Banning access to social-media sites to prevent children from seeing unsuitable or age-inappropriate material is not the answer and is counter-intuitive, according to Ciaran McCormack of Eurocreator, a pan-European platform for sharing digital media that aims to inspire creativity amongst school goers.
Online social-media sites, McCormack said, are just as suitable for positive, educational purposes that can be fun for students and, as a byproduct, can also create teaching resources for sharing online.
Eurocreator launched recently and is a YouTube for education because, aside from encouraging kids to create their own media, it is also moderated and gives constructive feedback on the creations submitted, McCormack said.
“It has the full functionality of YouTube, but the big difference is that not a single piece goes live before it is moderated, and Eurocreator has teamed up with the EU Commissioner, Jean Segal, to give this constructive feedback, as well as certification from Eurocreator,” he explained.
Although Eurocreator – fully supported by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) – has only been running for just two months, already over 400 educational institutes have signed up.
“It is already hugely successful in Ireland because it ties in so well to all that’s happening; YouTube is banned in most schools around the country because its content is not moderated,” McCormack said.
Eurocreator’s popularity is, in part, down to the fact that its content does not live on the main site alone – it can be easily embedded into blogs and social-networking sites just like YouTube, and it is also triple-coded so it can be shared across and viewed on almost all mobile handsets too.
One of the best things about Eurocreator, McCormack said, is the misdirection of education: while they’re busy having fun, kids are learning without realising it.
As this is the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009, both Eurocreator and Digitalcreator.ie have just launched in the past month or so.
The latter is a bit like the digital media equivalent of ECDL, providing certification for adults and children (14+) across video, audio and image creation, production, editing and sharing.
By Marie Boran