Written by Simona Ferrari and Gabriele Giampieri (project manager)
Tackling online disinformation and the creation of collaborative learning through digital tools are two urgencies rising both at European and at local level.
If from one side the European Union is coping with online disinformation since 2015, the need to ensure sound pedagogies to face remote learning at school is increasingly driving the world of education as the pandemic mitigates the classic educational delivery in the classroom.
Cremit on behalf of Università Cattolica di Milano is coordinating the Erasmus+ project “Check & Design” leading an European partnership composed by 5 upper secondary schools (IT; ES; HU; PL; PT) and it is supported by Archilabò, an association processing digital educational material for schools.
Let’s have a look first within the broader framework.
Digital information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery and assessment of information, the understanding of information, the critical evaluation of sources. The relevance of the subject is confirmed by “key competence for life-long learning” (2006-2018) where the digital competence is outlined as “the ability to search, collect and process information and use it in a critical and systematic way, assessing relevance and distinguishing the real from the virtual while recognizing the links.”
According to “Digital Education at School in Europe 2019” by Eurydice there is a consistent approach in defining digital competence as a key competence across Europe but less than a half of the European education systems refer to the European key competence definitions for digital competence. In particular at upper secondary level digital competences are not explicitly addressed in the national curricula. Half of the European education systems are currently reforming the curriculum related to digital competence.
In half of the education systems, digital competences are never assessed at school through national testing. Teachers across Europe receive very little guidance from top-level authorities on the assessment of digital competences in the classroom as mostly take place within the framework of the official examinations to certify students’ digital competences at the end of this education level.
Let’s now set the target-groups and the topics inside this framework.
The majority of secondary school students are not able to evaluate information from several sources, to assess the reliability of what they read, to locate information and navigate autonomously. Teachers face the same challenge as the “EU Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators” stresses (DigComp).
As educators face rapidly changing demands, they require an increasingly broader and more sophisticated set of competences than before. In particular, the ubiquity of digital devices and the duty to help students become digitally competent requires educators to develop their own digital competence and a safe and critical approach on the world of information to their students. Teachers can play a key role in this, but their preparation is crucial. In fact, one of the latest Eurydice reports (2018) states that: “many teachers will still be less familiar with online platforms and social media than the students they are teaching.”
The picture becomes creepy whether we match those data with the Flash Eurobarometer 464 stressing the low trust in news published on online social networks (19%), the high perception of running into online misrepresenting information (68%) and 83% of respondents identifies fake news as a problem for democracy in general.
Starting from this background, the “Check&Design” project will provide educators all over Europe with tools to gain innovative digital methods and pedagogies to spot online fake news and supporting the effective use of the online tools according to the reliability and the accuracy of the sources and transfer the methodology to their students, developing their critical skills.
The following Outputs will be realised:
i. Information literacy MOOC for school teachers and students: an OER tailor-made to enhance students’ capacity to spot fake news, to trace back to the source of information, to understand the info spreading processes. Available both blended and as digital tool only.
ii. Digital collaborative learning Toolkit for Teachers: methodological, pedagogical and assessment framework to foster the use of ICT tools for collaborative learning at school Digital Textbooks created over the local pilots and virtual activities will be showcased too.
iii. European Digital Teachers Curriculum: Recommendations for an innovative digital curriculum for secondary school teachers.
After a wide and in-depth research, a training will be set up in order to let school teachers gain the necessary skills and tools to spot fake news online and create digital textbooks. The teachers will be transferring the
competences to their students who will be testing and assessing the MOOC and the toolkit. The local pilots will lead to the creation of national digital reports concerning the efforts and outcomes achieved by the Eurocities represented by the partnership. A virtual exchange for students will be implemented in order to let students involved in the creation of the digital textbooks comprehend the common efforts brought forth by Eurocities and EU in general as well as on the opposite side the differences between the cultural heritage sites and cultural management that enriches the European way to be united in diversity.
Plus an online local contest among students will be set up to let students analyse the different digital textbooks and rate several assessment headings related to the quality of cultural heritage.
Through the accomplishment of the planned activities and results “Check&Design” will reach the following impacts:
– Enhancing the teaching professional profiles providing innovative tools in digital competences and Digital citizenship;
– Enhancing the quality of education and boosting of its role in tackling disinformation all over EU;
– Developing critical skills in students and make them able to become active citizens;
– Making students safe to stay in a digital world, including the capacity of being able to evaluate what
They find online and make decisions about whether it is reliable and accurate or not.
– Enhancing the networking and collaborations between schools over this topic.
– Enabling learners to use digital technologies as part of collaborative assignments, as a means of enhancing communication, collaboration and collaborative knowledge creation;
– Following the motto “united in diversity” the project will let students discover what their cities are carrying on for the enhancement of cultural sites and activities, for youngsters and in the end what EU is implementing in the cultural field.
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