The conference "How to Teach Media Literacy at School - Methods and Practices", which took place on November 10th in Sofia, provided an opportunity to more than 80 teachers from all over the country to get acquainted with practice-tested methodologies for media literacy training for students from 1st to 12th grade. The first of its kind conference was co-organized by the Media Literacy Coalition in Education, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Center for Safe Internet, and the Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange Fulbright.
The commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society in the European Commission Mariya Gabriel joined with video addressing the Commission's strategy in this important area. What are the ideas of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) for developing critical thinking and digital skills was explained by Tanya Mihaylova, deputy minister at the Ministry of Education and Science.
Several organizations participating in the Media Literacy Coalition demonstrated with presentations and then in practice how their digital literacy teaching methods work.
The Center for Safe Internet, represented by the Applied Research and Communications Foundation and the Parents Association, demonstrated a methodology for the early development of digital literacy in the initial course of education (1st to 4th grade) based on the compulsory curriculum. Media literacy training (8th to 12th grade) was presented in the joint project of the Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange Fulbright and the Association of European Journalists - Bulgaria. The Parents Association showed to teachers how to develop digital literacy skills in grades 5-12.
Evelina Pavlova, founder of The Children's Voice Foundation, explained how to develop the media literacy of young people through the Teenstation School Media Network. Teenage Media literacy in five steps was introduced by The Center for Creative Training.
In order to be able to get involved in the conference, school teachers in the country received support for travel expenses and stays from the organizers. After the conference, there will be a report with recommendations to the MES prepared by the participants on what schools and educators need in order to be able to develop the digital literacy of the pupils.
The Ministry of Education and Science provided for the first time during the school year 2018/2019 hours of media literacy in schools. Meanwhile a large proportion of teachers do not have the necessary preparation and clarity on how to teach media literacy.
According to the Media Literacy Coalition in Education, inclusion of new classes is a positive step but this must be accompanied by appropriate teacher training. With regard to media literacy classes, the Coalition issued its position as early as the end of August 2018 stating that the introduction of digital literacy elements should be on all subjects and not in a limited number of hours as a separate discipline. At the same time, teachers should be supported to acquire the knowledge and skills that will make them more effective in delivering this knowledge to the students, the members of the coalition insisted.
The lack of a methodology for media literacy training has led members of the coalition to unite their expertise and support the process of introducing media literacy classes in schools. Several of the organizations involved in the coalition have already developed and established methodologies or are in the process of developing such ones on ongoing projects. Overall, they manage to cover all classes from 1st to 12th grade.
Who were the speakers and moderators of the panels?
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society
Georgi Apostolov, coordinator of the Safer Internet Centre
Angela Rodel, Executive Director of the Fulbright Bulgarian-American Education Exchange Commission
Christina Hristova, Coordinator, Coalition for Media Literacy in Education
Evelina Pavlova, founder of the Teenstation School Media Network
Petar Kanchev, expert at the Safer Internet Centre
Tsveta Brestnichka - Parents Association
Zornitsa Stoilova, editor in Capital newspaper, section Society
Nadezhda Yurukova, Creative Training Center
Media literacy facts
“Are Digital Natives Digitally Literate?”
INSIGHTS FROM A NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE SURVEY, 2016, BULGARIA, Safer Internet Center
The average age when Bulgarian children start to use the internet has dropped from 9 years in 2010 (Livingstone, 2011) to 8 years of age in 2016’;
The percentage of kids using the internet every day has jumped from 83% in 2010 to about 93% in 2016.
The top three activities Bulgarian kids engage in online are social networking, watching videos, and listening to music
Even tough 80% of the respondents report self-confidence in searching for information, only 50% show confidence in verifying the truthfulness of the information they find.
About 29% of Bulgarian children had been emotionally hurt by peers during 2016 either online or offline, with the offences being equally spread between genders and increasing with age
About the Coalition
The Coalition for the Development of Media Literacy in Education brings together organizations working in the fields of education, media and civil society:
The Red House Center for Culture and Debate, The Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria, The Center for Inclusive Education, Teach for Bulgaria, Uchilishta.bg, National Network for Children, National Safer Internet Centre in the face of the Applied Research and Communications Fund and Association Parents, Bulgaria 2030 Education, BlueLink Foundation, DigitalKidz, Public Council of the 5th Mithio Stanev Primary School - Stara Zagora.
The Coalition has been working to develop digital literacy in Bulgarian schools starting with 1st graders. The aim is to ensure the safety of the children as well as the development of their critical thinking and creative talents in the digital media world.