The Erasmus+ "Look Sharp: deconstructing fake news" project was designed for youth workers who seek to incorporate media literacy skills into their daily work. This project examined the role and impact of fake news in creating prejudices and stereotypical images of vulnerable social groups, such as migrants and refugees. The participants learned how to recognise and break down key terms and ideas for understanding fake news with media literacy principles. The project included a preparatory stage, training course, dissemination and follow-up activities. The training course gathered 37 participants from France, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Netherlands, Romania, Greece, Hungary, Croatia, the UK, Czech Republic and Sweden. It was implemented in Nice, in France between 21-30th of November 2018, by Mitra France NGO.
The media literacy and critical thinking approach in youth work were targeted through non-formal learning what is relevant to Erasmus+ Programme.
The objectives of this project were:
• to provide youth workers with knowledge and competency in media literacy principles;
• to instill skills to use different tools for media content analysis;
• to explore the phenomenon of fake news, both in deconstructing the fake and comprehending the true;
• to develop competences how to work with youth with fewer opportunities;
• to advance non-formal education and cooperation in the field of youth work with EU Programme countries.
The workshops of the training course addressed content analysis by using a non-formal logic approach. This methodology was shaped to respond to the needs of the participants, and to reflect the fast pace of the reality and complexity of European societies.
Activities included presentations, analytical workshops, drone filming session, cultural visit, simulations, hands on workshops, interactive multimedia workshops, debates, collaborative work, brainstorming, energizers, and team building exercises. Individual and group reflection sessions provided the participants an opportunity to reflect on their learning process. The questions and discussion connected media literacy theories to a grassroots youth work. Participants had an opportunity to present their organisations and shared good practices and know-how, met with NGO representatives, and learnt about youth programmes and opportunities for educators in Europe.
The project also addressed the development of the social capital of participants and the development of media literacy competence that can easily be applied by the youth workers in their own activities. It supported personal and professional development of youth workers. Participants engaged in critically thinking about topics such as fake news, media bias, stereotypes, and prejudices.
The participants were trained in media content analysis skills for use in youth organisations and the empowerment of young people. The main result of the project is the level of competence and experiences gained by youth workers. The development of critical thinking contributed to reduce prejudice and promote tolerance for diversity in Europe and beyond. Moreover, the project broadened cultural awareness of trainees and boosted their communication skills.
Participants have created a network for learning and sharing ideas to initiate new activities. They learned how to support participation in public life and integrate people with fewer opportunities into society by promoting non-formal education and building the capacity and quality work in youth organisations.
On the organisational level this project fostered the cooperation of NGOs in the youth field. After the project partners share their gained knowledge and experience on the local, European and international level involving other youth organisations in media literacy projects.