Working with children, young people and schools around the ‘difficult issues’ of extremism, exploitation and violence is often framed as negative and scary. Technology is seen as both the problem and the solution – a vehicle through which young people may be exploited or radicalised or a cure-all through which to reach large numbers of people, especially youth, to create counter narratives or anti-extremism content. While both of these perspectives hold validity, the bridging of the online and offline worlds – both of which young people and adults inhabit – is minimal. Large social media platforms cannot tell exactly who is engaging through their platforms, while schools remain a predominantly face to face experience.
Through an exciting new partnership, The Wonder Why Society and ConnectFutures will bridge these worlds to enhance learning and build resilience to negative influence. The Wonder Why Society is a 100% moderated, online learning space, created to help primary school children to develop the skills and digital know-how required to succeed post education. This is technology that enhances rather than replaces face to face contact and learning. At The Wonder Why Society we use our bespoke online platform as a youth-friendly, wide reaching and flexible medium that allows content developed by ConnectFutures to enable young people and teachers to approach these subjects in engaging, positive, and practical ways. Through stories, missions and debates with Wonder Why ‘characters’ – from fake news to resilience to recruitment techniques – young people can participate in activities designed to tackle the tough issues in fun, constructive ways. The platform, which is carefully moderated by The Wonder Why team, enables teachers to monitor and evaluative activities, embedding them in classroom activities and the wider curriculum. When issues arise that require more intense offline engagement, the system allows us to identify a young person and the relevant teacher. This is the creation of a safe, moderated online space, with direct connection to real world learning, to address the issues young people and schools can find most challenging.
So if your school is currently tackling the issue of how to embed Prevent and British values into your curriculum look no further. The solution is here and it’s free to state schools.