Glasses with the salt of knowledge. Copyright by Private Höhere Lehranstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung Graz-Eggenberg.

Good news instead of fake news

It is important to inform and sensitise young people about the dangers posed by the World Wide Web. Schools also have a role to play here. Promoting the digital skills of students is therefore also particularly important to the Private Secondary School for Agriculture and Nutrition in the Styrian capital.

"Because we are very interested in continuity in the development work in digital competences, we repeatedly carry out corresponding projects at our school," explains Director DI Josef Winter. He heads the Private Höhere Lehranstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung des Schulvereins der Grazer Schulschwestern in the capital of Styria. The school has been an Austrian Ecolabel school since 2009.

Personality development & sense of responsibility. The basis of the teaching work of his pedagogical team are clearly formulated: "We attach importance to a well-founded and future-oriented education as well as to personality formation oriented towards Christian values." And: "We make a significant socio-political contribution by teaching our pupils the value of a sense of responsibility and commitment to other people and to creation."

To be (able to be!) aware of personal responsibility. Today, personal education and the development of a sense of responsibility also include the promotion of digital competences among pupils - in the spirit of the Austrian Ecolabel. Because its criteria provide for the implementation of projects that concern the area of "sustainable consumption and lifestyle" of young people. Sustainability aspects of "digitalisation", pupils as consumers or producers of "social media" should therefore be topics in the lessons at eco-label schools. At the Private Secondary School for Agriculture, this content is strongly present in teaching projects. The focus is always on pointing out the dangers of manipulation, polarisation, radicalisation and misinformation. The importance of education in these areas is increasing more and more. The school's work in these subject areas is therefore extremely important.

Pupils at the labor. Copyright by Private Höhere Lehranstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung Graz-Eggenberg

Debunking Fake News. Therefore, the project "Countering the dangers of virtual echo chambers" was carried out at the secondary school. This was done in cooperation with the Cognitive Science Section of the Graz University of Technology. The focus of the workshop, which lasted several days, was the development of concepts and materials with which the students can learn to take a critical look at the search for and evaluation of information in the World Wide Web. Information evaluation, journalistic-looking "native advertising", manipulative "fake news" and the "filter bubble effect" were analysed and discussed. Afterwards, the students searched for and reflected on information on the topic of "world nutrition" on the web. Important questions were: "How do we search for information? How to evaluate search results? The goal was a holistic search for and evaluation of information. As a result of the workshop, the participants became more purposeful and reflective in their use of social media.

Working at the labor. Copyright by Private Höhere Lehranstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung Graz-Eggenberg

Cybersecurity. Important competences in the digital age are safe behaviour in dealing with information and communication technologies as well as responsible handling of data. To this end, the Karl Franzens University of Graz is working on programming an innovative learning app (motto Digital?Sicher!), the aim of which is to develop young people's cybersecurity and data handling skills in a playful way by means of a technological solution. 32 students of the Private Secondary School for Agriculture and Nutrition were actively involved in the development of this educational game. Statements of the participating pupils on their participation:

"I think the project was very interesting, because we not only learned new topics, but were also allowed to be a part of this app. I also think that we were able to help the project team and bring in a breath of fresh air. I hope that a few ideas will be taken up, that the app will be a success and that children and young people will become more familiar with the dangers on the internet!"

"The aim of the project is to produce, with our help, a finished app for young people on the topic of safe data handling."

"The project consisted a lot of giving feedback, helping, addressing what could be improved, and that was an interesting change, because as a young person you are not usually asked for your opinion so much. Our contact:persons from the university were very sympathetic and treated us with respect; so it was a very successful project."

Classroom. Copyright by Private Höhere Lehranstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung Graz-Eggenberg

Sparkling Science Project is calling! "Right now we are trying to get a Sparkling Science project with relevant content," reports Director DI Josef Winter. The title of this project in cooperation with the University of Graz will be "Agile student-centred design of adaptive digital learning objects for mathematics and computer science in the classroom". Here, too, the focus will be on the development and evaluation of "digital learning objects".

Good News. With all these projects for the training of digital competences, the Private Secondary School for Agriculture and Nutrition in Graz prepares its students very well for a positive use of the World Wide Web. Fake news will then have a much harder time ...