The project dealt with the many aspects of globalization and consumerism and the way they
shape the formation of young people's identity, lifestyle and commodity consumption. It also explored the precarious balance young people are exposed to in terms of job opportunities, moral values,
and security, which resulted from the recent economic recession, high unemployment rates, and an increasingly globalized market.
Digital technology and multimedia are known to exert a considerable impact on teenagers’
self-perception, self-image, and self-esteem. Some teenagers often use social networking as a surrogate for real-life relationships and cyberbullying has become common. Furthermore, many young people
from disadvantaged backgrounds experience social exclusion, discrimination, and poverty. As a result, instead of taking an active part in structuring their lives, they often struggle with emotional
problems, mental health, eating disorders, substance abuse, and early dropping-out from school.
In light of the above, our project aimed to sensitize young people to the factors that
exert an enormous influence on their culture, social interactions, and psychological well-being, and at raising their awareness of the environmental, economic and social impact of their consumption
choices. Working collaboratively, they learned about important global issues such as global sustainability, child labor, and active citizenship. They now understand the often misleading
messages of advertising, and the importance of social inclusion, mediation and conflict prevention. They reconsidered the role of education and training to develop their basic, transversal and
entrepreneurial skills, as well as their creativity and critical thinking, which empowered their employability. Our students came from different educational backgrounds: grammar (gymnasium) and
vocational schools offering courses in physiotherapy, economics, hospitality, and tourism management, and for shop-assistants. The teachers who were involved are highly qualified professionals with
various profiles. They were teachers of English, arts, science, ICT, economics, etc. The great diversity of participants’ profiles contributed to making this learning event a mutually enriching and
edifying experience for all. Considering the project’s topical relevance and the wide choice of cross-curricular learning opportunities it provided hundreds of students and teachers were
significantly involved in the project and greatly benefited from it.
During the two-year project, our students carried out exhaustive and comparative research
on the following themes: the impact of digital technology and the Internet on teenagers’ consumer behaviour, communicative, reading and learning skills; the influence of fashion brands on teenage
identity formation; how to become a well informed and ethical consumer; sweatshops and child labour as new forms of slavery; greenwashing, clean clothes and fair trade; the global fast food market
and the epidemics of diet-related diseases; the language of advertising; financial literacy, foreclosure and debt bondage; global intercultural education and developing a culture of peace; waste,
consumption and sustainability of the planet; promoting an active global citizenship.
They took part in transnational meetings and organized L/T/T activities where they
explored relevant project-related topics and improved their own learning by teaching their partners. To do this, they used creative learning strategies, such as team-based and case-based learning
approaches. All activities were web-supported, which improved our students’ digital literacy. Moreover, they found their virtual joint venture and promoted their green products, which fostered their
entrepreneurial skills and ethical mindset.
Schools celebrated important global anniversaries (Buy Nothing Day, Earth Day, etc) and
devoted a day to celebrate their partners’ cultures. They produced booklets, video, audio and visual material that was regularly uploaded onto the collaborative and school websites, which improved
the schools’ images and reinforced the European dimension. Project results were disseminated to target audiences through press releases, and school and local events. Thanks to the project, our
students built a more ethical identity and obtained a better understanding of the environmental, economic and social interconnectedness of their consumption choices. Having understood that we are all
part of a great global human community, they were expected to express their new awareness by actively promoting the values of social solidarity, justice, and respect for the planet. Their active
involvement will ultimately inspire many others to take a stand and, thus, contribute to an increase in the quality of our life and in the welfare of our planet.