Global Media and Information Literacy Week conference, and I'll do a blog post on that session later.
Following that, I attended a session on MIL in the workplace. The presentaters were all packing a lot of interesting material into a short time, so I hope this account is reasonably accurate. Yanqiu Zhang (Communication University of China) talked about a study of Chinese government officials' training in media literacy. The Government has encouraged public sector agencies to engage with social media to deliver better services etc. There were differences by region and by profession. Similarly there were variations on what was studied and the approach to teaching. Mostly the people who received training were spokespersons, with responsibility for communication. One of the conclusions was that there was an aspect specifically to do with using social media as an organisation rather than as an individual.
Julie Roberge (a poor photo of one of her slides of herself is shown) talked about MIL in the context of the Canadian Armed Forces (she had been Senior Public Affairs Officer), and specifically in serving in Afghanistan. She talked about the low literacy rate, and the lack of schooling, especially for girls. Only 14% of Afghani recruits were literate, so that had issues for training them (which is what they were doing). Roberge stressed how important cultural understanding was, particularly in this situation where they were there to train. It was difficult to know who to trust, and it was a challenge to convince the local population that you were there to help. There were seven local languages, and a translator was needed, especially as communication had to be verbal.
Thus she felt that the development of intercultural skills prior to a mission was vital, including for the mental health of soldiers on their return. Roberge felt that use of mobile phones did combine with MIL to give more hope, enabling Afghani citizens to connect internationally. There is also a serious game on cultural competency in Afghanistan which soldiers can take prior to deployment
Daniela Cornelia Stix (University of Applied Science and Art, Germany) talked on Perception and usage of online social network (OSN) sites in youth work and its influence on educational relationships. She saw OSN as "performatively constructed spaces". She used ethnographic methods including interviews and a grounded theory approach for analysis. I think there were about 20 interviews of youth workers. For the youth workers who were subjects of the study, there was more emphasis on informing and creating a profile, rather than social interaction. She looked at how the youthworkers were using social media in the context of engaging students educationally. For example, by being on Facebook the youth worker can create communication offers, and also individual barriers (e.g. expressed worries from a young person about clashing with some other people) can be overcome (e.g. saying what alternative spaces could be used). Thus OSN provide a direct channel, a personal one, and also one that can be maintained.