“We are all responsible for helping teachers receive the knowledge and tools necessary to develop students’ digital skills – so that technology is beneficial to children and society as a whole.” This is what Founder and CEO of Teach For Bulgaria, Evgenia Peeva-Kirova, stated in her presentation at the international innovations festival Webit 2018. The tenth anniversary edition of Webit took place on June 25-27 in Sofia.
Evgenia Peeva-Kirova took part in the panel called “Attention! Your child is holding a device.” with Jelena Djokovic CEO of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Stefan Piëch CEO of Your Family Entertainment AG, Erica Bodoshi (Vivacom), and George Balint (AMC Networks International). The five panelists discussed the media’s responsibility of content creation accessible to children, the use of modern technology in education, and whether children should be limited in their use of devices.
Evgenia Peeva-Kirova cited various studies according to which, over 90% of Bulgarian children have access to tablets or smartphones every day – regardless of their socioeconomic status. This percentage includes children whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian as well as students who do not have access to quality education and have not developed key skills such as analytical thinking, effective use of information from various sources, and distinguishing between facts and fiction. This increases the risk to come across harmful content or the inability to use the potential of modern technology effectively. Teachers, however, are the ones who can help students use technology for educational purposes.
“Some teachers are already trying to motivate their students by creating Facebook groups which make communication easier or by using other educational apps,” Evgenia Peeva-Kirova gave some examples.
She also added that “there’s a long way to go to train teachers to help students use, analyze, and evaluate online content”.
“Children are born with smartphones and tablets, but no one is teaching them how to use them effectively. We are still only taught how to analyze fiction at school and not how to analyze media and online content,” Teach For Bulgaria’s CEO added.
Jelena Djokovic of the Novak Djokovic Foundation reminded the audience that many children nowadays do not have the necessary social skills and emotional intelligence and are easily distracted. Her organization focuses on providing quality preschool education to every child as a basis for further growth and development.
Erica Bodoshi pointed out that the media plays a big role in making sure that children are able to strike the right balance between the time they spend outdoors and in front of the screen. She gave Nickelodeon as an example – the network stops its programming and shows a black screen with a message to children to go play outside.