by Noémie Krack – KU Leuven University Centre for IP and ICT law

Last week, KU Leuven University Centre for IP and ICT law, as a partner of the ETDSML project, hosted a 5 days training event for teachers on the use of social media in school context. This blogpost will present the ETDSML project and provide an overview of the  training event entitled  “Using social media in school context – benefits, risks, privacy and digital rights”.

The ETDSML project

The event took place within the framework of the ETDSML Erasmus + project (Educational Toolkit for the Development of Social Media Literacy). The 2 years project aims to empower teachers and school leaders to foster social media literacy in their schools. 5 institutions from Romania, Belgium, Italy and Portugal are part of this project including 3 schools. Knowing how crucial education of social media is for children and teenagers is, this project provides concrete tools and resources for teachers to address the matter. Indeed, children and teenagers rely heavily on social media to connect with others, inform themselves or consume entertaining content which creates an urgent need for social media education. 




The main objectives of the project are the following. 

  • Creation of open educational resources based on social media learning tools used in school learning activities;
  • Developing social media literacy skills for teachers / education specialists from project teams in partner institutions;
  • Responsible use of social media tools in the teaching process by teachers in target groups;
  • Implementing social media based learning activities in partner institutions.

These objectives will turn into 5 tangible outputs with a sustainable dimension which are the following :

O1 – Curriculum for the development of social media literacy in schools

O2 – Course support for the development of social media literacy in schools

O3 – Methodological guide for teaching social media literacy

O4 – Mobile application for implementing social media literacy in school

O5 – Collection of learning scenarios including the use of Social Media tools.

For more information on the project, you can also consult this previous blogpost from KU leuven : “Social Media Literacy: the new kid in class! (ETDSML-Project)”

5 days of training in Leuven 

The training week was the opportunity for teachers to learn more about a wide variety of topics to continue their work for ETDSML and also disseminate the knowledge gathered to their colleagues in schools back home. 

Disinformation was a recurring topic during the workshop. Several media literacy organizations addressed various aspects of the topic, for instance, how to address the problem of disinformation in conversations with children, and how to strengthen their critical thinking skills. First, Kamil Mikulski from the Kosciuszko Institute presented practical methods and tools to help recognize disinformation and verify its source and discussed building resilience against disinformation. Next, Adeline Brion from Lie Detectors presented their work about the education of children regarding fact-checking. Their initiative is led by journalists who equip school communities to fact-check online content,understand news media, make informed choices and resist peer pressure as they assemble their worldview. Then, Laurens Van de Voorde from StampMedia spoke about their media-wise initiatives to enable classes to develop their critical mind towards news and fake news. They provide workshops on news and information literacy for schools which include fake news, conspiracy theories, polarisation, … Disinformation was then further tackled by Jeroen Herman from Mediawijs who presented  tools for developing digital policies at schools and their Kritikat tool  to discuss truth & lies with young children and enable them to think critically. 

General Data Protection Regulation and children’s rights was an important takeaway of the training week. Provided by Dr. Ingrida Milkaite , this session enabled the teachers to learn more about the application of the GDPR regime for the  protection of children’s personal data, as well as the specificities of processing children’s voice in the domestic and educational environments. 

Copyright aspects of the use of online tools and materials in the classroom was introduced by Prof. Dr. Thomas Margoni. Teachers could learn more about the case-law for copyright exceptions, the different licensing schemes and what should teachers and students pay attention to when re-using material found online for educational purposes

Media literacy projects, tools and initiatives were also on the agenda. This included, ySKILLS project, presented by Veronica Donoso, which aims to enhance and maximise long-term positive impact of the ICT environment on multiple aspects of wellbeing for all children by stimulating resilience through the enhancement of digital skills. Anne-Claire Orban from Média Animation presented the Tandem and MyAppeduc projects which support the establishment of partnerships between schools, families and libraries to promote co-education in digital media for children. More for teenagers and high school, she introduced the teachers to the project eMerge which aims to empower teachers’ skills in media literacy in order to deconstruct with students the gender representations and stereotypes rooted in their media practices and pop cultures. All these initiatives received funding from the European Union. StampMedia also presented their activities in media literacy and their goal to amplify the voice of young people. These initiatives have certainly inspired the teachers present and constitute a good basis for further ETDSML work. 

Practical experiences. Teachers part of the ETDMSL project also exchanged concrete experiences and best practices on daily use of social media in schools, podcasts focusing on internet safety, how to use social media tools in the classroom and why games are important to use for educational purposes. 

Looking ahead 

The ETDSML project will end later this year. Based on the work already conducted in this project and the knowledge acquired during this training event, the partners will now continue their efforts to develop a mobile application to promote social media literacy in schools. If you want to stay tuned about their latest progress and achievements make sure to have a look at their website or at their Facebook Page