As part of exploitation activities related to the ySKILLs project, we prepared a ‘flash action’ targeted to high school students (15+ years) attending the two main national fairs on education, work, and training, to check how this group of older students answered to questions on digital knowledge, most of them asked in the longitudinal ySKILLS survey.
Preparing the action
This action was prepared in articulation with the key policy maker working with young people: Instituto Português do Desporto e da Juventude (Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth, IPDJ). Since capturing the attention of the participants in these events is difficult, the institute decided to prepare a digital game (quiz format) with no more than five questions.
The game was prepared using the Quizizz platform, in a way that does not imply capturing private information on the respondents. They had to decide whether each one of the five statements (four of which were from the ySKILLS questionnaire) were true or false, with a third option that was 'no answer'.
In the IPDJ pavilion, young volunteers invited visiting students to participate in the game. Once these students had answered to the questions, they received an award from the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre. Although its short duration, this activity allowed to discuss with the participants issues related to the way they use and surf the internet.
The results collected from more than 800 high school students suggest a certain lack of critical thinking on the individual and social impacts of the online interaction.
Only around half of the respondents have correctly identified the two first statements, both related to social networking and online communication with peers.
While the further three statements received higher correct answers, it is remarkable that around one in four neither identified the possible negative impact of actions in social sites nor the commercial dimension behind the influencers.
Around one in five of these high school students did not identify how the searching information online works.
The comparison with the 1st wave of the Portuguese results, mainly answered by younger students (aged 13 to 15) shows a better performance from these older respondents. While confirming that age matters regarding digital skills, these results also suggest the need to consolidate digital skills, both those that are functional (how the algorithmics work, for instance) and those that have a critical dimension (e.g. empathy, the economic model behind the social networks, the awareness of the circulation of false information).
This collaborative action with a key national stakeholder took advantage from the informal space of these fairs and provided a tool that may be used by IPDJ young volunteers in their own work with young people across the country.
Certainly, discussing the generated results from this game with young participants may illuminate understanding of these questions (for instance, how could the first statement, on trusting friends, be understood by the respondents?). Starting from the game’s results also may help to formulate and reformulate other questions, in a peer-to-peer approach, and can highlight ideas to improve digital skills in adolescents.
Therefore, such action is also inspirative for further actions involving the participation of other key stakeholders such as adolescents leading digital training among peers: the programs Navegas em Segurança, from IPDJ, and Líderes Digitais, linked to the Directorate General of Education.
This article was originally published at https://yskills.eu/exploring-the-yskills-indicator-the-ydsi-with-high-school-students-a-joint-initiative-together-with-a-portuguese-policy-maker/ and has been adapted and republished here with the permission of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre.
Find out more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.