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T. Mølster

Hedmark University College (NORWAY)
In a world characterized by growing social, political and environmental crises, the school is challenged to take greater responsibility than ever in forming new citizens. However, many students experience the current teaching of citizenship as irrelevant and pointless. Researchers claim that citizenship education is too focused on facts and democratic systems. They argue that education has to change from teaching citizenship to learning democracy and that school should become an arena for dialog and discussion between students. The RIGHTS project (pRomotIng Global citizensHip education Through digital Storytelling) has addressed these challenges by implementing a didactic methodology for citizenship education based on Digital Storytelling (DS). It is a two-year (2011-2013) Comenius project co-funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Program. The target group is teachers and learners in secondary school aging from 12 to 16 years. The RIGHTS methodology encourages both teachers and students to approach Global Citizenship in a creative and interactive way. A basic assumption is that allowing students to have a voice and to actively participate in democracy is a powerful way to support their development to become active citizens. At the same time they develop transversal key competences such as digital, social and civic competences and cultural awareness.

Among the project outcomes is an e-course for teachers and digital stories created by learners and teachers in the seven partner countries Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway. Nearly 150 teachers participated in the experimentation and more than 150 digital stories were created.

Feedback from the teachers and analysis of student stories indicate that the RIGHTS didactic methodology has a promising effect on the way global citizenship is understood and taught in school. Students create different kinds of stories than they do in more traditional teaching, stories in which they express their personal opinions and feelings about a chosen topic. There is reason to believe that global citizenship is perceived more relevant to students when they can relate it to their own life experiences.