Liechtenstein’s schools put more and more effort into teaching pupils media competencies. It’s a challenge but also an opportunity.

Today, digitalization starts at a very young age. Whereas those currently in charge of business, government, and science have mostly grown up without smartphones, social media, and instant chatting, the new generation will be exposed to digital technologies from early childhood. That’s a huge opportunity, but it’s also a huge challenge.

Liechtenstein’s department for schooling (“Schulamt”) organized the 5th pedagogical dialogue, which had to take place in a virtual environment because of the pandemic. About 130 teachers, school directors, and government officials exchanged their ideas about digital media competency.

Media competency is key to an informed citizenry

With the theme “Fact or Fake” the workshop was about dealing with information in the digital age. To grow an informed citizenry, Liechtenstein’s children should learn at an early age how to filter the information they receive through all sorts of digital media on a daily basis. The media researcher Dr. Bernhard Pörsken from the Univesity of Tuebingen explains that information travels much faster today than it used to, but the truth still travels slowly.

“More information doesn’t make us more informed, but it often makes us less informed,” says Pörsken. The internet comes with a whole arsenal of tools to spread misinformation, willingly or unwillingly, to manipulate people’s opinions and trigger people’s anger and desires. Prösken believes school teachers today play a key role in strengthing children’s media competency to tackle misinformation.

Liechtenstein’s schools provide digital education, but not enough

Prösken also spoke favorably of Liechtenstein’s initiavtie LiLe. The new curriculum ensures that pupils in Liechtenstein’s schools receive sufficient IT and media competencies to succeed in the digital world. Likewise, Arnold Kind, director of the department of schooling, is confident in Liechtenstein’s curriculum. “I welcome the technological change because I know that we teach the right way to deal with digitalization in our schools,” says Kind.

And indeed, schools in Liechtenstein are digitally andvanced compared to their European neighbors. A pilot project in a school in Triesenberg equipped pupils with mobile tablets and notebooks. There are also workshops in schools teaching kids how to deal with digital media, and the new curriculum includes more focus on digitalization.

One additional factor Liechtenstein’s schools may want to think about is teaching digital entrepreneurship. It has never been as easy to start a business as today. However, schools still do relatively little to teach kids entrepreneurial skills or knowledge. The real lever to accelerate digitalization will be how businesses use technological tools to develop new ideas that benefit the user. That is the key role of entrepreneurs, and that should also become part of the curriculum.

Image: ©Shutterstock