with diabetes, arterial hypertension and dyslipidemia (p < 0.0001). At baseline, 38 (5.2%) of subjects had hyperfiltration with a GFR0 ≥ 125mL/min/1.73m2, 492 (67.9%) had a GFR0 90-124 mL/min/1.73m2, 178 (24.6%) had a GFR0 60-89 mL/min/1.73m2, and 17 (2.3%) had a GFR0 < 60 mL/min/1.73m2. GFR decreased in 63.2% of patients with hyperfiltration (ΔGFR=-2.5±7.6), and increased in 96.6% (ΔGFR=22.2±12.0) and 82.4% (ΔGFR=24.3±30.0) of the subjects with GFR0 60-89 and < 60 mL/min/1.73m2, respectively ( p < 0.0001). This trend was maintained when adjustment was made for the type of surgery performed. Of 321 patients, 10 (3.3%) had a urinary albumin excretion (UAE) > 300 mg/dL (A3), 44 (14.6%) had a UAE 30-300 mg/dL (A2) and 247 (82.1%) has a UAE < 30 mg/dL (A1). Albuminuria decreased after surgery and at 2-year follow-up only 1 (0.3%) patient had A3, 17 (5.6%) had A2 and 283 (94%) had A1 (p < 0,0001). In multivariate analysis, the variables independently associated with ΔGFR were BMI (positively) and fasting plasma glucose (negatively). During the 2-year follow-up, only 57 of the 725 patients had transient urinary excretion of calcium oxalate crystals. None has records of oxalate-mediated renal complications at our center. Conclusions: The evolution of GFR after BS seems to depend on the initial renal function, as it decreases in subjects with hyperfiltration, but tends to increase in those with renal dysfunction. Our results suggest that BS is associated with improvement of renal outcomes, without significant increase of renal complications. So, apart the clear benefits in metabolic and inflammatory status, maybe obese adults with nondialysis-dependent CKD should be referred for bariatric surgery evaluation.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery, albuminuria, glomerular filtration rate, renal function

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7 Biodegradation Ability of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs) Degrading Bacillus cereus Strain JMG-01 Isolated from PAHs Contaminated Soil

Authors: Sofia Banu, Jibon Kotoky, Momita Das

Abstract:

Environmental contamination of natural resources with persistent organic pollutants is of great world-wide apprehension. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are among the organic pollutants, released due to various anthropogenic activities. Due to their toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic properties, PAHs are of environmental and human concern. Presently, bioremediation has evolved as the most promising biotechnology for cleanup of such contaminants because of its economical and less cost effectiveness. In the present study, distribution of 16 USEPA priority PAHs was determined in the soil samples collected from fifteen different sites of Guwahati City, the Gateway of the North East Region of India. The total concentrations of 16 PAHs (Σ16 PAHs) ranged from 42.7-742.3 µg/g. Higher concentration of total PAHs was found more in the Industrial areas compared to all the sites (742.3 µg/g and 628 µg/g). It is noted that among all the PAHs, Naphthalene, Acenaphthylene, Anthracene, Fluoranthene, Chrysene and Benzo(a)Pyrene were the most available and contain the higher concentration of all the PAHs. Since microbial activity has been deemed the most influential and significant cause of PAH removal; further, twenty-three bacteria were isolated from the most contaminated sites using the enrichment process. These strains were acclimatized to utilize naphthalene and anthracene, each at 100 µg/g concentration as sole carbon source. Among them, one Gram-positive strain (JMG-01) was selected, and biodegradation ability and initial catabolic genes of PAHs degradation were investigated. Based on 16S rDNA analysis, the isolate was identified as Bacillus cereus strain JMG-01. Topographic images obtained using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) at scheduled time intervals of 7, 14 and 21 days, determined the variation in cell morphology during the period of degradation. AFM and SEM micrograph of biomass showed high filamentous growth leading to aggregation of cells in the form of biofilm with reference to the incubation period. The percentage degradation analysis using gas chromatography and mass analyses (GC-MS) suggested that more than 95% of the PAHs degraded when the concentration was at 500 µg/g. Naphthalene, naphthalene-2-methy, benzaldehyde-4-propyl, 1, 2, benzene di-carboxylic acid and benzene acetic acid were the major metabolites produced after degradation. Moreover, PCR experiments with specific primers for catabolic genes, ndo B and Cat A suggested that JMG-01 possess genes for PAHs degradation. Thus, the study concludes that Bacillus cereus strain JMG-01 has efficient biodegrading ability and can trigger the clean-up of PAHs contaminated soil.

Keywords: SEM, degradation, AFM, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Bacillus cereus strain JMG-01

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6 Photoswitchable and Polar-Dependent Fluorescence of Diarylethenes

Authors: Sofia Lazareva, Artem Smolentsev

Abstract:

Fluorescent photochromic materials collect strong interest due to their possible application in organic photonics such as optical logic systems, optical memory, visualizing sensors, as well as characterization of polymers and biological systems. In photochromic fluorescence switching systems the emission of fluorophore is modulated between ‘on’ and ‘off’ via the photoisomerization of photochromic moieties resulting in effective resonance energy transfer (FRET). In current work, we have studied both photochromic and fluorescent properties of several diarylethenes. It was found that coloured forms of these compounds are not fluorescent because of the efficient intramolecular energy transfer. Spectral and photochromic parameters of investigated substances have been measured in five solvents having different polarity. Quantum yields of photochromic transformation A↔B ΦA→B and ΦB→A as well as B isomer extinction coefficients were determined by kinetic method. It was found that the photocyclization reaction quantum yield of all compounds decreases with the increase of solvent polarity. In addition, the solvent polarity is revealed to affect fluorescence significantly. Increasing of the solvent dielectric constant was found to result in a strong shift of emission band position from 450 nm (nhexane) to 550 nm (DMSO and ethanol) for all three compounds. Moreover, the emission intensive in polar solvents becomes weak and hardly detectable in n-hexane. The only one exception in the described dependence is abnormally low fluorescence quantum yield in ethanol presumably caused by the loss of electron-donating properties of nitrogen atom due to the protonation. An effect of the protonation was also confirmed by the addition of concentrated HCl in solution resulting in a complete disappearance of the fluorescent band. Excited state dynamics were investigated by ultrafast optical spectroscopy methods. Kinetic curves of excited states absorption and fluorescence decays were measured. Lifetimes of transient states were calculated from the data measured. The mechanism of ring opening reaction was found to be polarity dependent. Comparative analysis of kinetics measured in acetonitrile and hexane reveals differences in relaxation dynamics after the laser pulse. The most important fact is the presence of two decay processes in acetonitrile, whereas only one is present in hexane. This fact supports an assumption made on the basis of steady-state preliminary experiments that in polar solvents occur stabilization of TICT state. Thus, results achieved prove the hypothesis of two channel mechanism of energy relaxation of compounds studied.

Keywords: FRET, diarylethenes, fluorescence switching, photochromism, TICT state

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5 Whistleblowing a Contemporary Topic Concerning Businesses

Authors: Maria Krambia-Kapardis, Andreas Kapardis, Sofia Michaelides-Mateou

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Corruption and economic crime is a serious problem affecting the sustainability of businesses in the 21st century. Nowadays, many corruption or fraud cases come to light thanks to whistleblowers. This article will first discuss the concept of whistleblowing as well as some relevant legislation enacted around the world. Secondly, it will discuss the findings of a survey of whistleblowers or could-have-been whistleblowers. Finally, suggestions for the development of a comprehensive whistleblowing framework will be considered. Whistleblowing can be described as expressing a concern about a wrongdoing within an organization, such as a corporation, an association, an institution or a union. Such concern must be in the public interest and in good faith and should relate to the cover up of matters that could potentially result in a miscarriage of justice, a crime, criminal offence and threats to health and safety. Whistleblowing has proven to be an effective anti-corruption mechanism and a powerful tool that helps deterring fraud, violations, and malpractices within organizations, corporations and the public sector. Research in the field of whistleblowing has concentrated on the reasons for whistleblowing and financial bounties; the effectiveness of whistleblowing; whistleblowing being a prosocial behavior with a psychological perspective and consequences; as a tool in protecting shareholders, saving lives and billions of dollars of public funds. Whilst, no other study of whistleblowing has been carried out on whistleblowers or intended whistleblowers. The study reported in the current paper analyses the findings of 74 whistleblowers or intended whistleblowers, the reasons behind their decision to blow the whistle, or not to proceed to blow the whistle and any regrets they may have had. In addition a profile of a whistleblower is developed concerning their age, gender, marital and family status and position in an organization. Lessons learned from the intended whistleblowers and in response to the questions if they would be willing to blow the whistle again show that enacting legislation to protect the whistleblower is not enough. Similarly, rewarding the whistleblower does not appear to provide the whistleblower with an incentive since the majority noted that “work ethics is more important than financial rewards”. We recommend the development of a comprehensive and holistic framework for the protection of the whistleblower and to ensure that remedial actions are immediately taken once a whistleblower comes forward. The suggested framework comprises (a) hard legislation in ensuring the whistleblowers follow certain principles when blowing the whistle and, in return, are protected for a period of 5 years from being fired, dismissed, bullied, harassed; (b) soft legislation in establishing an agency to firstly ensure psychological and legal advice is provided to the whistleblowers and secondly any required remedial action is immediately taken to avert the undesirable events reported by a whistleblower from occurring and, finally; (c) mechanisms to ensure the coordination of actions taken.

Keywords: Business, Business Ethics, Legislation, whistleblowing

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4 Index of Suitability for Culex pipiens sl. Mosquitoes in Portugal Mainland

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Maria T. Rebelo, Maria J. Alves, Marília Antunes, Hugo Osório, Sofia Cunha and REVIVE team

Abstract:

The environment of the mosquitoes complex Culex pipiens sl. in Portugal mainland is evaluated based in its abundance, using a data set georeferenced, collected during seven years (2006-2012) from May to October. The suitability of the different regions can be delineated using the relative abundance areas; the suitablility index is directly proportional to disease transmission risk and allows focusing mitigation measures in order to avoid outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. The interest in the Culex pipiens complex is justified by its medical importance: the females bite all warm-blooded vertebrates and are involved in the circulation of several arbovirus of concern to human health, like West Nile virus, iridoviruses, rheoviruses and parvoviruses. The abundance of Culex pipiens mosquitoes were documented systematically all over the territory by the local health services, in a long duration program running since 2006. The environmental factors used to characterize the vector habitat are land use/land cover, distance to cartographed water bodies, altitude and latitude. Focus will be on the mosquito females, which gonotrophic cycle mate-bloodmeal-oviposition is responsible for the virus transmission; its abundance is the key for the planning of non-aggressive prophylactic countermeasures that may eradicate the transmission risk and simultaneously avoid chemical ambient degradation. Meteorological parameters such as: air relative humidity, air temperature (minima, maxima and mean daily temperatures) and daily total rainfall were gathered from the weather stations network for the same dates and crossed with the standardized females’ abundance in a geographic information system (GIS). Mean capture and percentage of above average captures related to each variable are used as criteria to compute a threshold for each meteorological parameter; the difference of the mean capture above/below the threshold was statistically assessed. The meteorological parameters measured at the net of weather stations all over the country are averaged by month and interpolated to produce raster maps that can be segmented according to the meaningful thresholds for each parameter. The intersection of the maps of all the parameters obtained for each month show the evolution of the suitable meteorological conditions through the mosquito season, considered as May to October, although the first and last month are less relevant. In parallel, mean and above average captures were related to the physiographic parameters – the land use/land cover classes most relevant in each month, the altitudes preferred and the most frequent distance to water bodies, a factor closely related with the mosquito biology. The maps produced with these results were crossed with the meteorological maps previously segmented, in order to get an index of suitability for the complex Culex pipiens evaluated all over the country, and its evolution from the beginning to the end of the mosquitoes season.

Keywords: Culex pipiens, suitability index, habitat evolution, GIS model

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3 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Safety Assessment of Food Additives: Data and Methodology Used for the Assessment of Dietary Exposure for Different European Countries and Population Groups

Authors: Petra Gergelova, Sofia Ioannidou, Davide Arcella, Alexandra Tard, Polly E. Boon, Oliver Lindtner, Christina Tlustos, Jean-Charles Leblanc

Abstract:

Objectives: To assess chronic dietary exposure to food additives in different European countries and population groups. Method and Design: The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) estimates chronic dietary exposure to food additives with the purpose of re-evaluating food additives that were previously authorized in Europe. For this, EFSA uses concentration values (usage and/or analytical occurrence data) reported through regular public calls for data by food industry and European countries. These are combined, at individual level, with national food consumption data from the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database including data from 33 dietary surveys from 19 European countries and considering six different population groups (infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly). EFSA ANS Panel estimates dietary exposure for each individual in the EFSA Comprehensive Database by combining the occurrence levels per food group with their corresponding consumption amount per kg body weight. An individual average exposure per day is calculated, resulting in distributions of individual exposures per survey and population group. Based on these distributions, the average and 95th percentile of exposure is calculated per survey and per population group. Dietary exposure is assessed based on two different sets of data: (a) Maximum permitted levels (MPLs) of use set down in the EU legislation (defined as regulatory maximum level exposure assessment scenario) and (b) usage levels and/or analytical occurrence data (defined as refined exposure assessment scenario). The refined exposure assessment scenario is sub-divided into the brand-loyal consumer scenario and the non-brand-loyal consumer scenario. For the brand-loyal consumer scenario, the consumer is considered to be exposed on long-term basis to the highest reported usage/analytical level for one food group, and at the mean level for the remaining food groups. For the non-brand-loyal consumer scenario, the consumer is considered to be exposed on long-term basis to the mean reported usage/analytical level for all food groups. An additional exposure from sources other than direct addition of food additives (i.e. natural presence, contaminants, and carriers of food additives) is also estimated, as appropriate. Results: Since 2014, this methodology has been applied in about 30 food additive exposure assessments conducted as part of scientific opinions of the EFSA ANS Panel. For example, under the non-brand-loyal scenario, the highest 95th percentile of exposure to α-tocopherol (E 307) and ammonium phosphatides (E 442) was estimated in toddlers up to 5.9 and 8.7 mg/kg body weight/day, respectively. The same estimates under the brand-loyal scenario in toddlers resulted in exposures of 8.1 and 20.7 mg/kg body weight/day, respectively. For the regulatory maximum level exposure assessment scenario, the highest 95th percentile of exposure to α-tocopherol (E 307) and ammonium phosphatides (E 442) was estimated in toddlers up to 11.9 and 30.3 mg/kg body weight/day, respectively. Conclusions: Detailed and up-to-date information on food additive concentration values (usage and/or analytical occurrence data) and food consumption data enable the assessment of chronic dietary exposure to food additives to more realistic levels.

Keywords: food additives, α-tocopherol, ammonium phosphatides, dietary exposure assessment, European Food Safety Authority, food consumption data

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2 Impact of Interdisciplinary Therapy Allied to Online Health Education on Cardiometabolic Parameters and Inflammation Factor Rating in Obese Adolescents

Authors: Yasmin A. M. Ferreira, Ana C. K. Pelissari, Sofia De C. F. Vicente, Raquel M. Da S. Campos, Deborah C. L. Masquio, Lian Tock, Lila M. Oyama, Flavia C. Corgosinho, Valter T. Boldarine, Ana R. Dâmaso

Abstract:

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is growing around the world and currently considered a global epidemic. Food and nutrition are essential requirements for promoting health and protecting non-communicable chronic diseases, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Specific dietary components may modulate the inflammation and oxidative stress in obese individuals. Few studies have investigated the dietary Inflammation Factor Rating (IFR) in obese adolescents. The IFR was developed to characterize an individual´s diet on anti- to pro-inflammatory score. This evaluation contributes to investigate the effects of inflammatory diet in metabolic profile in several individual conditions. Objectives: The present study aims to investigate the effects of a multidisciplinary weight loss therapy on inflammation factor rating and cardiometabolic risk in obese adolescents. Methods: A total of 26 volunteers (14-19 y.o) were recruited and submitted to 20 weeks interdisciplinary therapy allied to health education website- Ciclo do Emagrecimento®, including clinical, nutritional, psychological counseling and exercise training. The body weight was monitored weekly by self-report and photo. The adolescents answered a test to evaluate the knowledge of the topics covered in the videos. A 24h dietary record was applied at the baseline and after 20 weeks to assess the food intake and to calculate IFR. A negative IFR suggests that diet may have inflammatory effects and a positive IFR indicates an anti-inflammatory effect. Statistical analysis was performed using the program STATISTICA version 12.5 for Windows. The adopted significant value was α ≤ 5 %. Data normality was verified with the Kolmogorov Smirnov test. Data were expressed as mean±SD values. To analyze the effects of intervention it was applied test t. Pearson´s correlations test was performed. Results: After 20 weeks of treatment, body mass index (BMI), body weight, body fat (kg and %), abdominal and waist circumferences decreased significantly. The mean of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) increased after the therapy. Moreover, it was found an improvement of inflammation factor rating from -427,27±322,47 to -297,15±240,01, suggesting beneficial effects of nutritional counselling. Considering the correlations analysis, it was found that pro-inflammatory diet is associated with increase in the BMI, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL), triglycerides, insulin and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR); while an anti-inflammatory diet is associated with improvement of HDL-c and insulin sensitivity Check index (QUICKI). Conclusion: The 20-week blended multidisciplinary therapy was effective to reduce body weight, anthropometric circumferences and improve inflammatory markers in obese adolescents. In addition, our results showed that an increase in inflammatory profile diet is associated with cardiometabolic parameters, suggesting the relevance to stimulate anti-inflammatory diet habits as an effective strategy to treat and control of obesity and related comorbidities. Financial Support: FAPESP (2017/07372-1) and CNPq (409943/2016-9)

Keywords: Obesity, cardiometabolic risk, inflammatory diet, multidisciplinary therapy

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1 Creating a Critical Digital Pedagogy Context: Challenges and Potential of Designing and Implementing a Blended Learning Intervention for Adult Refugees in Greece

Authors: Roula Kitsiou, Sofia Tsioli, Eleni Gana

Abstract:

The current sociopolitical realities (displacement, encampment, and resettlement) refugees experience in Greece are a quite complex issue. Their educational and social ‘integration’ is characterized by transition, insecurity, and constantly changing needs. Based on the current research data, technology and more specifically mobile phones are one of the most important resources for refugees, regardless of their levels of conventional literacy. The proposed paper discusses the challenges encountered during the design and implementation of the educational Action 16 ‘Language Education for Adult Refugees’. Action 16 is one of the 24 Actions of the Project PRESS (Provision of Refugee Education and Support Scheme), funded by the Hellenic Open University (2016-2017). Project PRESS had two main objectives: a) to address the educational and integration needs of refugees in transit, who currently reside in Greece, and b) implement research-based educational interventions in online and offline sites. In the present paper, the focus is on reflection and discussion about the challenges and the potential of integrating technology in language learning for a target-group with many specific needs, which have been recorded in field notes among other research tools (ethnographic data) used in the context of PRESS. Action 16, explores if and how technology enhanced language activities in real-time and place mediated through teachers, as well as an autonomous computer-mediated learning space (moodle platform and application) builds on and expands the linguistic, cultural and digital resources and repertoires of the students by creating collaborative face-to-face and digital learning spaces. A broader view on language as a dynamic puzzle of semiotic resources and processes based on the concept of translanguaging is adopted. Specifically, designing the blended learning environment we draw on the construct of translanguaging a) as a symbolic means to valorize students’ repertoires and practices, b) as a method to reach to specific applications of a target-language that the context brings forward (Greek useful to them), and c) as a means to expand refugees’ repertoires. This has led to the creation of a learning space where students' linguistic and cultural resources can find paths to expression. In this context, communication and learning are realized by mutually investing multiple aspects of the team members' identities as educational material designers, teachers, and students on the teaching and learning processes. Therefore, creativity, humour, code-switching, translation, transference etc. are all possible means that can be employed in order to promote multilingual communication and language learning towards raising intercultural awareness in a critical digital pedagogy context. The qualitative analysis includes critical reflection on the developed educational material, team-based reflexive discussions, teachers’ reports data, and photographs from the interventions. The endeavor to involve women and men with a refugee background into a blended learning experience was quite innovative especially for the Greek context. It reflects a pragmatist ethos of the choices made in order to respond to the here-and-now needs of the refugees, and finally it was a very challenging task that has led all actors involved into Action 16 to (re)negotiations of subjectivities and products in a creative and hopeful way.

Keywords: Language Education, Integration, Blended Learning, Refugees

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