55 schools in 36 towns, cities and villages in Bulgaria participated in the first campaign “Media Literacy Days 2018”, co-organised by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre and the Coalition for digital and media literacy at schools.
The participating teachers conducted lessons on digital and media literacy using lesson plans and presentations developed by the Bulgarian SIC. A large share of them organized also meetings with parents in order to familiarize parents with the five main components of the digital and media literacy: online safety, information assessment, communication and cooperation, content creation and problem solving.
“The students were very proactive. They were enthusiastic that they could write the principles of digital competence alone”, said Elka Radeva, a teacher at 104 Zahari Stoyanov Primary School. She added that the children appreciated that the topic is related to their everyday life practices. They shared their own experiences with internet-related problems and said that now they realized how important is for them to know more about online safety.
Ralitsa Petrova who is a teacher at Vocational High School for Management and Food Technology said that regardless of the differences in their social environments, all the students were very enthusiastic to discuss how to test the reliability of information online and how to use the internet safely, discussing real cases from their daily lives.
A total of 4259 students from Aytos, Belozem, Burgas, Dalgo pole, Dimitrovgrad, Dobrich, Dorikovo, Dulovo, Etropole, Gotse Delchev, Haskovo, Kardzhali, Kostadinovo, Kochan, Nova Zagora, Novo Selo, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Radimir, Razgrad, Ruse, Sapareva Banya, Shumen, Sliven, Sofia, Sopot, Svishtov, Taran, Varna, Velingrad, Vidin and Vratsa participated in the campaign.
Tanya Evtimova and Veneta Pankova, teachers at Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov Vocational High School for Tourism in Burgas, shared that they felt satisfied that they have managed to demonstrate to their students that the digital literacy has various aspects. They added that this is something which they try to include in their teaching.
Lora Lyubenova, a teacher at Lyuben Karavelov Primary School, assigned homework for her students to talk with their parents on the topics discussed in class because she believes that parental support is essential to establish a culture of safe Internet use.
As parents’ participation was initially an important part of the campaign, 32 meetings with parents were also organized at schools. The parents were familiarized with the myths and facts about the internet, as well as the appropriate ways to support their children to use the internet safely. At these meetings, the parents received answers to their questions (for instance, how to protect their children in the Web, whether internet addiction exists and whether the screen devices are harmful to children’s health).
According to Tsvetana Tsvetkova, principal of Vasil Kanchov Primary School in Vratsa, the lessons provided in the campaign gave the students opportunity to share their opinions and experience freely, familiarized the children with useful channels to report problems or receive more information about internet safety. Dimitar Markov, an IT teacher at the same school, added that the lesson plans developed by the Bulgarian SIC were very useful to him because he tries to develop digital and media skills in his students (online communication skills, information skills, e.g. how to find information from credible sources and content creation skills – for content creation respecting the copyright and the right of protection of personal data.