DIGITALKIDZ®: OPEN SOURCE SCHOOL: THE RESPONSIBILITY OF RAISING CHILDREN OF THE DIGITAL AGE

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Ivelina Atanasova, founder of DigitalKidZ®: Open source School Ivelina Atanasova, founder of DigitalKidZ®: Open source School

The Internet is everywhere, but with its zillions of opportunities for education, personal development, entertainment, come as well thousands of dangers. Children are particularly vulnerable in this environment, and need guidance and education in order to navigate skilfully in the Internet, while avoiding the underwater rocks.

The DigitalKidZ Foundation has devoted itself to the task and to the transformation of Bulgarian education in unison with the 21st century competences in order to guarantee quality and free education to every child. Its founder Ivelina Atanasova tells more.

Why it is important for children to be digitally literate from the earliest age possible?

Modern children are "digital," because they do not know the world before high technologies. They acquire an online identity even before they are born, when their parents announce on the social networks that they are expecting.

Children register in social networks at the age of 8-9. Over 80 percent of them lie about their age online to access forbidden content. This necessitates the modernising of the methods of their education. As responsible parents and society, it is important for us to teach our children cyber hygiene since an earliest possible age. The Internet is everywhere. Children have to be taught how to use it safely and responsibly. The improvement of digital literacy is also one of the main goals of DigitalKidZ Foundation.

How DigitalKidZ®: Open Source School combines this with emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the skill to recognise and effectively manage our emotions. It makes a person complete. We, in DigitalKidZ®: Open Source School, believe that before teaching children digital literacy and giving them access to the Internet, we first should have create them as strong and steady personalities with clear values, who know their desires and boundaries, and know how to uphold them. Only then they will be resistant to potential cyber crimes and the dangers of the Net. Emotional intelligence includes the skills of critical thinking, the ability to say "no," to think in perspective, to uphold yourself. We teach teachers, parents and children how this can become a fact.

Recently, we released DigitalKidZ ® Imagination, the first of its kind active educational game for development of children's emotional intelligence, their imagination, the skill for team work and communication, and improves their inner motivation to studying. You will find it on the Foundation's website.

What receive the participants in your educational programmes?

DigitalKidZ®: Open Source School prepares children with the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century. This is also our long-term goal: the transformation of Bulgarian education in accordance with the competences of the 21st century. We achieve this with the creation of educational tools, methodologies and programmes.

We work with children aged 4-16, teachers, parents and the socially responsible business that wants to create innovations and to develop in unison with modernity. We focus on natural sciences, technologies, engineer disciplines, art and mathematics, known as STEAM sciences, which are the basis of all "professions of future."

The DigitalKidZ®: Open Source School conferences are already a tradition. What are the topics of the 6th instalment, on 18 November 2017?

This year we focus on the "21st century skills" and teaching them, and on aggression at school and its online roots. We organise a round table and thematic workshops with American and Finnish experts. The conference is suitable for teachers and responsible parents. Tickets are already available on www.digitalkidz.eu. The places in the workshops are limited.

www.digitalkidz.eu

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