INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM ON MEDIA LITERACY, LISBON, 20 April 2018

Media literacy is a growing field with a need for developing and increasing the research within it.   With each conference, we hope to shorten the present gap by filling it with works from current scholars, new researchers, graduate students, educators and others who have a vested interest in opening this field and moving it forward from all over the world.

Katerina Chryssanthopoulou presented the paper titled: Media literacy: concepts and misconceptions (or the risk to use the same term to report on different sets of skills).

A significant risk when reporting about the status of Media Literacy in any sector lies in definitions. Different interpretations of key MIL terms (either on substantial or merely preferential terms) may lead to misconceptions, which may misdirect assessment of citizens’ needs, thus obscure appropriate policy making.

MIL researchers know that Media Literacy as a concept is not identical to Media Education, though the two overlap in some areas. In general terms, Media Education is “the process of teaching and learning about media” (Buckingham, 2003); while Media Literacy consists of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication (National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), 2016). UNESCO has promoted the concept of Media and Information Literacy (MIL), arguing that in the digital age, media literacy should integrate with information literacy and ICT skills so that people can learn how to handle media messages and information coming from all sources and platforms (Wilson, Grizzle, TuazonAkyempong, & Cheung, 2011).

However, frequently these terms are confused both in public discourse and in practice. For example, when reporting about the sector of education, experience shows that MIL is sometimes interpreted as Media Education or merely Digital Literacy.


During the last decade, MIL concepts have been introduced in the public discourse in Greece, and several organized activities take place. How accurate, though, are we when we use all the different “literacy” terms? Let’s take the example of formal education.

In Greek schools Media Literacy as such is not included in the formal curriculum. In summary, the Greek education system is characterized by a high quantity of information, fragmentary approaches and neglect of soft skills:

  • It is heavily content-based: students deal with masses of information, but they do not really learn how to use, analyze and benefit from it.
  • Skills like critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, deduction, abstracting or finding suitable sources are not given enough attention at school.
  • Educators are not usually adequately trained in media -or sometimes even digital- skills, since MIL subjects are not covered in most pedagogic schools in Universities. Even during their teaching practice, teachers do not have opportunities to receive much MIL training: for example, the (not so many) ICT courses officially offered to teachers by the State do not guide them to use technology in the classroom, but rather focus on issues like the difference between RAM and ROM memory in desktop computers!
  • And, yet, there is a “Fake news” column on Ministry’s website!

In secondary education most students are already expert users of mobile devices. But when they are requested to do homework research, they often just Google some words (not always the suitable key words) and copy paste the first results returned. Apart from the quality and relevance of the data returned by search engines, in comparison to the accumulated structured and evaluated general human knowledge, the main problem in such practices is that students are getting used to the easy solution of the one-size-fits-all online search source.

ICT training is included in the national curriculum (in the Ministry’s programs’ mission statements in the last decade we can read that subjects as ICT skills, ICT literacy, Digital literacy or Knowledge Society are included in secondary and primary education). Also, code programming or STEAM activities are occasionally offered as an extra course in some schools, which participate in certain programs, or relevant after-school activities are organized at the schools’ premises (either by the school itself, or local authorities, or by Parents’ Associations, which have turned into a flexible vehicle to introduce such initiatives).

In general, Media Literacy has significantly improvedin Greece in recent years: international bibliography is translated into Greek, organizations are being established, relevant content is being created, academic papers are produced, public and private entities implement projects and NGOs have started working for the promotion of MIL skills in a more organized way. Their activities span from content production in the Greek language to the creation of internet safety guidelines or to the design of specialized trainings for the general public.

However, in general, Media Literacy Skills at school

– Are usually offered on an ad hoc basis, depending on educator’s own knowledge and motivation;

– Are often presented as “digital skills” or “internet safety guidelines“;

– Are frequently confused with ICT practical skills;

– Are not yet introduced in the formal national curriculum or in the classroom practices; further, they are not prioritized in teachers’ training programs, or in the production & use of educational multimedia tools.

MLI TAKES PART IN DIGITAL ASSEMBLY 2018, INVITED BY THE BULGARIAN PRESIDENCY OF THE EU COUNCIL

The Digital Assembly 2018 is hosted by the European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Digital Assembly is an annual forum where high level policymakers and stakeholders come together to debate EU digital policy. It offers a unique opportunity for frank and future-focused discussions, as well as invaluable networking opportunities.

A detailed program is available on the Digital Assembly webpage

The Digital Assembly is a major annual forum that gathers more than 1,000 stakeholders and high-level policymakers to debate the EU digital policy and the implications of recent technological developments.

This year’s edition came at a crucial time as the European Council has called for the full implementation of the Digital Single Market strategy by 2018. At the same time the Commission proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework is being discussed by Member States and the European Parliament. Part of the future long-term budget of the EU will be used to bridge digital investment gaps between Member States and tackle challenges in key areas of the digital economy. A large number of EU citizens and businesses is expected to benefit from such process.

The Assembly also wrapped up a series of important achievements that the Bulgarian Presidency brought in the policy area of the Digital Single Market:

MLI AT MIND OVER MEDIA WORKSHOP, BRUSSELS, 13 NOVEMBER 2018

In January 2018 a consortium of 7 EU partners from Belgium, Poland, France, Finland, Romania and Croatia will launch a year-long international project to teach and learn about contemporary propaganda as inspired by the ever-changing world of news, entertainment, advertising, and social media.

Students and teachers in every country in Europe and all around the world get exposure to many forms of increasingly sophisticated and potentially beneficial and harmful propaganda through their mobiles, tablets and laptops and in public spaces in their neighborhoods and communities. They make wise and well-informed decisions in choosing which propaganda to share with their social networks. In formal and informal contexts, they benefit from opportunities to engage deeply in conversations about contemporary social, political and cultural issues and topics, analyzing the special features of new forms of propaganda, including memes, viral media, and content marketing that we now experience through online social networks. People access meaningful critique of propaganda through mass media, including on television and in newspapers and magazines. Educators at all levels include the study of contemporary propaganda in the language, social studies and science curriculum because they understand the importance of preparing students for 21st century citizenship, building competencies and life skills that prepare students to be fully engaged in robust dialogue and deliberation of controversial issues of public concern.

High levels of public apathy and disengagement are combining with growing political polarization in ways that challenge the future of democracy in Europe and around the world. Concerns about terrorism, migration/immigration, Islamophobia, radicalization, and populist and extremist forms of nationalism grow larger with each passing month. Educators want to address these concerns but need ideas, lesson plans and digital education resources and tools that help them support the development of learners’ critical thinking skills in ways that promote tolerance, increase intellectual curiosity, and build appreciation of diverse perspectives and interpretations.

For these reasons we created “Mind over Media in EU”. This project aims at developing a European network of educators and professionals and to create an educational multilingual (7 EU languages + English) crowdsourced online platform Mind over Media. Thanks to the platform, its users learn how to recognize propaganda, rate examples, interpret their messages and assess their impact, browse and sort examples uploaded on the site and upload and share examples from their communities. The platform actions will be accompanied by sets of contextualised educational resources and online and offline workshops and seminars for teachers, librarians and media leaders.

The project will be developed by the Evens Foundation team in cooperation with the Association for Communication and Media Culture (Croatia), Center for Citizenship Education (Poland), Finnish Society on Media EducationIMEC / Mediawijs (Belgium), Mediawise Society (Romania), and Media Maker / Citizen Press (France).

The scientific supervisor of the project will be Prof. Renee Hobbs from the Media Education Lab at the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media who is the creator of Mind over Media methodology and platform.

Check the news about the project here: www.mindovermedia.eu.com

Mind over Media is an initiative of the Evens Foundation implemented in collaboration with project partners.

MLI as partner and participant in 2018 Summer Academy organized by  School of Journalism and Mass Communications of Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh).

Sissy Alonistiotou and Katerina Chryssanthopoulou presented the paper titled: “The two-way relationship between journalists and news consumers during the “crisis” from 2011 until today: The Greek case”.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications of Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh), Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration Journalism along with other partners, University of Zagreb, University of Novi-Sad, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University, Deutsche Welle Akademie(DW Akademie), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Media Literacy Institute and Proof organisation will organise the 2nd Thessaloniki International Media Summer Academy: New Trends in Media and Journalism: Disinformation, Verification of News and Constructive Journalism in a Changing World in Thessaloniki, Greece between 13th-21st July 2018.  The joint initiative brings together the reputation, expertise of respected and well-known institutions from Europe, Asia and USA. In addition, it will have the support of established organisations, companies and think tanks.

Description:

In today’s world, accurate information is an increasingly critical resource for our understanding of the world. Building on the success of the 2017 Summer School, we are looking forward to welcoming another cohort of student participants from all over the world to Thessaloniki International Media Summer Academy. This year the Summer Academy will focus on new trends on media and journalism with emphasis on how to deal with disinformation, fake news and verification techniques and competences needed.

The intensive multi-disciplinary training course aims to provide in-depth knowledge and robust skills on important topics and evolutions in media and communication.  Participants in this course will emerge with a better understanding of the latest academic research, policy, market and professional trends in the focused area, as well as develop a network of colleagues to share their experiences, ideas and points of views.

The International Media Summer Academy will address and focus on issues that are timely and critically important:

  • The influence of fake news
  • Developing methods of news verification
  • New Trends in Media, Journalism and News
  • Constructive Journalism
  • Media Literacy