24 July 2023

DisinformACTION - conclusions of the school workshops in Bucharest, Romania


DisinformACTION! - Counter Climate Change Disinformation through youth E-participation is a 24-month project implemented by a consortium of 4 organizations (GEYC - Romania, RESOPA - France, MiHi - Latvia and EuroMuevete - Spain) with the general objective of fostering the ability of young people to identify online climate change disinformation and misinformation, while at the same time encouraging them to become active citizens in their local communities when it comes to issues related to climate and environment.

In the period January - June 2023, the 4 organizations partenered up with schools in their region and organized workshops with students aged 15-19 years old, based on the previously developed Climate Change Ambassadors Methodology. The workshops aimed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to identify and counter misinformation and disinformation surrounding climate change, while also empowering them to find their voice and stand up for issues related to climate change.

The workshops were conducted using an interactive and participatory approach and covered the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Critical online citizens
  • Chapter 2: Effective online communication
  • Chapter 3: Climate Change Ambassadors
  • Chapter 4: Digital tools for e-participation

The workshops were delivered by experienced facilitators who combined their expertise on the topics with pedagogical skills. The sessions were designed to be interactive, fostering active student participation. The delivery approach included several non-formal education methods, among which:

a. Engaging multimedia presentations to convey information effectively.

b. Group discussions to encourage critical thinking and knowledge sharing. c. Hands-on activities to enhance understanding and application of concepts, as well as different digital tools.

d. icebreakers and team building activities

e. debates, simulations

Workshops in Romania

In Romania we had the support of 2 schools from Bucharest, Colegiul Economic Viilor and Liceul Teoretic Alexandru Ioan Cuza and we reached 191 students from 6 classes.

In order to be able to measure the impact, we applied pre and post surveys with questions meant to measure the level of knowledge of the students before and after the workshops.

  • They had to rate several statements from 1, which is ‘Strongly Disagree’ to 5, which is ‘Strongly Agree", some of them being:
I feel confident expressing my views online.
If I wasn’t sure a story was true, and I wanted to share it, I’d fact check it first.
I often seek out views and opinions that differ from my own online.
I know how to identify a social media post, article or website that is designed to emotionally manipulate people.
I understand why it’s important to consult different media sources.
I think disinformation regarding climate change is very dangerous and affects the global efforts to combat the climate crisis.
We could observe a general increase in their confidence expressing their views online, for example, or identifying an article or piece of news that is designed to emotionally manipulate people, as a result of the workshops.
  • Do you know the difference between misinformation and disinformation? - compared with the 26% of responses in the pre survey which correctly defined the two concepts, an increase in the understanding of the two concepts could be identified; in the post surveys, 54% of the responses correctly defined the concepts, at least partially;
  • They were asked if they feel like they understood more about how to identify and counter climate change disinformation by the end of the workshop, to which they responded:
Blue - I understood everything, Red - I mostly understood, Yellow - I understood little
  • 1They were asked if they will behave differently online as a result of the workshops, to which they responded:
Blue - Yes; Red - no; Yellow - Maybe; Green - I don't know

  • Finally, the majority of the respondents (79%) stated that the digital tools introduced during the workshop were very useful, and the one that they will use in the future for other projects is Canva.

Next up, teachers are going to be trained to apply the methodology with their students, so keep an eye out on the call!