For the first time “What, Where, How?” – a remarkable experience for students passionate about media education

30 primary school students from the Republic of Moldova tested their knowledge in the field of media education within the intellectual competition “What, Where, How?” The event took place in the context of Media Education Week and was organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC), in partnership with DW Akademie, on November 2, 2023 in Chisinau.

In her opening remarks, Ina Prisacariu, Director for Strategic Development at IJC, greeted the participants in the competition, “Each of you is a winner. Regardless of the results you will get today, we would like you to remember this contest as a beautiful day of vacation, where you worked, but also had a fun time!”

10 teams participated at the “What, Where, How ?” competition , each consisting of three members (3rd, 4th and 5th grade students), who studied or are studying this year the optional course Media Education. Randomly, these teams are:

  1. Reason from the Sircova Gymnasium, Rezina district
  2. Ingenious 1 from the Corjova Gymnasium, Criuleni district
  3. Scholars from the Cismichioi Theoretical Lyceum, ATU Gagauzia
  4. Thinkers from Alexandru Ioan Cuza Theoretical Lyceum, Chisinau municipality
  5. Innovators from Onisifor Ghibu Theoretical Lyceum, Orhei municipality
  6. The Curious from Vasile Alecsandri Theoretical Lyceum, Calarasi city
  7. Bees from Merenii Noi Gymnasium-Kindergarten, Merenii Noi village, Anenii Noi district
  8. Ingenious 2 from M. Sadoveanu Theoretical Lyceum, Hincesti district.
  9. Explorers from Tudor Strisca Theoretical Lyceum, Satul Nou village, Cimislia district
  10. WORDinaries from Alexandru Ioan Cuza Theoretical Lyceum, Chisinau municipality

The competition was held in three stages. At the first stage, the participants had to prepare an argumentative text to the question Why is it necessary to study Media Education in school?”

The Scholars team associated Media Education with “a wide-open window through which I get to know the world better,” and the WORDinaries team compared it to “a flower, being also the most exciting subject in school.” The Explorers team members mentioned that this optional course is very valuable to them because it “teaches them to be friendly and understanding.” “For example, if a child with disabilities comes to a class, we should not offend him, but befriend him, support him and help him,” they explained.

Media Education helps the Bees team “to distinguish truth from lies and challenges them to new discoveries in the field of mass media,” and it helps the Curious team “to know the forms of communication, curious facts about newspapers and magazines, what is the Internet, in general.” The Innovators acknowledged that “studying Media Education takes a lot of time and patience,” and the Reason team members acknowledged that the subject teaches them “many useful things, including how to behave in social media.” The two other teams, Ingenious 1 and Ingenious 2, tried to convince the jury members that Media Education contributes to their personal development. The representatives of the two Ingenious teams said, “it teaches us to communicate better and behave kindly, to be smart in the online environment, to know how to use gadgets and new technologies,” “to figure it out then we’re talking to a troll or to identify fake news. This course also helps us to discover modern inventions and find out which applications we can use to better absorb content from other subjects.”

“Media Education develops our critical thinking. This course helps us browse the Internet safely. Study Media Education!” was the urging of the Thinkers team, who addressed the children to “always be with the Media Education / Mediacritica portal, which is a useful source of information, study and communication in the online environment.”

In the second stage, the participants answered, against the clock, a set of flash questions, inspired by the content of the Media Education textbook for primary school.

The third stage was an exciting and creative one. During this round, the team members selected, at their choice, three different objects made available (e.g.: laptop, emoticon, phone, umbrella, key, microphone, speaker, remote control, flashlight, glasses, diary, pen, etc.), with which they had the task of creating a short story related to the optional course of Media Education. Each team had 30 minutes to invent their own story.

At this stage, the children let their imagination run wild, managing to create original stories, with a lot of meaning and truth, addressing the public through the three “heroes” – the objects they chose.

The jury members evaluated the performance of the teams at each stage, taking into account the correctness of the answers, agility, promptness, ingenuity, creativity and coherence of the students’ expression. Based on the accumulated points, the jury named three winning teams for the first, second and third places, which received diplomas and valuable prizes, as follows:

1st place – Bees team, Merenii Noi Gymnasium-Kindergarten, Merenii Noi village, Anenii Noi district

2nd place – Thinkers team, Al. I. Cuza Lyceum, Chisinau

3rd place – Scholars team, Cismichioi Lyceum, Cismichioi village, ATU Gagauzia

The members of the other participating teams also received diplomas and incentive awards.

The Media Education teachers who accompanied and encouraged the students throughout the competition, appreciated the idea of this competition.

Angela Suhin, teacher at the Gymnasium-Kindergarten from Merenii Noi village, Anenii Noi district

The competition exceeded our expectations. It was very well organized, and the quiz questions managed to point out and develop essential things, which are very important for the world we live in – the world of technology, where everything is taking us by storm. I am glad that the students did very well. We are the lucky ones, who go home with the 1st place. Such competitions like this help children to be more responsible in the online space and more critical of the information they interact with.

Silvia Cricovan, teacher at Al. I. Cuza Lyceum, Chisinau

The 5th grade students, to whom I taught Media Education last year, participated with great interest in the competition. It is a discipline that develops their critical thinking, teaches them to read information differently and analyze it critically, and helps them to be able to express their opinions. This competition is an additional argument that Media Education is worth and must be studied in school, because it helps them to form their personality.

Olga Bozbei, teacher at Cismichioi Lyceum, ATU Gagauzia

The children showed a great desire and interest to participate in this competition. We have prepared with a lot of dedication, and today’s result – third place – is the fruit of our work. We will gladly participate in other editions.

The competition is organized within the project “Strengthening of media and information literacy (MIL) in the Republic of Moldova: Piloting the integrative approach in formal education”, implemented by the IJC in partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


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