Fighting early school dropout resulting from the misuse of ICT
School dropout is one of the main problems facing the education system in most European countries. Among the factors that currently have the greatest impact on early school leaving are those related to the misuse of new technologies and the risks associated with exposure to the digital environment. This is a problem that affects society as a whole, but, as in many other aspects, it is families with fewer resources or at risk of social exclusion who are most exposed to the risk of school dropout and, therefore, of limiting the opportunities provided by education.
With the goal of designing a method that manages to reduce school dropout rates, in 2021, under the acronym ENDING, five European institutions set up the project ICT & Early School Leaving. Developing a New Methodology to Empower Children in Digital WellbeIng and Critical ThiNkinG.
This approach will be implemented on the basis of the three guides that make up the program:
The first, the Teachers’ Guide, includes five aspects that directly affect the teacher’s position when faced with the problems that the misuse of new technologies can pose for the personal and academic life of young people. These aspects are: physical and mental health, safety, cyberbullying and critical thinking. A fifth thematic module has been added to explain the importance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has recently been updated to include the rights of children and how to protect their lives in the digital environment.
These same thematic areas make up the Guide for Families, which aims to provide parents with information and advice on how to detect possible problems arising from the excessive use of digital devices by children, as well as the risks associated with their exposure to the Internet and social networks.
On many occasions, mothers and fathers do not have the necessary information to act when faced with certain situations that arise in the digital environment. The Guide for Families includes numerous tips and recommendations to help parents in these situations.
Finally, the Students’ Guide will be created based on the contributions and experiences of the students themselves, developing a method that will help the autonomous implementation of the project in any European school.
The Spanish National Police, PantallasAmigas and Fundación MAPFRE (Spain), Stiftung Digitale Chancen (Germany), and the Polytechnic Institute of Porto (Portugal) comprise the consortium that presented this project funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ program. Along with these institutions, two Spanish schools, Colegio Aquila (Parla) and C.E. Santa María la Nueva y San José Artesano (Burgos); and two Portuguese schools, Agrupamento de Escolas Eugenio de Andrade (Porto) and Escola Secundaria da Boa Nova – Leca da Palmeira (Porto) are taking part by implementing and testing the method.
All the project guides and materials are available in Portuguese, English and Spanish so that any educational centers who wish to can use these materials to autonomously implement this method.
Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, various outreach activities will be run, and several workshops will be held in which students will actively participate in creating the content that will make up the last of the guides, the Students’ Guide, which will be presented in Madrid in June 2023.
All the information on the project is available on the web www.endingproject.eu