Global Media and Information Literacy Week conference is on Incorporating MIL in education policies and other social policies and programmes.
The session was moderated by Carolyn Wilson (Chair, GAPMIL International Steering Committee, Lecturer, Western University, Canada). The first speaker was Tomas Durán-Becerra (National Research Director, National Unified Corporation of National Education, Colombia) who talked about MIL in Latin America. He started by acknowledging the work of Jesus Lau. They had undertaken a content analysis of documents relating to policies, curricila etc. in 11 Latin American countries, as well as a literature review, and examination of relevant statistics. They identified whether there were relevant national agencies or campaigns. A questionnaire was produced: asking questions about MIL curriculum, policy, MIL industry and telecommunications industry, MIL and civil society, and other MIL activities. The speaker presented findings in terms of literacy rates, internet users etc.
In terms of some larger conclusions: on the good side, for example, there is a variety of OERs, all countries have departments for education and access to and policies on technology, but there were problems in a number of MIL-specific areas e.g. few countries had MIL agencies/departments, there were few MIL policies, there is a huge emphasis on digital skills, but little development of media competence. (There was lots of detail in this presentation, I couldn't capture a lot of it)
Out of all this they calculated the MIL-readiness, Costa Rica came out as the most MIL ready and Ecuador the least (using the UNESCO assessment framework). There were big differences in some specific categories, e.g. Civil Society.
Wang Tiande (Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, China) presented on the research status of China's media literacy education. He said that media literacy was effectively introduced into China in 1997 as a research topic. In 2003 the first international media literacy conference was hosted in China. Strands of ML research included: developing ML theory and focusing on ML practice (including looking at ML education in schools and teacher training). Distinctive specialisms, relating ML to other subjects, also have emerged.
Monika Johansson and Tobias Ruhtenberg (University of Borås, Sweden) talked about Media and Information Literacy in education. They described a course, of the same name, based on the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy framework. It is an online course, with the target learners being educators and librarians. Topics include the MIL concept, digital tools, professional development, collaboration between teachers and school librarians, social media and big data, source evaluation, the digital divide, action research, and sustainability of MIL development.
Collaborators are the Swedish Media Council, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, Filmpedagogerna, and the Nordicom Clearinghouse at the University of Gothenburg. Additionally the two speakers come from different departments (librarianship and education). Course work consists of a report on a practical MIL project and a wiki-page demonstrating critical skills. Following on from this they are talking with Kenyan partners on extending the course and incorporating intercultural dialogue.
Tatiana Murovana (UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, Russia) was the next speaker. She identified that there had been an increase in activities and awareness of MIL in the Commonwealth of Independent States. For example, there are secondary school curricula incorporating MIL in Moldova and Armenia, Russia had a government programme on the information society (but the latter only focusing on media literacy, rather than MIL). There has been localisation and promotion of the UNESCO MIL curriculum for teachers in Russia.
Nevertheless , media education is a sensitive issue as regards values and social effects, which can hinder its acceptance and development. The speaker felt that there was a need to have a more unified MIL brand and definition,
Finally Leo Pekkala talked about Shifts in Media Literacy education paradigms. He contrasted school education in the 1950s with the current Finnish approach which supports learners constructing their own reality, and this includes developing multiliteracies. He said that there had been a Media Literacy Week for 6 years in Finland, and there is also a gaming week. As an example, one thing they developed to help develop media literacy in politics is http://www.populismibingo.fi/en On the other hand he warned against seeing ML as a solution for everything. Pekkala referred to the term “expansive learning”, which is required for being able to learn about/discover new ways of doing things in a changing world. Finally, Media Literacy was not needed for itself, but for what it can support or enable e.g. peace.
Photo by Sheila Webber