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

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