How do we engage with teachers to promote creativity and critical thinking in the education system (e.g., social media literacy skills)?

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Problem-Solution Template

The problem-solution sets provide a method to detail everything needed to galvanize support for addressing a critical problem facing an NGO or grass roots organization.

Summary of the Problem:

The educational system in Romania emphasizes memorization and rote learning; teachers do not encourage students to think creatively or exercise critical thinking skills. This makes it difficult for people to get informed and make the correct decisions based on the information that is available to them in the media, etc.

Summary of the Proposed Solution:

Target audience: High school students Key stakeholders: Libraries and high school teachers

Libraries have pre-existing partnerships with local schools. Therefore, the libraries can collaborate with teachers to develop custom curricula that incorporate critical thinking, creativity, and multimedia. Librarians and teachers can work together to develop lessons and after-school activities for each subject (history, writing, etc.).

This initiative has two main components: after-school programs at the libraries, and the integration of multimedia resources into the classroom.

The after-school programs should use interactive projects and technology to encourage students how to think independently. Potential activities (depending on the subject) include: • Independent research: o Share a list of resources for finding information about a subject o Teach students how to conduct research on electronic databases o Teach students how to do research online and determine the reliability of a source • Games and competitions o Strategic board games o Computer-based games • Debates o Host debates between teams of students about topics including democracy, civil rights, etc. • Writing or contributing to a Wikipedia page • Creative writing assignments

The libraries should also work with teachers to develop multimedia that can be used in the classes, such as PowerPoint presentations and videos. This would allow teachers to leverage the technology available in libraries in their own classrooms.

As an extra incentive to participate, the libraries should provide teachers with a certificate of “proof of collaboration.” These types of certificates are very important for Romanian teachers’ CVs and will make their engagement seem worthwhile.


Existing solutions or relevant links:

What other potential information could help the technologists working on the idea?

This program would follow a similar model to the American Corner workshops on social media and online privacy, which were done in collaboration with local schools.

The Choices Program through Brown University also provides an interesting example for incorporating critical thinking and technology into the teaching of history: http://choices.edu/


Follow-on Actions:

• Leverage the professional development system for teachers to spread ideas and best practices from this initiative • Libraries should follow-up with teachers to see if they are continuing to use the concepts and tools from the intiative


Relevant Contacts

  • Camilla Hawthorne - Radio Free Europe - HawthorneC@rferl.org
  • Oana Jianu - American Corner Bacau - oanajianu04@yahoo.com
  • Geta Dodu - American Corner Cluj - georgeta.dodu@gmail.com
  • Doina Dumitriu - Librarian, Biblioteca Onesti / BACAU - dumitriu_2_na@yahoo.com

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