The Centre of Information Technologies in Education (CITE) (part of the Lithuanian Safer Internet Centre) piloted the SIA programme and trained over 400 ambassadors over the course of three years in order to multiply safer and better internet practices. The activities were divided into three stages:
In the first stage, three lecturers – aware of the demand for Safer Internet Ambassadors in schools – worked out a pilot development programme: "Safer Internet Ambassadors' activities in the modern school: community building and ensuring eSafety." In 2016, the programme was piloted with 100 Lithuanian teachers – see a picture gallery here.
During the second stage, 30 Safer Internet Ambassadors started their preparation to become lecturers for the teacher-enthusiasts ready and willing to be Safer Internet Ambassadors in schools. This mirrored the aim of the project to prepare ambassadors in schools: teachers able to solve issues and share their valuable experiences across Lithuanian schools and beyond.
During the final stage – which took place from October 2017 to February 2018 – training courses were provided in 21 school across Lithuania. Over 400 future Safer Internet Ambassadors were taught according to a 40-hour programme. The educators developed their own skills to create a safer and better internet, while testing out innovative learning and teaching methods.
The SIA training cycle was finalised by the SIA conference where IT and media literacy experts and teachers expressed their confidence in how to enable students to create their own safer and better internet, so empowering them to live and learn in a modern media world.
The Chairman of the Seimas Committee of Education and Science, Eugenijus Jovaiša, greeted the participants of the conference and noted the changes over the last 30 years. The influence of the internet on young people is immense, therefore it is very important to work with youth. The priority for media and information literacy to ensure school eSafety and to provide a good overall education was stressed by the Minister of Education, Jurgita Petrauskienė.
The conference was attended by representatives of the telecommunications industry and IT literacy companies. Partners in the Lithuanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) presented the most interesting and valuable practices of the SIC's awareness centre, hotline and helpline, along with resources developed by the centre's youth panelists.
The Youth Panel Coordinator further presented youth initiatives both from Lithuania and Europe, including the Youth Manifesto, a YouTube channel, a social advertisement for the slogan of the European Youth Forum 2017, and the European Youth Panel's #TogetherForRespect campaign launched at the 2017 edition of the European Safer Internet Forum (SIF).
The media and IT literacy experts present were unanimous on the need to develop the ability of young people to work and learn with media, and highlighted the trends and challenges related to the very public environment which the internet offers.
Žygimantas Jančoras, Director of Media Education and Research Center "Meno avilys" (Art Hive), analysed the definition of media literacy and reflected on how it can be defined at different levels: the term is understood and used differently in different areas, and the educational system is no exception. The aim is to teach students not to get lost in the world full of media, but instead to consider "What challenges are awaiting us?".
Gražina Ramanauskaitė-Tiumenevienė, Inspector of Journalist' Ethics, outlined the practical aspects of legal protection from negative influences for teenagers. It is not only journalists but all of society who must take care of young people, therefore it is important to know the legal laws of Lithuania.
The practical part of the conference revealed the best practices of the 2017-2018 development courses. Reports from the programme's trainers provided lots of interesting and useful ideas on how to develop students' media and information resilience and other competences, and showed interesting ways of how to use new technologies while also creating a safer and better internet.
Both SIA trainers and the SIA school training programme are accredited and can be provided in all in-service training institutions in Lithuania. It can help to improve the schools' ability to ensure safety for the young generation, while teachers prepared as Safer Internet Ambassadors will be able to involve their communities in the constructive and creative use of the internet, while reducing the risks of learning and creation with modern media.
Find out more about the work of the Lithuanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.