From 29 till 31 of August, the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) participated in the Second National Innovation in Education and Cognitive Development Forum in the city Burgas – an event attended by over 150 teachers, university professors and education experts. The SIC representative Luiza Shahbazyan presented the prevention of online child abuse through learning and empowerment – a major shift in the traditional approach focusing on fear and victimization. She acquainted the participants with the “Real and Virtual Violence: Prevention by Interactive Education in School” educational programme of SIC which has been implemented in more than 70 schools in 3 cities in the country with the support of the Swiss Oak Foundation and the Safer Internet Programme of the European Commission.
The Innovation in Education and Cognitive Development Forum was organized by the Association for Education and Technology, supported by Microsoft Bulgaria, the Municipality of Burgas, the Burgas University and the Burgas Regional Educational Inspectorate. The participants discussed new developments in the areas of education management, pedagogy and psychology, teaching methodology and project-oriented education, among others.
A number of participants presented online learning tools which made clear that e-learning is being embraced by more and more educators. However, this trend raised concerns about the online threats children face and how to prepare them to be responsible digital citizens and use ICTs in a safer way. To support educators and children in this novel developmental task, SIC has designed and is being currently implementing a number of projects. One of these, which is being supported by Varna Municipality, aims to enhance the digital competency of young people through online distance learning. 80 high school students signed in to participate in the pilot phase of the online training course.
All forum participants were welcome to learn more about SIC initiatives at its information stand. Hundreds of booklets and brochures were distributed, as well as bracelets and stickers that promote SIC services. For children there were educational games to play while learning basic online safety rules.
The forum was broadcast live on the Internet by Teacher.bg, a network for teachers – innovators maintained by Kabinata.com – a renowned innovative IT company member of the Public Council on Safer Internet Use – the advisory board to the SIC of Bulgaria.