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RGU academic awarded funding for animated web series on digital literacy and online safety for youngsters

Dr Konstantina Martzoukou has created educational online resources for young people
Dr Konstantina Martzoukou has created educational online resources for young people

An Aberdeen lecturer has been awarded funding to develop a web series for librarians and teachers to help young people.

Konstantina Martzoukou, a teaching excellence fellow at the Robert Gordon University’s school of creative and cultural business, will create a resource to promote digital literacy.

The Maddie is Online project will provide activities and lesson plans which can be used in schools.

It has been boosted by more than £9,300 funding from the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Ms Martzoukou said the resources will help schools to support pupils and make them aware of the challenges they could face when using the internet.

She added: “The series was started to explore issues surrounding young children’s development of digital literacy as the online citizens of tomorrow. Young people are growing up online with a range of new social technologies but still need to master the guiding principles of online society and develop resilience in the online environment.

“Teachers, librarians and parents can play an important role in supporting children within the everyday life context to become digital citizens: informed, active, ethical, safe and responsible members of the online society.”

Engaging with children

Maddie is Online is an animated web series that uses real voice actors and covers several topics on online connectivity and safety. The videos can be incorporated into different lessons and used to start a conversation with children in the classroom and at home.

Ms Martzoukou continued: “In order to engage younger children in these issues, it is important to offer learning opportunities, which are interesting and relate to their everyday life online experiences.

“Previous research has found that there are diverse challenges and opportunities created in the online everyday life context as children (as young as five years old) are now using a wide range of social media enabled online tools for messaging, video sharing and online gaming to connect with others, learn and experiment.”

The project will now be shared through workshops in selected schools across Scotland and the funding will go towards creating new episodes.

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