Summer e-CHALLENGE: Information literacy and Critical Thinking

From 3 – 14 of July, 15 young students from Blagoevgrad, took part in the Summer e-challenge Activity: Soft skills and Information literacy, organised by Euni Partners within the project “Summer e-CHALLENGE: Acquiring Soft & Digital Skills Through Non-formal Free-time Practices”.

The pilot course focused on providing the youngsters aged between 12 and 16 years old, with crucial skills for navigating in the contemporary environment of rapid technological development and explosion of information, big part of it with questionable validity, authenticity and reliability. As the possibilities for parental control in internet are limited, adults have little control of the information and entertainment contents children and young adults are exposed to on daily basis. We believe therefore that it is of crucial importance to teach and train children and young adults not only in digital skills, but also in information and critical thinking skills, thus giving them the ability to navigate safely and responsibly through the vast virtual realities opening to them. Information literacy is the ability to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information”(ALA). Critical thinking is the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion (Dictionary.com).

Through working in different social areas like self – and body image, relationships, politics and society stereotypes and prejudices, we covered a wide range of skills, competences, attitudes and knowledge such as:

  • Difference between information, entertainment and advertisement
  • Difference between truth, fact and opinion
  • Difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships
  • Signs of unhealthy relationships, bullying and cyber bullying
  • Distinguishing advertisement, images, social media profiles vs. reality
  • Internet security and safety
  • Understanding the connections between fashion/ advertisement and self and body image
  • Distinguishing logical and argumentative fallacies, sound from unsound arguments, valid conclusions from opinion
  • Distinguishing hate –speech, sensationalism, low quality cultural, information and entertainment products
  • Understanding online and social media, opportunities and limitations, advantages and disadvantages; awareness of the relationship between content, services, advertisement and pricing.

The acquired skills and competences are essential for personal fulfillment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment of young people. The 2017 pilot course was organized with the support of the Nation School of Humanities “Sv. Sv. Kiril I Metodii”, and due to the high interest of students’ parents, a permanent “English language, Information literacy and Critical thinking ” course will be implemented at the latest starting from the academic year 2018 – 2019.

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“Summer eChallenge – Acquiring Soft & Digital Skills Through Non-formal Free-time Practices” is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Youth in Action programme of the European Union. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.