Facebook, PH non-profit school expand digital literacy campaign

By Rafi Koteh

Grade school students of non-profit school Mano Amiga Academy Philippines celebrated the “Safer Internet Day” recently by presenting their outputs from Facebook’s pilot program promoting digital literacy. The social media giant partnered last year with Mano Amiga to push the “Think Before You Share” digital literacy campaign in the country.

Photo shows Clair Deevy, head of community affairs for Asia-Pacific at Facebook (red blouse) with Mano Amiga Academy Philippines co-founder Lynn Pinugu (3rd from right) together with some of the teachers

For the event, the students transformed their Paranaque campus classrooms into cybercafes. Through this medium, they showcased their knowledge on topics such as fake news, plagiarism, cyberbullying, and Internet addiction.

Clair Deevy, head of community affairs for Asia-Pacific at Facebook, visited each cafe and complimented the children on their detailed work.

“At Facebook, we have committed to making sure that your experience online and your experience with social media is a good one, and that you learn things and you have fun,” she said.

Deevy emphasized the importance of empathy and critical thinking in digital literacy. She added that Facebook could not create a better Internet environment “unless we work with each of you to make sure you understand how to be respectful, how to discern, and understand what you see online.”

Eleanor “Lynn” Pinugu, co-founder and executive director of Mano Amiga Philippines, elaborated on the program’s impact on the students.

She explained the different activities involved in the program — like workshops, debates, and case studies — and how they were adapted to the interests of the children.

The eight-week program was conducted from November 27, 2017 to January 24, 2018. Originally supposed to be a five-week module, it was extended due to the students’ enthusiasm for the topics.

“Definitely, we are planting the seeds in terms of building users who are critical thinkers,” Pinugu enthused.

More than 60 Grade 7 and 8 Mano Amiga students and their families participated in the program. The idea behind the pilot project was to create ready-to-use modules aligned with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) curriculum in terms of media and digital literacy. From there, it will be scaled to other public schools and low-income communities in the Philippines.

“The inspiring outcome of our pilot program motivates us to continue creating programs that will provide and empower local communities with practical skills needed to thrive in today’s highly digital world,” Pinugu said.

“We are proud to achieve this milestone with Facebook and look forward to further collaborating with them on building education initiatives that create a positive impact.”

Facebook officials with Mano Amiga teachers and students

The digital literacy campaign was launched in the Philippines with the 2017 “Think Before You Share Digital Literacy Summit”. Facebook also held the Safety Education Workshops and a Digital Halo-Halo Hackathon to improve digital literacy in the Philippines.

“We make it our goal to equip these communities with the necessary knowledge and skills that foster safe and respectful interactions online. Our partnership with Mano Amiga Philippines and the success of this pilot program bring us one step closer to our goal and we look forward to continued efforts to promote greater digital literacy among Filipinos,” Deevy said.

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