Tuesday, May 27, 2014

European Media and Information Literacy Forum 2014: 1st report

I am attending the European Media and Information Literacy Forum 2014 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Despite the title, the focus is mainly on media literacy, influenced by the fact that this is also the final conference for the EMEDUS project (http://www.eumedus.com). However it also reflects the fact that media literacy has more of a hold on national and international agenda (something that information literacy people have to take action on...)

In the session at the moment ("Formal Education: New Curriculum"), the focus is on Media Literacy in the curriculum, with contributions from different countries. Firstly Sara Pareira (University of Minho, Portugal) has highlighted the lack of ML in the curriculum in Portugal, hwoever now there are being introduced ML guidelines for several levels of education. Other important documents include the Braga Manifesto on Media Literacy (2011) and National Educational Council's (2011) recommendations for ML. However these have had relatively little impact, and more is expected of the new Guidelines.
Next, Lazslo Hartai (Hungarian Institute of Educational Research and Development) has explained that media literacy only becomes a separate option at upper secondary level (before that it was, I think, seen to be part of visual literacy).

Unfortunately I have just lost some of my blogging (connection problem, grrr), but I will try to remember what I blogged! Carmen Campos (Spain) stressed the importance of having media literacy as a subject, but also intergrated into the curriculum transversally, and she saw teacher education as vitally important (teachers being supported to teach all forms of literacy). Ditemar Schipek (Austria) felt that ML was well intergrated in Austrian school curricula. He cited the work of the Austrian national library, broadcasters etc. in developing children's ML and also mentioned a conference on gaming aimed at young people. He identified "doing" as important - e.g. children learning how to be broadcasters. He also talked about ways of assessing whether schools are dealing adequately with ML (a "minimum standard"). Patrick Verniers (Belgium) pinpointed ways in which ML might be in the curriculum, but felt that at the moment it was rather reliant on the teacher's individual enthusiasm/ initiative. He proposed a framework for media literacy education (I took photos of those slides, so I may blog that later).

At the moment in the session, the speakers are coming forward again to consider ML education in Europe, as opposed to in their specific country. Interestingly, some speakers see things as having got a worse, posibly due to the Bologna Process of harmonisation of education in Europe. Frequent themes are the lack of requirements for media literacy education as part of teacher education, and the lack of a clear policy framework. Laszlo Hartai mentioned the lack of substantial data on what is going on in classrooms around Europe and some confusion around the concepts of ML, information literacy and digital literacy. The contribution from Natasa Slavikova (Slovakia) included mentioning translating the UNESCO MIL curriculum for teachers into Slovak.

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