Young Europeans help to reduce their generation’s school dropout rate
Ending, with the support of Fundación MAPFRE, tackles the dangers of misusing new technologies in academic life
Ending is a consortium supported by the European Union and with which Fundación MAPFRE collaborates in Spain, together with the National Police and Pantallas Amigas; in Germany, with Siftung Digitale Chancen, and in Portugal, with the Center for Intercultural Studies of ISCAP from the Polytechnic of Porto.
This initiative, which aims to help reduce early school dropout, one of the main problems facing the education system in Europe, focuses its fight on the misuse of new technologies and the risks associated with young people’s increasingly prolonged exposure to the digital environment.
Using an innovative method, based on peer-to-peer learning and with the student as the protagonist, Ending also helps teachers and families to become aware of the problem.
Teenagers aged between 13 and 15 have actively participated in the development of two guides, which are available in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
The teachers’ guide proposes solutions to help young people in their personal and academic lives, including helping them to limit the time they spend with ICTs; establishing entertainment alternatives, such as sports tournaments and cultural activities; encouraging them to fulfill their responsibilities before using their cell phones; explaining the risk of contacting strangers; and teaching them to protect their privacy.
The guide for families, a group that suffers directly from this problem, aims to provide parents, particularly those with fewer resources or at risk of exclusion, with information and advice so that they can detect possible problems arising from the excessive use of digital devices by minors, as well as the risks associated with their exposure on the Internet and social networks. The guide offers guidelines such as not taking compromising photos or videos to avoid ‘sexting’ or ‘sextortion’ situations; not disseminating this type of images, neither their own nor those of third parties; explaining to children the importance of taking care of their online image; making them understand that sending images of child pornography is a crime; and insisting that they should report such events to family members, teachers, the police or doctors.
Ending seeks to get the students themselves to express, from their own point of view and experience, how they view these problems, how they detect them and what solutions they could offer. This method, based on peer-to-peer learning, is what makes Ending a pedagogical innovation. Empowering students, including them in the solution to the problem rather than just the diagnosis, and taking advantage of their ability to influence their younger peers, is the basis of this project that aims to prevent the most vulnerable students from dropping out of school.