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A teenage hackathon creates solutions for media literacy

How to make the most in a creative way while maintaining their security and that of others on the Internet? The answers to these questions will be looked for by 17 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 in an online hackathon: “Digital Media Literacy Solutions: My Right to an Opinion” on May 9, 2020.

The hackathon is part of the project “Academy for Teenagers: My Right to an Opinion”, implemented by UNICEF and the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria in partnership with Teen Station and the Media Literacy Coalition. The prizes for all participants in the hackathon are provided by VIVACOM, and the partner for its holding is Rezonator, a hub/center for shared innovations.

The participants in the hackathon were selected through a competition in which they presented their hobbies and interests through various media: from stories with photos, through podcasts, videos and text. To prepare for the competition, the students had the manual “My right to an opinion. Creating content for social networks ”, which was also prepared within the project. Some of the participants also underwent live trainings, which took place throughout the country. So far, more than 100 students between the ages of 14 and 18 have went through the training series.

Competition “My right to an opinion! My causes on social networks “- the winners

The hackathon comes at a time when much of students’ daily lives happens in the digital world. Now more than ever, they need digital media literacy skills to make the most of its information and opportunities. How to teach the teenagers the necessary skills, how to learn while having fun? The answer to these questions will be sought by the teenagers themselves, prepared by experts in various fields: video production, podcasts, digital marketing and gamification, online applications. The starting point of the project’s creators is that the opinion of teenagers should be placed in the center of attention when it comes to topics concerning their lives. That is why the project focuses on this fundamental right of children and young people – the right to an opinion.

Through teenage emotions, interests and perspectives, the project will present solutions to increase media literacy, which will then seek support from technology and communication companies. The teenagers are divided into 5 teams and each team will present their concept to a jury from different companies, that will decide what kind of support to provide them. In this way, the project brings together businesses and young people to develop media literacy skills of the new generation.

Before the start of the hackathon, the participants already had the opportunity to get acquainted virtually and build skills for teamwork in an online environment. During the first session, which took place on April 25 in the platform of webinaria.eu, the students were presented with a number of online activities through which they built their teams in an informal and fun environment. According to the moderators Martin Nedelchev and Emilia Popova, this is a very difficult but inspiring endeavor and to a large extent its success is due to the serious and responsible attitude of the young people. On the morning of April 26, the teams presented themselves to their mentors, followed by lectures by experts in digital marketing (Petar Neftelimov), video documentaries (Martin Grahovski), gamification (Iglika Ivanova) and podcasts (Balin Balinov).

In the next two weeks, the dedicated teams had the opportunity to consider their innovative proposals for digital solutions in support of media literacy, together with their mentors, and on the day of the hackathon, May 9, they will develop them according to the task and prepare short, inspiring presentations about their conceptual projects. The official announcement of the winners and awarding, thanks to the partners of the Hackathon (VIVACOM), will take place in person when the situation allows it. Thus, the Teenage Academy completes a series of activities aimed at preparing a more powerful and confident generation in the digital world.

Who we are

UNICEF operates in 190 countries and territories. We save children’s lives. We stand up for their rights. We help them realize their potential. And we never give up. Because we believe that every child and young person has the right to live, prosper and develop their full potential – for a better world. Because we are UNICEF – for every child!

You will find us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and on our website

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The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria is a member of the International Association of European Journalists (www.aej.org). It supports critical journalism in the process of European integration and freedom of information and the media. AEJ offers journalists the opportunity to be part of a professional social network. The Association is an independent observer in the Media Committee of the Council of Europe.

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Resonator is a shared innovation hub that aims to strengthen the spirit of cooperation between different areas – both in the tech sector and those outside of it. The center brings small and large businesses together with subject experts, experimenters and artists to create a new product, service or innovation together.

Resonator promotes educational and practical work in a number of areas. The space provides access on a subscription basis to various laboratories equipped with high-end technology, electronics, etc., as well as to training related to them. In addition to the ability to create rapid prototyping to develop new products (fast prototyping), Resonator visitors are free to experiment with technology/devices and interact with enthusiasts from other disciplines.

Resonator is located on an area of ​​nearly 800 sq.m. in the former tobacco factory next to the Russian Monument in the capital and has meeting and training halls for adults as well as for children and adolescents.

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You certainly know VIVACOM as one of the telecom operators in Bulgaria, which provide mobile services, internet and television, as well as a wide variety of smartphones, tablets, headphones and other smart “gadgets”. But our job is much more than that! The world of technology is vast and very exciting – and something new appears every day. Be it a camera on an AI phone for even more awesome photos or virtual and augmented reality glasses for an amazing gaming experience – we’re in it.

You will be surprised to learn that we play an important role even for the “talking” public transport stops, which help you arrive on time for school or for meeting with friends. This is a small part of the amenities of the “smart cities” that we develop together with our partners. Technologies have an increasing function in our lives, and we at VIVACOM try to show and explain them in accessible language.

View our profiles on the social networks Instagram and Facebook. We hope that there you will find inspiration for the stories you will create in the competition “My right to an opinion! My causes on social media”. The best ones will be published in our profiles and can reach an audience of nearly 300,000 people. Your copyright is guaranteed. Your opinion and view of the world is important to us – show it to us.

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Teen Station is an independent media that unites students from all over the country. We talk and listen, read and write, take pictures of ourselves and everything around us. We tell stories, share our favorite music, record podcasts on various topics, line up galleries with exciting shots… See us, hear us, and you can become part of us.

The various podcasts of Teen Station reach hundreds of regular listeners on popular platforms such as: Spotify, Soundcloud, Mixcloud. There are several thousand unique visits per month on our website teenstation.net. The network of schools and students that join our team is constantly growing. Besides Sofia, we have active authors in Plovdiv, Ruse, Blagoevgrad, Smolyan. The results will be reflected on the Teen Station website and social media pages

The Media Literacy Coalition brings together organizations in the field of education, journalism and civic participation, academics and media literacy experts. The coalition works for the full integration of media literacy in the educational process and increasing media literacy in society.