Improving Education In Macedonia Through Digital Literacy For EFL Students
Digital Literacy for EFL Students is a course designed specifically for learners of English as a foreign or second language at Intermediate (B1-B2) level, aiming to advance their linguistic competence through the use of digital technology. The course comprises of five modules: Blogging, Web Design, Filmmaking and Video Editing, Social Networks, and Presentation Skills. Their recognision in the HundrED Global Collection has not only lead to increased visibility and potential partnerships, but has also lead to them pioneering new initiatives and seeing their program evolve to include cultural heritage as the basis for content creation.
What does it mean for Digital Literacy for EFL Students to be recognised as a leading education innovator in the HundrED 2019 Global Collection?
According to the Media Literacy Index for Europe, published by the Open Society Institute – Sofia (European Policies Initiative) in March 2018, Macedonia is ranked last, which clearly indicates that there is an impending need to introduce programs like Digital Literacy for EFL Students in the formal education in particular. This has become a must if we are to help young learners build the most necessary 21st-century digital and media literacy skills, with EFL as the basis for quality content development for their digital outputs. Digital Literacy for EFL Students offers a model for a combined approach in providing EFL and ICT instruction to help students develop their linguistic competences through the use of digital media. As an informal educational institution, Pegasus ELS is still facing challenges in relation to scaling up its innovative program to the formal educational sector, due to certain legislative restrictions of the educational policy in Macedonia. However, there are several institutions (both educational and civic) that have recognized the potential of this model and have offered to establish collaboration with Pegasus ELS to enable a greater impact of the Digital Literacy for EFL Students program. The fact that Digital Literacy for EFL Students has been recognised as one of the most inspiring innovations worldwide, and has been included in the HundrED 2019 Global Collection, has enabled us to establish partnerships with national and international institutions that are willing to work together within the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships, in order to produce intellectual outputs that would enable EFL and ICT teachers to blend their instruction, and develop syllabuses for different target groups of students that would be applicable within their educational settings. Being part of the HundrED community has enabled us to increase our program’s visibility not only nationally, but also internationally, and has given us the impetus and the willingness to pertain to our common mission, which is to make every child flourish.
What are your biggest takeaways from the HundrED Innovation Summit?
The HundrED Innovation Summit is the most inspiring global celebration of educational innovation - an event that has assigned the biggest value to the smallest of us - educators, coming from various cultural and social backgrounds, who are passionately pursuing positive developments and changes in the current educational systems for the benefit of all future generations. The HundrED Innovation Summit has provided an opportunity for educators from all over the globe to connect and exchange positive practices within their area of expertise, and in this attempt, make the first steps towards internationalising educational innovation, which I believe is the most important thing to do if we are to incite a comprehensive shift in the existing educational paradigms worldwide, and enable equitable opportunities for further development of our societies as part of an integrated whole, which is a necessity for the world we live in today. Moreover, the HundrED Innovation Summit has given me the opportunity to learn from the best and inspired me to try out some of the innovations within our educational setting, which I believe could help our students improve their performance and attain higher results in their academic development. All in all, the HundrED Innovation Summit is an amazing place to get inspired, to share positive practices, and to grow together with a global community of passionate educators who are dedicated to fostering positive change in the world.
How has the HundrED Summit and global recognition helped progress the impact of Digital Literacy for EFL Students?
Finland is now widely recognized as a global leader in educational reform and development. Therefore, being recognized as one of the most inspiring global innovations at the HundrED Innovation Summit has helped our school increase our visibility as a leading educational innovator in the region. It has opened avenues of possibilities for future collaboration with local, regional and international partners who are willing to introduce digital and media literacy programs within their educational settings. Moreover, our collaboration with HundrED has inspired us to involve young people in promoting positive educational changes in their schools by sharing HundrED innovations with their local communities through the Youth for Change Initiative, now available at HundrED as one of our new innovations. Our goal is to become a local and regional educational centre that would enable implementation of various HundrED innovations within our school and beyond, and promote HundrED innovations to other relevant stakeholders in the region, as well as encourage local educators to share their innovative practices with the global community at HundrED.
So, what is next for Digital Literacy for EFL Students?
In partnership with a local civic organization, as well as with international educational institutions from Bulgaria, Turkey, and Spain, we have applied for an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships project, which we hope will be taking place in the forthcoming period of two years, aiming at producing intellectual outputs (Teacher’s Handbook, Syllabuses, MOOCs) that would enable teachers of EFL and ICT from all partner institutions to develop combined approaches in their teaching practice in order to enable students to advance their English language skills through blogging, web design, video editing, presentations and social media promotions. This project should enable us to scale up Digital Literacy for EFL Students internationally, and in that way achieve a much greater impact.
In addition, Digital Literacy for EFL Students has evolved into a new program called Digital Meets Heritage, which uses cultural heritage as the basis for content creation for students’ blogs, websites, videos, presentations, and social media promotions. This clearly indicates that the program Digital Literacy for EFL Students offers a model that can easily be adapted to any content whatsoever, thus enabling digital literacy skills to be introduced with every school subject, giving a completely new perspective to educational development, particularly in relation to digitalizing education. This is especially important for countries that are struggling with large-scale educational reforms, which quite often turn out to be futile due to the lack of cross-sectoral collaboration. We believe that if this model is adjusted to the requirements of any educational environment it could help both teachers and students develop creative ways to teach/study a variety of contents, and at the same time help students advance their digital literacy skills in a meaningful context.
What would you say to innovators who are looking to connect with HundrED? Why should they be part of the global community for change?
It is not just innovators who can benefit from being part of the global HundrED community. All educators who are passionate about introducing positive changes in their teaching practice, or willing to help transform the educational system to suit the requirements of the modern age, as well as help every child flourish, should seriously consider joining the HundrED community, and learn from the best educational practices worldwide. HundrED is not only a community of innovators. It is a community of relevant educational stakeholders who are willing to connect and work together towards the common goal of transforming education in order to foster positive changes in the society as a whole. Therefore, my message to all educators and innovators would be: JOIN US!
Learn more about Digital Literacy for EFL Students on their Innovation Page.