After four years of hard work, a few months ago we launched the 2.0 version of CrESI for iOS, an app that aims to provide easy access to information about sex education. It’s intended to be used by teenagers and educators inside and outside the classroom, and it was developed with the input of teachers (Andrés Obregón and Gladys Cabral) and students of Mano Amiga Santa María secondary school, and with the collaboration of Agustín Palmeira, Josmer Delgado, Eugenia Torres, Mariano Stampella and Juan Manuel Rodríguez from intive.
What’s CrESI? The name of the app comes from blending the word crecer (“to grow up”) with ESI, an acronym for Educación Sexual Integral (“comprehensive sex education”). The app features a trivia that seeks to raise awareness, educate users and even assess through playing. The questions explore five categories of sex education topics, all validated by subject-matter experts and Medicine and Psychology professionals, and tested in teenagers aged between 12 and 18 years old:
- Body health
- People’s rights
- Prevention of infections
- Gender diversity
CrESI was born as a response to the problem of teenage pregnancy due to lack of sex information.
“We were shocked by two cases of teenage pregnancy in our school, which made us try to find some kind of solution. The causes of teenage pregnancy include lack of information and lack of a life project. We’ve made our contribution to information access, now we need to start working on the importance of having a life project of one’s own.”
That concern was the trigger to create this app: a game of 300 Q&A that seeks to engage teenagers, who can also send anonymous questions to be answered. The app can be downloaded for free, it can be used in iOS, Android and web operation systems, and can be used without Internet connection. It was developed with the aim to establish a link, claims Andrés Obregón. The goal isn’t just to learn by playing trivia, but to open a guidance space for teachers and parents.
The Context for CrESI
Andrés explains how sex education was taught in Mano Amiga secondary school:
“Sex education was a module included in the curricula of subjects such as Biology or Health, sometimes even in Citizenship. From 2015 on, when we started developing the CrESI app, we intended for sex education to be transversal to all subjects, as required by the 26150 law. It really helped that the teachers involved in the project came from subjects where sex education isn’t present, such as Maths or Computer Science.”
“CrESI aims to be a tool; it cannot replace teachers nor parents. Teachers use the app with their students, and parents may download it to play trivia with their sons and daughters. Although it has been proven that learning improves when it’s combined with playing, the human relationship remains just as important. That’s why sex education always has to be transmitted by someone close, a member of the family or teachers.”
Developing the CrESI App
intive became involved in the CrESI project as part of RSE Labs, a R&D space for employees at intive Argentina who aren’t allocated to a project, so that they can research and implement new technologies with a social impact. Our task was to redesign the app for iOS, which was achieved in several stages:
- “We had to understand the way categories were prepared and themes were discussed, and what were the different touch points between the app and the users (teenagers or educators).” Eugenia Torres
- “We modified the information architecture to improve usability and to enable the redesign of the main flow. Once we defined the flow, we redesigned the UI entirely: icons, colors, typography and images.” Eugenia Torres
- “We took this opportunity to train colleagues who weren’t familiar with iOS technology.” Agustín Palmeira
- “We used native language (Swift) and different architectures and design patterns suitable for this type of project.” Agustín Palmeira
- “We elaborated quite detailed documentation that can be maintained by any developer with knowledge on Swift.” Agustín Palmeira
Behind the Scenes
CrESI isn’t the first project with inclusion purposes, neither for intive nor for Mano Amiga Santa María secondary school. The school is also working on an app for road education and one on dyslexia. intive Argentina has been developing apps with social impact since the beginning. One of the most renowned initiatives is Project DANE, which develops learning apps for children and teenagers with autism, Down syndrome and aphasia.
As Mariano Stampella says (founder of FDV Solutions, former intiver, and one of the main promoters of social impact projects and RSE Labs at intive), the CrESI app is just one of many bridges. In this case, between the academy and the IT industry, in the form of a link between a religious school and a global company of software development.
“Technology is changing consumption habits, the way we learn and the access to information for millions of people around the world, but sometimes it doesn’t show a spirit of inclusion. Comprehensive sex education is much more revolutionary than it seems, because it implies removing the heavy curtain that hides inequalities, violence and repression. Enabling other ways to express yourself and enhancing visibility and transparency helps to avoid teenage pregnancies and domestic violence and to combat discrimination through information and empathy, which comes by listening, learning and sharing with others.” Mariano Stampella
“The love and effort behind all of this is inspiring. It’s rewarding to know that we could do our bit in this amazing journey. It feels amazing to think you can contribute to the wellbeing of someone by doing what you love.” Eugenia Torres
The app is in need of funding to afford hosting and to cover workshop resources and travel expenses. “We want to add more features, such as the ability to support multi-user games, maps showing nearby hospitals or health centers, and a calendar to mark dates of the menstrual cycle,” explains Andrés.
If you want to contribute to the CrESI app and the construction of this bridge, you can do so by:
- Sharing this article among your contacts or sharing the Instagram @appcresi to make the project known.
- Collaborating in code writing, or training students to do so themselves.
- Contributing in the design or production of the CrESI board game, to be distributed in schools where there’s no Internet connection or widespread access to smartphones.
- Sending questions to add to the trivia.
- Funding the workshops we dictate on sex education.
You can reach out by writing to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!