Social Media Literacy for Change – helping teachers develop their student's social media literacy skills strategically!

In a world that is increasingly dependent on technology and the internet, it comes as no surprise that social media is practically omnipresent in young people's lives. More often than not it is the negative effects of social media that we hear about, while the positives are frequently overlooked. Social media can contribute massively to children and young people's education, preparing them to become active, well-informed and well-rounded individuals, and providing them with opportunities to learn, develop, interact and find emotional support.

However, all this is difficult to achieve without social media literacy skills which many - if not most - children and young people lack when they go online nowadays. These skills have the capacity to prepare them for responding to risks they might encounter online such as cyberbullying, online disinformation and manipulation, and even radicalisation.

Who could be better positioned to develop young people's skills than schools? They are the binding elements in any community – being placed at the crossroads where different generations, social classes and backgrounds meet. For this very reason, the one-year Social Media Literacy for Change (sml4change) project, co-funded by the European Commission's Media Literacy for All pilot project, aimed to support European school leaders and teachers to foster social media literacy (SML) in both their school and local community, thus reaching out to citizens at large.

With the project having recently ended, it is now time to look at some of the lessons learnt and reflect on the knowledge acquired on the topic. The results of this project have been compiled into two main documents which are now available for consultation:

 

  1. A Whole-School Journey Towards a Meaningful Social Media Literacy Strategy (or the Strategies Report) summarises the lessons learnt through the collaboration with 22 teachers who have created and implemented their SML strategies and who have helped shape the sml4change MOOC (massive open online course). This report touches upon the process through which the co-creators' SML strategies were developed, provides an overview of the main components of an SML strategy, some of the main challenges identified by the selected schools, the common areas of interest which were covered in most SML strategies and, finally, ways of assessing and adapting a strategy once it has been implemented. 
     
  2. Social Media Literacy Strategies in School: Designing a capacity-building scheme (or the Final Evaluation Report) provides a comprehensive overview of the project from the selection of participating schools, to co-creating the MOOC, through to mainstreaming the results.

The sml4change project is unique thanks to its bottom-up and school-centric approach to content creation, through which the Social Media Literacy for Change MOOC was created and moderated with the help of a very dedicated group of co-creators.

As the two reports demonstrate, it has become undeniable that social media literacy skills are essential for a better future. How this should be achieved, however, is still subject to dispute, especially given the limited effect of one-off events, awareness-raising campaigns or the odd SML lesson in class. Each country, each community, and each school is faced with very different challenges, which is why the sml4change project focused, above all, on capacity building. Teachers, educators, heads of schools and school leaders can now tap into the results of this project and make the most of the lessons learnt, as well as utilising the main output of the project and adapting it to their own needs and challenges in order to tackle social media literacy in an appropriate way for their context.

The sml4change MOOC is now freely available on the European Schoolnet Academy website, while more information about the project can be accessed via the Future Classroom Lab website in the dedicated project pages.

Follow the latest developments on social media using the #sml4change and #SocialMediaLiteracy4Change hashtags.
 


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Social Media Literacy for Change – helping teachers develop a social media literacy strategy in school

This spring, media literacy is on everyone's lips. With the first edition of the European Media Literacy Week taking place from 18 to 22 March 2019, the Social Media Literacy for Change project is delighted to be part of the European landscape of media literacy initiatives aiming to help European citizens in general and young people in particular, become active, creative and well-informed citizens of the digital world.