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INFORMATION MATTERS – Enhancing Adults Digital and Media Literacy to Fight the ‘Infodemic’

Project name:
INFORMATION MATTERS

Implementation period:
11.2022 – 10.2024

Summary:
The project aims to address the challenges and consequences of misinformation by developing educational tools for elderly people to increase their digital and media literacy competencies.

The INFORMATION MATTERS project launched at the end of 2022, is implemented with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, under key activity KA2 – Partnerships for Cooperation in Adult Education.

The role of the mass media, as well as that of social networks, has always been key in the management of information data – whether related to social, cultural, health, or civic issues. However, when observing examples from the last few years, it is visible how exactly these sources of information are also related to practices of spreading misinformation and denying scientific literature (The Twitter pandemic: The critical role of Twitter in the dissemination of medical information and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosenberg H, Syed S, Rezaie S). The World Health Organization has announced that the “infodemic” surrounding COVID-19 has spread as fast as the virus itself – through conspiracy theories, rumors, and cultural stigma.

Misinformation and fake news are a significant problem, generating confusion and uncertainty among the population. Among the countless victims of misinformation are mainly the elderly, who often live in remote or isolated environments, whose access to information is mainly through conventional media and now also through digital social platforms and applications. In addition, a 2019 study by researchers at Princeton University and New York University found that people 65 and older were seven times more likely to share fake news themselves than those aged 18-29. As highlighted in the European Commission’s Horizon research and innovation journal, “Improving communication for vulnerable communities in particular has become a race against time.” And since the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, as well as the type of information published, cannot be controlled, the only aspect that seems tame is people’s media and digital literacy.

Media literacy looks at the media as a whole and how it can influence our perceptions of reality. Digital literacy focuses on understanding how digital media tools such as social media platforms, websites and apps interact with society as a whole. In short, media literacy is the ability to evaluate, analyze and understand media messages in all forms with a critical eye, while digital literacy helps people navigate an increasingly online world.

The INFORMATION MATTERS project partners will work to address the challenges and consequences of misinformation by developing educational tools for elderly people to increase their digital and media literacy competencies. To address the aforementioned needs and challenges related to this specific target group, the project will focus on:

  • The development of video tutorials for adult users 55+ on various aspects of media and digital literacy.
  • Training a group of adult trainers – which will focus on how to effectively engage in building media and digital literacy of elderly people. Participants in the training will be experts who traditionally interact with elderly people (librarians, employees in local information offices, etc.).
  • Dissemination of the project results on a European level in order to ensure their wider application.

On the fulfillment of the project, GLBF cooperates with four partner organizations: European Association for Viewers’ Interests (Belgium) and PR Care (Bulgaria), as well as two more that are experienced in professional and personal training – BEST Institute (Austria) and CREFOP Foundation (Romania).

The project’s duration is 24 months, its budget is 250 000, 00 EUR, and it is implemented through the financial support of the Erasmus + programme of the EU.

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