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Ghent Conference Report


International Conference Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, & Education …

International Conference Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, & Education
Ghent University,
9-­‐11 February 2012

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 1.     International  Conference   Literacy  and  Society,  Culture,  Media,  &  Education   Ghent  University,  EMPATIC  &  EMSOC   9-­‐11  February  2012     This  project  has  been  funded  with  support  from  the  European  Commission    
  • 2. International  Conference     Literacy  and  Society,  Culture,  Media,  &  Education     Ghent  University,  EMPATIC  &  EMSOC     9-­‐11  February  2012       Brief  report    1.    Background  Following  the  political  unrest  and  uncertainty  in  Greece,  the  PMB  took  a  unanimous  decision  to  look  for  a  new  host  country  for  the  EMPATIC  Final  Conference.  Using  the  stakeholders  database,  two  possibilities  emerged:  an  international  conference      Literacy  and  Society,  Culture,   Media,   &   Education   being   hosted   by   Ghent   University   and   an   event   entitled   European   Meeting   on  Media  and  Information  Literacy  Education,  an  idea  and  proposed  joint  initiative  on  a  number  of  European  bodies  but  at  the  time  had  not  focussed  directly  on  preparing  a  programme.    EMPATIC  was  able  to  bring  substance  to  both  organisers  at  the  same  time  as  opening  both  events  to  EMPATIC  stakeholders.  Carol  Priestley,  Manager,  EMPATIC  travelled  to  Ghent  to  meet  with  the  Ghent  University,  discuss  ideas  of  mutual  interest  and  offer  a  first  draft  outline  programme.  2.    Management  and  Organisation  Ghent   University   was   pleased   to   share   both   administrative   and   programme   roles   and   also   introduce   EMPATIC   to  another  interesting  partner  –  EMSOC  (User  Empowerment  in  a  Social  Media  Culture)  3.  Programme  In   an   age   of   digitality   and   mass   media,   perceptions   about   and   practices   of   culture,   pedagogy   and   educational  systems  are  undergoing  rapid  changes  and  debate.  Among  other  issues  and  developments,  the  impact  of  digitality  results  in  new  perspectives  on  literacy(ies).    A  copy  of  the  full  programme  is  attached  at  Appendix  1.  Participants  in  the  conference  were  invited  to  explore  theories,  practices,  and  applications  for  the  study  of  the  interrelations   of   digitality   and   contemporary   society,   culture,   and   pedagogy   in   thematic   sections   of   1)   Media   and  Society,  2)  Media  and  Culture,  3)  Media  and  Education,  and  4)  Media  and  Information  Literacy.    The  final  day  of  the  programme  (Saturday  11  February)  was  devoted  to  verifying  EMPATIC  recommendations.  4.  Participants  Wide  publicity  was  undertaken  to  try  to  ensure  a  fully  represented  participation.    A  list  of  attendees  is  attached  at  Appendix  2.      Regrettably  there  were  additionally  a  number  of  regrets  because  of  a  viral  infection  sweeping  Belgium.  5.  Conclusions  From   the   point   of   view   of   EMPATIC   the   conference   was   highly   successful.       Each   sector   of   EMPATIC   was  represented  and  discussion  was  extremely  lively.        Participants  were  both  interested  in  the  overall  aims  of  the  project  and  also  keen  to  be  activity  engaged  in  discussing  the  recommendations  and  being  involved  in  any  follow-­‐up.  
  • 3. Recommendations  to  Policy  Makers  by  the  Ghent  conference  participants  included:     1. The   participants   agreed   that   Information   Literacy   is   vital   for   the   today’s   society   in   Europe   and   as   such   should  be  developed  and  promoted  in  different  contexts  and  by  various  means.  They  also  pointed  out   that  there  exist  a  few  IL  related  projects  going  on  in  local  communities  in  Europe  under  the  names  of   “media  literacy”  or  even  “media  wisdom”.     2. The   importance   of   Information   Literacy   needs   to   be   publicized   not   only   to   governments,   ministries   and   policy   makers   on   the   national   or   EU   levels   but   also   to   local   authorities,   businesses,   small   social   groups  and  all  citizens.     3. The   strategy   of   IL   development   should   encompass   two   main   lines   of   action:   IL   awareness   building   among  authorities  and  governments  on  the  national  and  European  levels   4. Substantial,   real   work,   “step   by   step”,   “project   by   project”   on   the   local   level   by   particular   schools,   universities,  libraries,  etc.     5. The   most   of   participants   expressed   the   feeling   that   “slow”   strategy,   based   on   “small   projects”   addressed   to   different   target   groups,   communities,   professions,   etc.   would   be   more   effective   than   having   a   central   EU   body   responsible   for   the   IL   development   or   the   formal   European   IL   policy   directives.     6. Thus,   the   “IL   awareness   building”   and   “central   goals”   approach   clearly   prevailed   over   the   “central   steering”   one.   Also,   having   clearly   stated   Information   Literacy   goals   (national,   European)   may   help   anyone  wanting  to  convince/influence  local  authorities  to  support  IL  development  programmes.     7. One  of  the  tactical  observations  has  been  that  “incentives  work  better  than  orders”,  meaning  that  IL   development  policy  based  on  incentives  for  those  who  introduce  IL  (teachers,  librarians,  businesses,   local  authorities)  would  be  the  effective  one.                  
  • 4. Project funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot beheld responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. 1