Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Closing moments of the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga #2ndEURMIL

The closing session of the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga, today, was chaired by Alton Grizzle. As he highlighted, it was heartening that the presence of the Latvian Government was far from the usual dipping in (with the Cultural Minister participating in the conference, and the Speaker of the Parliament also stayed for the session after the opening session).
Tatjana Ljubic gave a good snapshot of key points from the conference, including: need for more involvement and action from the industry; more insight into how people are making decisions on using, and not using, information; MIL for the lifecourse, lifelong; supporting knowledge on how to use technology well; the ignorance of the "other" in the media, with a lack of intercultural dialogue; the fact that media "want clicks" so there is a detrimental effect on quality; need for modernised libraries and librarians to meet the challenging MIL roles; changing roles for newspapers and journalists, building trust and relationships; media ethics, the need for "good manners" had been mentioned, as well as ethical codes; that the media is less structured, with people getting information here and there from all sorts and sources; need for teacher education; for a top down (policy) and bottom up (grass roots) approach; expectations from academia (lots of them - partnerships with parents, journalists, private sector etc.); the issue of how MIL should be funded; intergenerational competencies in MIL and how MIL is not just needed by young people; need for more, more innovative education in MIL for young people; initiatives to enable young people to create and participate; importance of creating national policies; having MIL integrated in the school curriculum and through informal and and non-formal learning.
Mari Sol Pérez Guevara (Policy Officer responsible for media literacy, European Commission), Divina Frau-Meigs (Representative of the GAPMIL European Sub-Chapter, Professor, University of Sorbonne Nouvelle), Leo Pekkala (Head of Unit, Media Education and Audiovisual Media (MEKU), National Audiovisual Institute, Finland) and Dace Melbarde (Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, President of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO) also gave their highlights and thoughts from the conference. I'm afraid I did not capture these properly, so apologies for that.

Frau-Meigs felt that we were coming together, from different communities, to start to make a rich exchange of knowledge and experience. It is a field with tensions, but this is a signal that this is a very lively, vibrant and dynamic field. This includes tensions in curriculum and forms of assessment, in how we understand propaganga and even knowledge. Where to go next? The "Riga Recommendations" have come out of the conference (which I haven't mentioned yet, but they have been drafted after the last few weeks and was finalised today - I will blog them). Also there is a strategy for reinserting explicit mention of Media Literacy (or hopefully, Media and Information Literacy) in the revised EC audiovisual Directive. There is an intention that a statement will be used to present in the various European countries for lobbying purposes. A 3rd European MIL Forum is planned for 2018: at the moment a host is required.

Pekkala noted the wide range of backgrounds and environments that the conference participants came from, which had enriched the conference. He also mentioned the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as a text to go back to to get encouragement for MIL work. He reminded people that there will be an international MIL week and a GAPMIL meeting in Brazil in November. Pekkala reflected on "why are we doing this"? There is a lot still to be done, even though there are MIL achievements. He felt that we were also doing this for a greater good, fostering basic elements of a demographic world (a good life, stability etc.)

Latvian Minister Melbarde closed the conference. I will remind you that this is NOT a verbatim account, these are my summaries of my understanding of what was said. She celebrated the debates and presentations at the conference, and participants concern with this critical area. She recalled the impact of the very first films on their audience, similarly today there can be shock and alarm in engaging with the newest technological developments. The former basic skills - reading, writing, counting - have been added to, and MIL is essential to develop these new skills. Melbarde also stressed that the broader context is important, and development of social skills, understanding of the legal context and so forth are needed for MIL. Latvia is acknowledging, and incorporating, MIL as part of Government policy, and considering the issues of implementation of MIL policy, so there can be real actions. Melbarde said that in the ideal world we would have the skills to identify contemporary challenges and address them in an interdisciplinary way, and MIL is important for this.

Young people online: Latvia, Eygpt, Finland and more #2ndEURMIL

The next session I'm attending and liveblogging at the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum is on young people and the internet. Firstly, Liva Brice, Research Assistant EU Kids Online, University of Latvia, Department of Communication Studies entitled her talk In share/ like/ friends/ contacts we trust , starting with an explanation of the situation in Latvia. http://draugiem.lv (created in 2006) is the social networking site which is the most popular in Latvia. It is the place where young people tend to start their social media life - a "safe place" where family and known friends are (people you meet every day). However, you cannot control your privacy much. Latvians tend to learn from this experience that social networks offer a safe place, so that's how they approach social networks (like Facebook) where in fact most people are people you do not already know, some of whom have bad intentions and should not be trusted.
Brice emphasised firstly the trust issue: that you tend to trust material posted by your friends, and in particular young people will automatically "like" all their friends' content to indicate their friendship. Secondly, there is the rise of the visual social networks, sharing many images through pinterest etc.: there is thus the importance of looking at MIL skills. A third aspect was the fragmented way in which people were experiencing information. Is MIL the answer? (see slide, above)

Maria Podlasek-Ziegler, Programme Manager, European Commission, then explained something about the Commission's work in this area. She talked about the importance of informal and non-formal learning (the latter being the most informal learning, which we might pick up in our daily lives). There is a publication summarising 25 years of work that was published earlier this year: Youth work and non-formal learning in Europe's education landscape which can be downloaded here: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/news/2016/0129-youth-non-formal-learning_en.htm and the EU Youth Report 2015. She also referred to the Key competences for lifelong learning in Europe published in 2006. Issues she raised included trust in the interst and lack of trust in, and lack of engagement with, formal democratic processes.

Samy Tayie, Professor, Cairo University presented results from a 2014 study of 400 young people, with participants selected from urban and rural regions in Egypt, 14-18 years old. He started by giving a picture of the media scene in Egypt, with many outlets and also high penetration of mobile phones and the internet.
All children in the urban area had access to mobile phones, whilst in rural areas 72% boys and 64% girls have access to mobiles and the internet. Children from lower income groups were not using such an open range of media, and in particular girls might have their access to media limited. TV was the most-used traditional media in rural area, and this was less used in urban areas (where there was more use of internet/social media). Boys were using phones more than girls, mostly using it to download music, chat etc.

Finally, Sirkku Kotilainen, Professor, Ph.D., School of Communication, Media and Theatre & School of Education, University of Tampere, talked on Young people in the Limelight: toward agency through multiliteracies. Specifically she was talking about an action research project funded by the KONE foundation http://www.uta.fi/cmt/en/research/comet/projects/young-people-in-the-limelight.htm, and there are blogs (Finnish/ English) at http://blogs.uta.fi/mediakasvatus/ and also (in Finnish only) http://www.facebook.com/nuoretestradille/. The people in the research are mainly 15-20 year olds who have some problems e.g. unemployed, with language problems. Goals of the research include "developing media education which supports participation and the voice of young people, including skills in MIL". The projects sites are in various parts of Finland, with the young people creating media and they are encouraged to publish them in social media and through mainstream media. Outputs include theatre, films, photographs. Preliminary results include that workshops have increased indepence, social and MIL skills; workshops have strengthened motivation to participate locally and opened up cultural and social activities; however there is a challenge in integrating the protective and the empowering aspects of the project (since the vulnerable children are being made more visible, whereas laws etc. focus on protecting them). Additionally, to work on young people's right for media participation you also need to interact with adults to negotiate and so that the adults can become "empowerment agents".

Hate Speech; Counter narratives #2ndEURMIL

Further impressions from the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum and the session on Human Rights and Healthy Democracy, Countering Radicalization and Hate Speech.
Maciej Tomaszewski, Policy Officer - DG JUST, European Commission, highlighted work of the European Commission in this area. They recently launched a Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/european-commission-and-it-companies-announce-code-conduct-illegal-online-hate-speech (it was launched by the Commission together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft) There is a public consultation on the state of hate and pluralism in Europe http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/fundamental-rights/opinion/160519_en.htm and you are urged to respond

Finally, Ivana Jelaca, Head of Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Western Balkans, started by explaining the work of the Institute, which aims to encourage and facilitate responsible media representation of sicial diversity. It focuses on developing young people's MIL skills (critically understanding media and producing media content). The website is at http://www.media-diversity.org/en/ and it is worth looking at the "Resources" section. Jelaca identified the Western Balkans as a region in transition, with still some obstruction to the process of democratization. She noted the focus of young people's interests - a survey had shown only 31% thought civil engagement was "in", whereas 70+% thought appearance was very important. She showed some of the reports in the media which were stirring up racial hatred etc. Whilst traditional media "hadn't learned much from the experience of the 90s", young people were turning also to social media: the speaker gave an example of a video on social media with hate comments on ethnicity and (for a female) appearance.
The Institute is doing work to help raise awareness and skills, and support young people in producing material which has a counter-narrative, promoting a culture of non-violent dialogue , and combat trolling. They are producing guidelines on countering hate speech with speech, examples of how to avoid the tropes of hate speech. They are also building coalitions between media and citizens & civil society organisations.
Photo by Sheila Webber: park in Riga, June 2016

Online hate and extremist material - the issues #2ndeurmil

Last day of the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum. The first plenary session is focusing on Human Rights and Healthy Democracy, Countering Radicalization and Hate Speech; Intercultural and Interreligious Understanding and we started by standing in silence to remember the victims of last night's terrorist attacks in Istanbul.
After an introduction from Imants Viesturs Liegis (Ambassador to France, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Latvia), introducing the theme, the first speaker was Ewa Thorslund, Director, Statens medieråd, on Swedish Media Council: the big picture. This is a government organisation with the mission to empower young people in the media. She identified that to some extent the rise of extremism on the internet is the result of underlying changes in the media landscape. Key changes are: concentration of media ownership: few media actors but who have more power, also apropriating user content; fewer professional journalists, more "robot journalism" and more PR people; "appification" more people locked into applications (perhaps leading to decline of the open web)
Secondly, there is "digividualisation": people living lines online; filtering; private and public blurring; moving to self-regulation and user-cintracts rather than protection via legislation. Thirdly, there is the "crisis of authority and dissolution of communal narratives": fragmented media landscape; people living in selective information bubbles; an expansion of what is considered normal (normalisation of things that many people "like": this has positive or negative aspects).
All this means that there are increased requirements for Media and Information Literacy!
Thorslund then gave insights into a project that investigated how extreme groups were recruiting young people and what could be done to counter this. The 3 extreme groups examined were: far right, far left, muslim extremist. All 3 conveyed a black and white picture of the world, used a "clear self defence rheteoric", idealised direct action and used stories. It was identified that extremists were "fact resistant" and thus were not going to be swayed by counter narratives. Thus people needed the MIL skills to see through the propaganda. Finally, it emphasised how people had to deal with these issues as individuals, on their own, and MIL could support them in this.
The Swedish Media Council website is at http://www.statensmedierad.se/ovrigt/inenglish.579.html and an English-language version of the report are http://www.statensmedierad.se/publikationer/publicationsinenglish/proviolenceandantidemocraticmessagesontheinternet.605.html
Alton Grizzle (Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO) talked on Youth perspectives on online hate, extremist and radical content: some preliminary research findings. This is based on work by UNESCO and Grizzle's doctoral work. He first reflected on why people hate - there can be many reasons, including misinformation.He asserted that MIL can change how we see things, and this required the active partcipation of young people.
For the research, the research question was whether different attitudes towards hate and radical content correlated with different levels of MIL competency. The participants were young people taking a MOOC on MIL. 1735 completed the questionnaire, and 614 a questionnaire on hate content. The majority were in urban areas, and the majority were in education. 55% had never before taken a course related to MIL. 63% were taking an online course for the first time. About 80% said that hate groups should not be able to post online. 50% said they had watched extremist content online. About 70% said they had encountered the content, most did not share it. 51% said they are not sure how to respond to the content. 50% ignored the content. 60% said they encountered the content on Facebook, the next most frequent was Youtube. The young people thought there were various reasons why extremist material was posted (religion narrowly the most frequent). The young people were asked whether they thought that MIL could help young people cope with extreme and radicalised content, and a large majority thought it could (this was asked after they had taken a unit of the MIL MOOC).
Grizzle identified a number of emerging conclusions e.g. the Freedom of Information implications of simply censoring; the power of not searching or not watching hate videos; that young people are coming across hate material accidentically as well as when they are seeking it; that more MIL training is needed; counter measures are needed in social media, as this is a place where much content is encountered. MIL CLICKS is a new GAPMIL and UNESCO initiative to respond to this need, which is being launched

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

National policies; Media education #2ndEURMIL

These are some impressions from the latest plenary at the European Media and Information Literacy Forum. Kristina Juraite, Chair, Department of Public Communications, Vytautas Magnus University spoke on Towards shared responsibility in MIL policy making: the case of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). She identified media and social changes, with media more of a "mediated public space", and media education no longer undertaken wholly by the state. Additionally society was seen as being in a permanent state of change. Everyday life is becoming more highly mediated, with the illusion of connectivity, polarisation, increase of anxiety and distrust, and merging of the public and private. Juraite presented a chart from research which showed some correlation between feeling happy and assessing one's country as democratic. She indicated major groups of MIL actors in CEE and identified the level of involvement, type of literacy and target groups in each of the "major groups" state/public authorities, public sector, academic/research institutions, CSOs, Media Industry and Private Sector.
I noted that "Information Literacy" was not mentioned at all (the literacies were Digital, Media, Film and Digital, and ICT skills). Since there are certainly IL iniatives in higher education in CEE countries, at least, this seemed an omission: I think in fact it was focusing on Media Literacy and Education, rather than MIL.
A lack of systematic approach in ML was identified, and a lack of well-developed and sustainable partnerships across sectors. The most innovative practices seemed to be from NGOs.
Manuel Pinto, Professor in Communication Sciences, Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho talked about Defining a MIL policy through informal action and networking: the Portuguese case. He gave examples of initiatives in media education in POrtugal e.g. school media and journalism, newspapers in the classroom and the role of media in children's lives. There has been an Informal Group on Media Literacy (GILM) since 2009. There is a GILM Parnership which includes school libraries network, UNESCO, National Educational Council and others. A key aim of this group is to work together and share information and expertise. The group meets every 2 months, has a media literacy conference every 2 years (the next one in 2017), has a portal on media literacy education (I think possibly this: http://www.literaciamediatica.pt/pt), created curriculum guidelines for promoting school media literacy and has an event "7 days with the media" to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. They are now enlarging the network to include more media literacy actors, with a new informal network (FILM) founded in March 2016. There are, however, challenges in the overall political and economic climate (e.g. less investment in teacher training, mistrust of legacy media, an instrumental approach to MIL focused on digital skills). They are now hoping to develop an observatory.
Mark Higham, Cultural Educator, Film Literacy Europe, talked about school film clubs. There are 4 countries with film club networks (including the UK), with 6 countries carrying out pilots, and 7 other countries very interested in the concept. Higham proposed that films have educational value For example, research in Romania and Spain indicated that film clubs stimulated students' critical discussion. Higham mentioned the Empathy project, using film to give insights into conflict and possibilities for reconciliation. It includes young people making their own films to explore the issues and contemplate ways forward.
The first talk in this pelnary session was from Irma Velez (ANR TRANSLIT Network; Associate Professor at the ESPE Académie de Paris-Université Paris Sorbonne) who presented results of the Translit project, investigating Media and Information Literacy policy in Europe (country reports have been published on the Translit website). They identified dimensions for enquiry as: the question of definition, policy framework, capacity building (resources, training and other), funding and evaluation. They identified experts in each of 28 European countries (a total of 68 experts) and asked the experts to comment on their country's level of development in each of these dimensions. Interesting and complex results were presented, but I am afraid I wasn't quick enough to capture these accurately (apologies, I think I ate too much at lunchtime....) If I can find out more I blog about them later!
Photo by Sheila Webber: Art Nouveau house, Riga

Building trust in the digital age #2ndeurMIL

Final liveblog from the a session on MIL to Build Trust In Media at the European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga.
Aidan White, Director, Ethical Journalism Network (http://www.ethicaljournalismnetwork.org) talked about Building trust in the digital age. He started by saying something about the activities of the EJN. Their investigation of coverage of migration issues showed problems in the way stories were reported. Media focused on two types of story: numbers (e.g. of migrants) and human stories. Media weaknesses were identified (e.g. stereotyping): this is in a background of changes. Companies are cutting the number of journalists, whilst the media is being more influenced by (or controlled by) the state and corporations, as well as citizens' online voice becoming more prominent (and helping to determine which stories are featured).
White felt that we were "hitting the limits of free expression" (in that abusive, violent etc. media are published openly on the web). White distinguished between journalism and free expression: journalism was constrained in that it had a public purpose and was "other regarding" (respecting others) with the core journalistic values of accuracy, independence, impartiality, humanity and accountability. White saw online expression as SELF-regarding rather than other-regarding (thus making a case for ensuring that there are journalists reporting on issues in an other-regarding way).
White noted some pernicious trends, notably manipulation and propaganising e.g. accepting "outrageous statements of political and community leaders as newsworthy without reporting in context". White also mentioned the world of polarising "likes and tweets", and stealth marketing (advertising posing as news).
He felt is was vital to strengthen journalism and editorial independence: this might seem obvious but it was very important. White also advocated more dialogue between stakeholders (journalists, academics and civic society) and more joint initiatives. He proposed ethical journalism as an inspiration for change.

The fourth speaker was Miomir Rajcevic, President, Media Education Centre, talked about Exponential Media and Information Era: his presentation will be available on the website http://www.mediaeducationcentre.eu/eng/ so I will be a bit lazy and refer you there.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Latvian National Library (the books are "favourite books" chosen and donated by Latvian citizens when the new library opened in 2014)

Trust in the media #2ndEURMIL

I'm liveblogging in a session on MIL to Build Trust In Media: Media and Information Ethics and Sustainable Media and Information Environment at the European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga. Tihomir Loza, Executive Director, South East European Network for Professionalization of Media identified that members of the Network had undertaken media literacy projects. He identified that levels of MIL in SE Europe are generally not high, although he noted that this was also the case in some other parts of Europe. MIL levels are dynamic, and in particular may fluctuate in countries where they are transitioning between different types of government. He associated media and information literacy in societies which are used to questioning and being sceptical. Loza saw MIL as something that needed to be developed all the time (it is not a skill that can simply be learned and then you have it for life): it challenges you all the time. Loza felt that societies with "civic stamina" (an interesting concept!) did better with MIL. He gave an example from research which sought to measure trust: one recurring theme was that that when they were asked who they trusted, citizens in one country said they trusted media and journalists most and politicians least: however the respondents also said they thought that media was heavily influenced by politicians. This suggests some confusion and lack of MIL.
Loza went on to talk about what could be done. He mentioned initiatives such as: MIL being introduced into the curriculum; increased role on the part of regulators and self-regulatory bodies (to increase trust between citizens and the media, to foster more interaction from citizens, to counter "civic fatigue" or "civic apathy"). He also noted that MIL cannot be treated in isolation (I think - that there are other political, economic, social issues that need to be addressed to achieve MIL)
Photo by Sheila Webber: reception at the Latvian National Library

Trust and Media manners in diverse societies #2ndEURMIL

Liveblogging the 2nd day of the European MIL Forum, Xavier Landes, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen,talked about Trust and Media matters in diverse societies. He was addressing the question of how to build trust in media, and how to contribute to the development of trust in societies which are diverse. He identified two forms of trust: institutional trust (that citizens have in insitutions) and mutual trust (citizens trusting each other). Media and journalists has the power to foster both trust and distrust.
Landes proposed that there needed to be an atmosphere of civility and courtesy, and this in turn depends on the attitide and behaviour of journalists and the media, which requires "good manners". He felt that by contributing to such an atmosphere media can build citizens' trust towards them. People will not trust the media if citizens are misrepresented and their is not evidence of "good manners".
Good manners involve showing respect to individuals (e.g. NOT being patronising), irrespect of whether we personally agree with them. This enables a social relationship and expresses a deeper moral commitment. Landes felt that good manners should NOT be imposed by regulatory bodies (as, if I understand correctly, they should be connected to genuine personal ethics) and should "not be accepted at face value"; in addition they "should not be confused with political correctness or complacency".
The next point Landes addressed was that good manners depend on treating all with good manners, and they should be maintained even when there was not "mutual compliance" (so I think that means not abandoning good manners, even when you were not yourself treated with good manners).
To implement good manners there needed to be proper language, sensitivity to context and to media stakeholders (this means being aware of what will be senstive issues, and treating them appropriately) and treating people equally.

Media and Information Literacy through the lifecourse #2ndEURMIL

This is the presentation that I gave at the first plenary session at the 2nd European Media and Information Literacy Forum, in Riga, Latvia, on Monday 27 June.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Report from #2ndEURMIL Digital ecosystem; Media Literacy; Propaganda

The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum opened this afternoon in Riga, Latvia. I was chairing the first session. I also spoke in the first plenary session. As I was on the platform being in full liveblogging mode would look impolite, so these are just (belated) brief notes of the speakers with who I shared a platform. Mr Toms Meisitis, Member of the Board of Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA) was talking about the development of the new digital information eco-system, talking about the radical changes in distribution of TV, Video etc. He noted how formerly separate industries were merging, as people were able to consume different types of content on the same device. He felt that to be media and informaton literate you had to be digitally literate, as everything transitioned to digital form - though here the emphasis was on media rather than information more broadly. Meisitis also noted the impact on local industry structures, as stakeholders in the process were no longer restricted to a specific geographic region, although local content was still very important. He felt that regulation lagged behind industry and technological development. He raised an interesting issue of whether Europe could (or should?) aim to regulate what is an increasingly global market.
Meisitis finished by identifying the need for people of all ages to develop digital skills, the need to fight piracy, and the need for more proactive application of regulation, amongst other issues.

The second speaker was Ms Mari Sol Pérez Guevara, Policy Officer responsible for Media Literacy, European Commission, who started by defining media literacy, stressing in particular the importance of critical thinking. She identified the need for media literacy because: "A healthy democracy requires the participation of well-informed citizens"; it is "Response to a changing and increasingly complex media landscape resulting from the digital revolution" and "Media literacy [is] a tool to support democracy". She elaborated these points, including a Brexit example (that a survey had shown there was strong correlation between people using specific newspaper advocating remain or leave the EU, and the way the reader voted: possibly indicating a lack of examination of alternative sources). Another issues she used was the use of social media to fight against radicalisation and counter propaganda.
Pérez Guevara moved on to outline the role of the European Commission: to "Discover, bring to light, document and extend good practices in the field of media literacy"; "Facilitate networking between different stakeholders" and "Explore synergies between different EU policies and media literacy initiatives". One of their initiatives is the Expert Group on Media Literacy. She described their engagement with specific EC directives and initiatives and also talked about the EP Pilot project "Media Literacy for all". There was apparently recently a debate in the European Parliament about media literacy: an indication of increased concerns. Finally talked about the European Council's "Conclusions on developing media literacy and critical thinking through education and training"
The Media Literacy website is https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/media-literacy

After my talk (which I will blog separately) the last speaker in the session was Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies, Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode Island. Her topic was Media Literacy and Contemporary Propaganda. She noticed the rise of apathy and anger, expressed via social media, resulting in increased polarisation. She had asked teachers why they were not doing more to integrate news and current events into the classroom. Reasons or anxieties included that students were not interested, that it was too controversial, that teachers were not well informed enough or that they had different views to the managers at their school. She had created http://mindovermedia.tv which enabled people to discuss and engage with propaganda issues. She identified how propaganda could be found in all sorts of area of life (including education) and noted key characteristics of propaganda - in particular how it taps into our own hopes and fears. On the Mind over Matter website people are encouraged to create galleries of propaganda, which you can rate on a scale from beneficial to harmful.
Hobbs felt that evaluating propaganda in this way can help stimulate curiosity and counter apathy. She identified MIL as a civic literacy, so that people were enouraged to engage in social change.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Latvian National Library, the conference venue

Media education #2ndEURMIL

Elodie Depré, Representative of ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers’ Association); Media Literacy Project Manager and Communication Officer, LAPRESSE.be, talked about Bringing concept and practice: mediators of MIL at local level. She started by talking about the role of newspapers in a digital world e.g. as watchdogs of democracy. Media Literacy was seen as a priority in this context, developing understanding of the "mediatized world" both print and digital. A relationship had to be developed with citizens (from school age), but there was also a need to respond to cultural differences of different markets. In 2013 ENPA launched a project What's your news, with projects in 18 countries, developed by the Media Literacy Working Group. She gave some examples, including "Open my news" in Belgium, which includes free newspapers and educational material which answers some questions about newspapers and explains media literacy issues. This is being followed up with "Open my digital newspaper".

The final panel speaker in the last session of the day was Giovanni Melogli, President EMI European Media Initiative EU Affairs - Alliance Internationale de Journalistes. He highlighted the website and initiative http://mediaeducation.fr. They wish to make a strong connection between educators and journalists, to develop more effective media literacy education by combining the expertise of the two sectors. Melogi briefly outlined the sections in the website (which is French language). This includes areas which encourage people to connect to form projects.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Art Nouveau house, Riga, June 2016

IL in Germany #2ndEURMIL

Fabian Franke, Director, University Library, University of Bamberg, Germany (Representative of IFLA, Information Literacy) talked Role of libraries to promote information literacy in Germany at the 2nd European MIL Forum, where I am liveblogging. He identified the National Commission Information Literacy, supported by the German Library Association. There are also regional IL networks in each state in Germany and the website http://www.informationskompetenz.de/ The website includes standards and statements (from policy documents, scientists etc.) that support IL. There is a general strategy for information infrastructure in Germany, which highlights the need for libraries and information literacy. A statement from German Rectors Conference has said that IL needed to be more firmly in the curriculum, and calls for improved skills amongst librarians in terms of data management.
There are IL standards for university students (2009) which are similar to the old ACRL standards and have the same structure (with indicators for each standard). There are also standards for school students and a useful geographical map for teachers, that enables a teacher to identify a librarian in their area who could work with them on IL.
They are now working on a Reference Framework for IL (pre school to postgraduate) which has 6 levels for each aspect.
Photo by Sheila Webber: in a cafe, Riga

Espaces publics numériques #2ndEURMIL

More liveblogging from the 2nd European MIL Forum. Amélie Turet, President, French Society for the History of Youth and Sports; Member of the research network ANR TRANSLIT, talked about MIL in French libraries and media centres. She described the public digital access points "Espaces publics numériques" http://www.netpublic.fr/net-public/espaces-publics-numeriques/presentation/: there are 1200 in libraries (as well as ones elsewhere). Turet had carried out research into "professional and activist identity of the players in digital transformation": one issue was librarians not seeing themselves as having the appropriate skills. Indeed, they have had to develop the role of "digital mediator", with people who are not librarians obtaining one of a range of (I think) diploma-level qualifications to build on their existing digital skills. Nevertheless, despite this and other issues, there were important opportunities to develop libraries and librarians further in this role.

Literacy, Information Literacy, New Multiliteracy and Public Libraries: IL assessment #2ndEURMIL

I'm at The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum in Riga. I wrote something on the opening plenary, but I was part of that session, so I will tidy up that report and post it a bit later. I'm now in a session on Media and Information Literascy and libraries. The first speakers was Leena Toivonen, Director in Valkeakoski City Library; Member of EGCIS Expert group, EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations) talked on Literacy, Information Literacy, New Multiliteracy and Public Libraries. She started by talking about EBLIDA, which is an organisation which represents library interests at the European level (e.g. lobbying concerning copyright issues). Turning to the Finnish scene, she reported on a survey of libraries (2012) which revealed that media literacy was valued, however half of the libraries did not have an action plan for media education and about 30% worked with schools. Barriers included lack of knowledge of media education. She referred to the Good Media Literacy Finnish national policy guidelines (2013-16), with aims to improve media education and training of those who support media education.
Toivonen gave a specific example of her City Library. She identified changes in basic education that came in with the new Finnish school curriculum in 2016: this puts stress on multiliteracies. They cooperate with local schools at various levels. Examples of activities include games for pre-schoolers. The games do not use text, so they are suitable for the pupils who can't read. There is also, for example, an encoding club and another initiative "games coding and 3D", which are out-of-school activities. Toivonen stressed how they are working with various external partners. There are numerous challenges, such as material in English, the fact that information is often in images or videos, that people are self-publishing: there was a need to to improve the librarians' own skills.

The second speaker was Baiba Holma, Associate professor, Department of Information and Library Studies Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia who talked about Librarians' roles in MIL. She started by talking about an interesting initiative in assessing IL in Latvia: she referred to research which I blogged about here http://information-literacy.blogspot.com/2014/10/report-from-ecil2014-towards-adult.html. From the various tests and assessments, they identified that it was possible to assess IL level; also they identified the IL level of citizens (only average); and that there were needs for education and training. In particular there were gaps in knowledge around creating information (including things like sending emails.
They also have a project on digital literacy and the librarian as mediator: it requires social support and knowledge about rules and restrictions in internet use. Thus there are problems (focus on too-narrow range of IL skills; difficulty in assessing IL) but also opportunities (appropriate education of librarians and new creative services from libraries to broaden skills for lifelong learning).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Art Nouveau house, curtain, Riga, June 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Livestreaming of plenaries from #2ndeurmil

The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum takes place in Riga, Latvia, 27-29 June 2016. They are livestreaming the plenary sessions (including the Opening and Closing Session)via http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/multimedia/webcast You can find the programme at the web address below. The times are in Latvian time, which is 2 hours ahead of UK time, 7 hours ahead of US Eastern time. I am Chairing the opening session and co-chairing another plenary, and am speaking at the plenary that takes place on Monday at 2pm Latvian time. I will also be liveblogging some of the sessions that I am not participating in.

The Theme is Promoting media and information literacy in a shifting communication/media landscape for open and secure societies. Website is: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/media-development/media-literacy/global-alliance-for-partnerships-on-media-and-information-literacy/second-european-media-and-information-literacy-forum/
Photo by Sheila Webber: Art Nouveau house, Riga, June 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Will you share this without clicking?

Thanks to Megan Blauvelt Heuer who shared (on ili-l) a Washington Post story:
Dewey, C. (2016, ). 6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/06/16/six-in-10-of-you-will-share-this-link-without-reading-it-according-to-a-new-and-depressing-study/#
I felt I ought to, ahem, read the story before sharing it here. It highlights a spoof article in Science Post in which only the first paragraph was actual meaningful text, but which nevertheless was shared widely, often by people who evidently hadn't realised most of the article was "ipsem lorum" (meaningless filler text in latin). Dewey then goes on the discuss findings in an ACM paper. Since the very topic of the article was "sharing without reading" I thought I should at least skim this article too.

Interestingly, I would say that, whilst Dewey doubtless had read the paper, I would not say that she gives an unbiased picture of its message. It is late at night and I haven't read the stats properly, but I think the ACM paper compared the number of shares of a URL (on Twitter) with the number of times the URL itself was clicked. Although this implies that some people shared without clicking or reading, it does not actually make that claim. However (as the title of her article implies) Dewey's focus is on people who share links without having clicked them themselves, which she sees as part of the "oft-demoralizing cesspool that is Internet culture" (she also mentions "the utter lack of intelligent online discourse around any remotely complicated, controversial topic").

In fact this could make it an interesting article for information literacy discussion from several angles: how people treat spoof articles; the issue of sharing web links that you haven't investigated at all; the way in which mass media simplify and possibly distort the findings of scientic papers.

It did make me reflect: I do share items on this blog that I haven't read in full (you may be shocked to learn) but I have always checked the link and skimmed enough of it to tell whether I think it is worth looking at. However, I may sometimes share a link on Twitter without reading it, if it's from someone I trust and I think my followers might find it interesting. I would imagine that some people might share my tweets of these blog posts similarly (do reply if you have any comments on this - though bear in mind that I moderate comments - as otherwise I have loads of spam - so there will be a delay before it appears).
Photo by Sheila Webber:  trees, June 2016

Google-map of information literacy pages on university websites

Thanks to Alejandro Uribe-Tirado for alerting me to the fact that the linked Google-map of Information literacy in university libraries in South America and the rest of the world (it is particularly strong in identifying Hispanic websites) is up to date (with 600 links) and can be found here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=21.724722%2C-49.87793&spn=30.906208%2C92.548828&hl=es&oe=UTF8&msa=0&source=embed&ie=UTF8&mid=1bGIKuxOoP2QHC9eoxtqGLwWyBGE (actually there are a few libraries which are not in universities, but most of them are).

A paper which does some analysis of the Ibero-American information is:
Uribe-Tirado, A. and Pinto, M. (2013). La incorporación de la alfabetización informacional en las bibliotecas universitarias iberoamericanas. Análisis comparativo a partir de la información de sus sitios web. [Integration of information literacy in South American university libraries: comparative analysis based on information on their websites]. Anales de Documentación, 16(2), 1-10. [In Spanish] http://eprints.rclis.org/20803/ English abstract "This article seeks to identify from the information provided by the websites of university libraries in the 22 Ibero-American countries, the possible levels of integration since these libraries are doing for training in information literacy. The results identify that a total of 2136 Ibero-American university libraries; only 171 have information literacy training programs (6.2%). The paper evidences that from the Ibero-American context, information literacy is not yet the full extent you would expect and it is necessary. However, increasingly, there are prestigious universities who are taking on the challenge of this training and therefore, by working collaborative, benchmarking and sharing strategies and learning objects will be a guide for most Ibero-American universities develops this training."


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Advanced (systematic reviews) Searching Techniques Workshop

There is an Advanced Searching Techniques Workshop on 25-26 July 2016 at Cardiff University, Wales. "This interactive workshop will provide a step-by-step guide for constructing an advance search strategy for a systematic review with a focus on the health/medical literature". Cost is £400 (Reduced fee of £350 may be available for Cardiff University and NISCHR portfolio attendees) Go to http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/training/courses/systematic-reviews/searching-techniques/ for more information.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New articles: Information literacy and leisure; LIS skills; personal archiving

The latest issue of open access journal Information Research (volume 21 no. 2, 2016) is available and includes:
- Andrew Demasson, Helen Partridge and Christine Bruce: Information literacy and the serious leisure participant: variation in the experience of using information to learn
- Katherine Howard, Helen Partridge, Hilary Hughes and Gillian Oliver: Passion trumps pay: a study of the future skills requirements of information professionals in galleries, libraries, archives and museums in Australia
- Maja Krtalić, Hana Marčetić and Milijana Mičunović: Personal digital information archiving among students of social sciences and humanities
http://www.informationr.net/ir/21-2/infres212.html
Photo by Sheila Webber: daisies, June 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Copyright and E-learning

New book this month: Secker, J. and Morrison, C. (2016). Copyright and E-learning: A guide for practitioners. 2nd edition. Facet Publishing. ISBN 9781783300600. Price: £49.95. CILIP members price: £39.96.
It says "Through its practically based overview of current and emerging copyright issues facing those working in e-learning, this book will help equip professionals with the tools, skills and understanding they need to work confidently and effectively in the virtual learning environment with the knowledge that they are doing so legally." More information at http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=300600
Photo by Sheila Webber: Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata) again, Sheffield Botanic Gardens, June 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

July 1st deadline for research applications

The UK's CILIP Information Literacy Group provides funds of up to £10,000 for high quality research through an annual bursary scheme. The IL Group seeks "proposals that have the potential for high impact beyond HE and librarianship.... The bursary might be used, for example, to pay for staff to be released to work on a research project by funding appropriate cover for unpaid leave (2-3 months). Half the funding would be presented at the beginning of a project and the other half upon successful completion of measurable objectives. Different modes of research may attract different levels of funding; for example, a literature review may attract a lower tier of funding (£2,500), while funding for field work could range from £5,000 to a maximum of £10,000." The principal investigator (the person who leads the research) must be a member of the CILIP Information Literacy Group. A key aim is "to help practitioners to gather evidence or conduct action / field research in support of well-framed research questions." In particular ILG are interested in funding projects which:
- "demonstrate collaboration between sectors
- "have tangible, practical benefits (i.e. produce a new process or product with potential application beyond education)
- "address current issues affecting areas outside of librarianship
- "show potential for further large-scale study, dissemination and exploitation"
The next closing date for applications is 1 July 2016
http://www.cilip.org.uk/information-literacy-group/sponsorship-and-bursaries
Photo by Sheila Webber: candytuft, June 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Teachmeet in Chelmsford, 9 July

There is a free Teach meet in Chelmsford (at Anglia Ruskin University), UK, on the afternoon of 9 July 2016. It is organised by ARLG Eastern and CILIP East. "Please join us for an afternoon of knowledge sharing. Everyone is welcome to speak for as little or long as they like. Why not use your time to run a game? Or spark a discussion? We will have enough room for break out groups for informal learning on sofas and for more academic style lecture learning, how you use the space is up to you..."
More information at http://www.cilip.org.uk/east-england/events/teachmeet-east
Book at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/teachmeet-east-tools-and-tips-for-teaching-tickets-26028268251
Photo by Sheila Webber: Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata), Sheffield Botanic Gardens, June 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Outreach to Faculty: participate in online discussion

The ACRL ULS Academic Outreach Committee is running a series of Online Roundtable Discussions, each lasting 1 hour, limited to 9 participants [this was in the announcement, but the registration form I looked at said 12] and 1 facilitator (like a face-to-face roundtable discussion). These are hosted on Google Hangouts on Air. The sessions are recorded and posted to the ACRL ULS Academic Outreach Committee YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjxSyisSf1WgdclboIzfM7Q
June’s Topic is Outreach to Faculty. "We will talk about reaching faculty, and developing programming for faculty whether they're new, tenure-track, or adjuncts. Come prepared to talk about what you're doing, share ideas, successes, and lessons learned. Join us for a lively discussion and leave with great ideas to bring back to your library!" At time of writing there were places for participants, or you can watch the live broadcast.
Sign up to participate at http://connect.ala.org/node/253918
Tuesday, June 14: US times: 10am PST / 11am MST / 12pm CST / 1pm EST; this means it starts 6pm UK time
Wednesday, June 15: US times 11am PST / 12pm MST / 1pm CST / 2pm EST; this means it starts 7pm UK time
Thursday, June 16: US times 12pm PST / 1pm MST / 2pm CST / 3pm EST; this means it starts 8pm UK time
You need a valid Gmail account to participate, and must use a microphone.
Live broadcast will be at https://plus.google.com/+ACRLULSAcademicOutreachCommittee/post
Photo by Sheila Webber: marguerites, June 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

New articles in #JInfoLit : instructor perceptions; assignments; schoolchildern's IL; I-LEARN

The latest issue of the open access Journal of Information Literacy (volume 10 no. 1, 2016) has been published: it includes:
- Instructor perceptions of student information literacy: comparing international IL models to reality by Patricia Sandercock
- Student perspectives: redesigning a research assignment handout through the academic literacies model by Alison Hicks
- Auditing information literacy skills of secondary school students in Singapore by Shaheen Majid, Yun-Ke Chang, Shubert Foo
- Using the I-LEARN model for information literacy instruction by Stacey Greenwell
- Find the gap: evaluating library instruction reach using syllabi by Erin Alcock, Kathryn Rose
There are also numerous conference reports, and book reviews.
https://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/issue/view/178
Photo by Sheila Webber: wild rose, June 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners

New publication: Burkhardt, J. M. (2016). Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners. Facet. 9781783301638. Price: £49.95 CILIP members price: £39.96
http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=301638#
This is also published by ALA Neal Schuman http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=11694
Photo by Sheila Webber, May 2016