Parents International participated in two very interesting meetings that were organised back-to-back, both highlighting the importance of engaging parents in all aspects of the digital activities of their children and the need to support parents in their role as the people responsible to provide children with the right education and protect their rights. The DigiLitEY Think Tank met in Brussels on 12 February for the last time to summarise our work and finalise our final output, material to support parents. The Council of Europe started a new Working Group in order to develop guidelines for school-industry partnerships in using digital technology in education and the first meeting was on 13 February in Paris.
The DigiLitEY Think Tank revisited the process both the project and the Think Tank has been through. The final touches to the parent supportive material are being done in these days leading up to the final conference of the project on 7/8 March 2019 in Manchester, and we will share it as soon as the visual artists finish their work. It will be available in English, Romanian and Hungarian as a start, but in case anybody is interested in providing another translation, we are happy to put it in the same visual format in the future. The material will target parents of children aged 0-8, and will implement an inclusive and pro-digital-use approach, emphasising the importance of parental advice and support to establish healthy and safe practices.
We were also invited to offer a list of topics for further research in the field of digital practices of children aged 0-8 as a basis for a potential next project or programme. As always, the parent-related future research agenda had a holistic, lifelong learning approach, taking into account the blurring boundaries between online and offline practices. Topics suggested included the child rights aspects with special focus on non-age-restricted rights, links between bullying in general and cyberbullying, topics that need to be ‘digitalised’: parental engagement in children’s learning, acquiring skills for life, learning through play – joy, collaboration, iteration, creativity, interactivity, early digital gap, role of English and right to mother tongue.
In the Council of Europe Working Group we have pursued the same approach and had the agreement of research, policy and also industry partners in it. We have done a substantial amount of work towards developing guidelines, and will continue it until the next meeting of the working group at the beginning of May.