The Object – Lens 21 project has brought up topics and skills that do not have enough space (or none) in the education and are very important at the same time. The Young Reporters for the Environment program teaches young people to pay attention to problems in the place where they live, together with those who are competent to find solutions and introduce them to local audiences through media.
The main activity of the project was to create methodologies for teachers that will help them better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, the problem of waste or the flood of hoaxes and misinformation in the media. We wanted to help pupils and students who enjoy writing articles, taking photos or shooting videos with manuals for creating reportage articles, photos and videos, which they will be able to rely on when creating reports on local environmental problems. The second goal of the project was to increase the number of schools involved in the Young Reporters for the Environment program, to attract promising environmental reporters to the program and to work on the development of the YRE Slovakia brand.
The planned activities also included a 5-day reporter mission in the White Carpathians, with full-day field trips and subsequent processing of media outlets, through which participants get acquainted with the specifics of management in protected areas. The last planned activity of the project was a conference with the aim of presenting the outputs of the project to teachers (methodological materials for teachers and reporters and exchange of experiences), with the opening of a traveling exhibition of photographs on the Young Reporters for the Environment program.
After a challenging spring of 2020, we managed to carry out one of the highlights of the project in July – the White Carpathian Mission of Young Reporters. 15 participants gained a lot of new knowledge and skills in 5 days and published dozens of statuses on social networks and 5 articles on the Young Reporters website.
An online learning platform has been set up, where teachers will find a theoretical part, explanations of concepts and links to resources, video and 6-7 activities for each topic. Manual 21 contains a total of 5 videos and 32 educational activities, with methodological sheets and worksheets. 6 activities are in “online” form, also suitable for distance learning (we adapted to the situation as we went). The videos briefly explain the topic, followed by a section where the activist explains the topic from a practical example on the basis of a practical example. Lucia Szabová of the Concerned Mothers initiative introduced the topic of climate change, Zuzana Vakošová, co-founder of Zero Waste Trenčín, presented the concept of Zero Waste, Martina Paulíková from o.z. Slatinka shared her experience with spatial planning and Richard Medal told the story of how the citizens of Trenčín saved the natural area near Váh in the centre of Trenčín from concreting plans. In the last fifth video, a group of students called Zelenáči spod Znieva described how they managed – step by step – to complete a pedestrian crossing in Kláštor pod Znievom.
An important part of the project was the development of practical manuals for beginners as well as advanced environmental reporters. They contain information about the technical equipment of the reporter, the procedure for processing the report, the methodology of four steps (examine – design a solution – create a report – breadth), examples of successful contributions from the past with a jury commentary on the basics of journalistic ethics, a section on misinformation and hoaxes and other useful tips.
TOP MOMENT FROM THE PROJECT:
We, the whole team , worked very hard on the project, because we felt a sense of meaning that we are helping teachers and young people who want to change their surroundings for the better. We experienced strong moments at the White Carpathian Mission, where after an all-day demanding program, the participants created reporter outputs until late in the evening and immediately heard (also critical) feedback from the lecturers. The afternoon was most memorable for the participants when they exchanged the cameras for rakes and helped in the Krivoklátská valley protected area. We had amazing feelings after the OBJEKTívne21 conference, which took place without a single mistake and the participants spoke about it in superlatives. However, the most beautiful experience and feeling of satisfaction came only on Earth Day, when we received the ATLAS enviroaward in the Enlightenment category for the activities implemented within the Object – Lens 21 project (out of 78 nominated projects).
Feedback form after the White Carpathian Mission:
“This mission was a wonderful experience for me. It has moved me a little further in my previous knowledge and skills. I met a pleasant group of young people, spent a busy week full of program and reporter’s practice and enjoyed the atmosphere around the White Carpathians. I would only tell all those interested that they do not hesitate for a moment and go for it. They will not regret it. ”(Ľudka Slivová, 17-year-old Young Reporter)
From Zuzana Čaputová’s speech to the participants of the OBJEKTívne21 conference:
“I am pleased that through Young Reporters you are becoming a committed citizen. I know from personal experience that this often encounters misunderstandings. The road to the result you want may take longer than you originally thought, but trust me, your perseverance makes sense. ”
Online Review of Manual 21 – Teaching for the 21st Century
“Manual 21 is super written, imaginative, I also sent it to colleagues, I hope it will interest them as well. I appreciate good reworking, tools, methodical sheets, quizzes. The connection of current topics related to our lifestyle, climate change, and civic participation with teaching is very good, it can also be done in the online space, which I also appreciate. Excellent are also introductions to problems, videos with interesting people. I plan to use it in ethical education as well as in Slovak language lessons. It can also be used in various activities of the Green School, so it can also be used in the activities of the Green School Day and Young Reporters. ”(Mgr. Eva Bežáková, Gymnázium Dubnica nad Váhom)