ProjectEVOLVE: Essential Online Development for Children and Youth

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South West Grid for Apprenticeship (SWGfL), a non-profit charitable organization, launched the free digital toolkit EVOLVE project last fall to allow professionals to bring essential topics around online development and well-being to the classroom. Since then, more than 3,000 organizations have signed up for the toolkit, as well as more than 11,500 users proactively using the hundreds of resources available to teach the milestones in the journey of young people with technology.

Ken Corish (Director of Online Security for SWGfL and Head of ProjectEVOLVE) explains what ProjectEVOLVE is, how it supports professionals, its impact and the exciting new features on the horizon…

“ProjectEVOLVE is a free online resource for any professional who works with children and youth. If they are responsible for educating, guiding and supporting students in their use of technology in their online life, ProjectEVOLVE is there to support them throughout their journey. It provides a range of resources that are pragmatic and not judgmental. They aim to provide the right environments for discussion, to provide children and young people with knowledge and facts, as well as information to help them form their own opinions on important topics. By itself, it has over 600 distinct resources that cover age ranges from very young children, laying out some of the fundamentals of online development, to 18-year-olds.

“We wanted to empower children and young people to look beyond common messages about online safety and development to something more sophisticated. You may be familiar with some of them, they usually include words like “do not”, “stop”, “block” and “avoid”. But also, in addition to that, there are messages which are not very sophisticated. We wanted to offer an educational path that grows according to the individual stages of development. Context, age and stage of development are really important when talking about these essential topics.

How ProjectEVOLVE works

“What we’re trying to achieve with ProjectEVOLVE is guide anyone who uses the toolkit to make sure they’re working with the right set of resources for the kids in front of them. Our content is based on a framework we worked on with the UK Council for Internet Safety in 2017. The framework is called Education for a Connected World. It’s not a curriculum, it’s a skill set. This is a set of outcomes and goals that you would expect to refer to when talking to children of different ages. We took the entire online landscape apart and reconfigured it based on specific age groups and eight specific streams that encompass all aspects of young people’s online lives.

“It’s not a curriculum, it’s a set of skills”

“These components don’t just focus on security. They look at relationships, they look at self-image and identity. They look at classic bullying, but they also focus on privacy and security, copyright and property, and managing information online. They had to be very focused and precise because they are such an important part of growing up.

“We have tried to write the resources in such a way that they provide opportunities for dialogue. They are not moralizing, condescending, or moralizing. We try to make them pragmatic and to correspond specifically to the age group to which they belong, but also to challenge current beliefs. We provide educators with sets of results and questions to start meaningful dialogues with their students. That’s at the heart of all resources – getting meaningful dialogue for the kids you work with. Not only that, to be able to understand where they stand with these important topics or where their misconceptions lie. It also highlights where their knowledge gaps lie and how secure they are in that knowledge. It is vital.

The future of ProjectEVOLVE

“We are developing innovative mechanisms to integrate knowledge maps into the toolbox. This will be an essential part and has always been at the heart of what ProjectEVOLVE is. So far we have developed the content and resources.

“We wanted to understand what children’s knowledge of a concept was before a teacher chose the appropriate resource. It would help reduce their workload by browsing a huge amount of content in ProjectEVOLVE. It also helps to ensure that the resource they choose is appropriate for the group of children sitting in front of them.

“We want to get to a point where someone is sure they understand a concept. They’ll say, “I know how to do this. I don’t have to think about it too much, but in fact I can apply it to other situations. It is very suitable for online development. You have to use what you already know to apply to a whole range of different situations, whether technical or social.

“To do this, we have developed a cartoon concept generator. Concept cartoons are often used in other areas of the curriculum to analyze how students view a central premise and are usually printed diagrams. I don’t think I’ve seen a cartoon concept generator before and this one could very well be the first. This not only allows us to pull questions from the database and present them meaningfully to children and older students, but also, we reduce unconscious bias as we can decide which avatars appear in different orders. So every time you look at a question it looks different.

“These things are put in front of the children and they record their responses. They can do this online or live in the classroom. All of this data is fed back into the database, which then helps the educator prioritize the needs of these specific children. And you, as a teacher, say, “Yes, I need it. This will show you what is certain, where they have misconceptions, where there are gaps in their knowledge, and where there is also a complete misunderstanding. This then guides teachers to be able to choose the right elements of ProjectEVOLVE.


Get involved and register

To benefit from all the advantages of ProjectEVOLVE, nothing could be simpler. Registration is free and all you need are some simple login details.! You will find ProjectEVOLVE on projectevolve.fr.

register today and access hundreds of free resources that are here to help.



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