Vilnius Kachialov Gymnasium
Address: 1 A.J.Povilaicio, Vilnius
Project: Big Small Screens: Media Literacy in Schools of Lithuania
Working language during the project:
- Lithuanian, English, Russian
Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:
- Making children’s and students’ voices heard
- Addressing controversial issues
- Dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news
Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:
- Analytical and critical thinking skills
While studying and watching audio visual media products students are encouraged to analyse them critically from different perspectives and points of view, so that they were able to understand how media is constructed and recognise manipulation.
- Knowledge and critical understanding of language and communication
Students compare and contrast audio visual language, its symbols, signs, and expressiveness with the texts. They learn about audio visual ways of communicating information, levels of formality.
- Co-operation skills
Creating video games or documentaries, organising Media Week for the community, students get social experience while co-operating and solving problems as well as teamwork experience with sharing responsibilities.
Target group age range:
- 15 - 19
Level of education:
- Upper secondary education
Short description of the project:
The project aims to develop media literacy skills (with a special focus on audio visual media) amongst students and teachers of secondary and higher education, especially targeting the areas that are largely populated by ethnic minorities in Lithuania. The students learn how audio-visual media (cinema, computer games, social networks, TV and advertisement) is constructed and try to create it with the help of professionals.
As a result of the project we expected the students:
- to be able to analyse and understand how different types of media (cinema, television, advertisement, social networks, video games) are constructed and used to achieve different purposes
- to be aware of how to recognise fake news, propaganda and misinformation in media
- to involve the whole school community during the Media Festival in debates, the top-speaker tournament, brain-rings, exhibition of media vocabulary posters, selfie contests and other attractive activities
- to create and present their own audio visual media product (a computer game or a short documentary) with the help of professionals.
Impact of the project on students:
- The ability to critically analyse and understand various media products to recognise propaganda and fake news as well as avoid being manipulated.
- Meeting students’ interests practical activities which result in creating a final product
- Teamwork experience with sharing responsibilities
- Social experience while cooperating and solving problems
- Meeting and working with high-level media industry specialists
- Experience in terms of future career prospects
Impact on teachers:
- New knowledge, practical experience and teaching materials about five spheres of media and their impact on teenagers, which can be used to discuss the problems of propaganda, fake news and misinformation.
- Meeting with and support from media industry specialists
Impact on schools as educational institutions:
- Development of the teachers’ qualifications to tackle controversial political issues through practical activities with students
- Non-traditional activities, such as workshops, computer game testing, excursions, meeting celebrities
- The whole community involvement into the activities
- Partnership with other schools and organisations
- Highly motivated students and teachers
Challenges you faced
The first problem is the lack of qualified specialists at the school to deal with the topic of audio visual media, dealing with misinformation and propaganda. Although the teachers were given very effective practical training and support from the organizers, the preparation for the lessons and activities required a lot of personal effort and time.
Teenagers are usually not politically concerned, and if they are, they are influenced by their families very much. Therefore, discussing political issues is often faced with tension. We have found an indirect way to deal with it through learning about media.
Teachers often feel unconfident and inexperienced to work on the issue of audio visual media, like video games or social networks, as they are mostly of the older generation. It was therefore not easy to build a team of teachers at school for the project.
Time-frame of the project:
One school year