ProjectEVOLVE is our innovative platform designed to support education professionals in delivering effective online safety education and assessing digital competencies throughout a student's school journey. By providing tailored teaching resources and assessments, ProjectEVOLVE aims to inform classroom activities as well as national policies.
We have just released our latest ProjectEVOLVE report compiled by Professor Andy Phippen from Bournemouth University that presents an analysis of the data collected from the ProjectEVOLVE database, one year after the initial evaluation. The findings highlight the platform's growth and impact on educational establishments as well as where understanding lies within many of these topics relating to staying safe online. Take a look below at some of the key findings.
Rapid Growth and User Engagement
The analysis reveals a remarkable increase in the adoption of ProjectEVOLVE from organisations across England. Over the course of a year, the number of educational establishments utilising the platform has grown by 80%, reaching an impressive total of 11,923 establishments. This growth is accompanied by a 118% increase in individual users, totaling 52,356. Such widespread adoption indicates the recognition of the platform's value in addressing online safety and digital literacy across a range of age groups.
The platform's teaching resources, have garnered significant attention, with users accessing them 676,924 times, representing a 168% increase from the previous year. Moreover, 64 schools have accessed resources over 500 times, demonstrating the popularity and reliance on ProjectEVOLVE to deliver effective online safety education.
Assessments, conducted using the platform's knowledge maps, have experienced exponential growth, increasing by 1,220% to a total of 18,409 assessments. These assessments make use of 709,252 knowledge maps, supporting student knowledge development and enabling teachers to evaluate students' understanding of online safety and digital competencies.
Key Findings and Insights
Primary Education Emphasis
The data shows that aspects and knowledge maps are predominantly utilised in key stage 1 and 2, with the most significant activity occurring in key stage 2. This finding poses a challenge for policy makers to consider how online safety and digital competencies education can be effectively integrated into secondary settings, while also motivating senior managers to recognise its importance.
The analysis indicates that aspects assessed in later stages of education exhibit weaker knowledge compared to those presented earlier. This underlines the importance of reinforcing and developing online safety knowledge as young people grow older, ensuring a strong foundation for responsible digital citizenship.
Emphasis on Media Literacy
The most popular aspects and knowledge maps revolve around media literacy and wider Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education topics. This encouraging trend highlights the significance of connecting online safety issues and digital competencies to broader subjects that resonate with young people. However, there is a notable lack of access and knowledge regarding technical aspects, cybersecurity, and privacy which require more attention.
Consistent Knowledge Gaps
While there are regional variations in knowledge levels across the country, the general pattern of knowledge remains consistent. Strengths lie in understanding online relationships, self-image, and identity, while weaknesses persist in areas such as security, privacy, and managing online information. This consistency highlights the need for comprehensive education in these critical areas.
Importance of Cybersecurity
The limited coverage of cybersecurity and privacy-related topics indicates a lack of institutional and policy knowledge concerning the significance of good cybersecurity practices. The findings emphasize the need to prioritise cybersecurity and privacy education to develop further resilience against online harms.
One year after the initial analysis, ProjectEVOLVE continues to have a significant impact on schools nationwide. The platform's growth, user engagement, and utilisation of teaching resources and assessments highlight its effectiveness in delivering online safety and digital competencies education. However, challenges remain, particularly in integrating these educational efforts into secondary settings and addressing knowledge gaps in technical aspects and cybersecurity. It is crucial to provide teachers with the necessary resources and tools to ensure the long-term success of online safety education.