On Air, The European project on Media Education

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  • 1. The On Air Web Portal Maria Ranieri*, Alberto Parola***Faculty of Education – University of Florence maria.ranieri@unifi.it **Faculty of Education – University of Turin alberto.parola@unito.it 7th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 1
  • 2. Media Education in Europe. The normative context Over the last ten years the European Commission (EC) has promotedseveral initiatives in order to encourage the development of digital and medialiteracy in the EU Member States.Just to mention some initiatives, In December 2006 the European Parliament(EP) and the Council released:• Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning(2006/962/EC), a new framework for key competences including digitalcompetence among the competences for lifelong learning.• Recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity(2006/952/EC), where the following aspects are emphasized: the need forteacher training on media literacy; the inclusion of media literacy in thecurriculum to enhance children’s capacity of self-protection and promoteresponsible attitudes among all users.See: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/media/literacy/docs/studies/country/europe.pdf 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 2
  • 3. Media Education in Europe. Scholars and ResearchFaced with these booming initiatives, some research areasdeserve further development, particularly on the pedagogical-educational and assessment levels (Ceretti, Felini, Giannatelli,2006; Trinchero in Parola, 2008).This dimension has recently been highlighted by various writers. Forexample, Jacquinot (2009) observes: “too often we forget to work oneducational theories or concepts that are at the root of mediaeducation problems, and in schools, on the pedagogical methodsused by media education experts” (p.145). The (undesirable) sideeffects of this scarce awareness of theories and methods areinterventions often based on implicit assumptions which are notdiscussed or are not very clear: “Actions are taken, (so-called good)practices are catalogued, policies are developed and assessmentsare made, but most of the times the theories that inspire them arenot made clear” (p.147), and – we add – nor are the relativeassessment criteria. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 3
  • 4. The On Air ProjectThe European Project «On Air» stems from the wide framework previuoslyoutlined and constitutes an attempt at considering media educational practices asresearch objects, reflecting on pedagogical models and teaching instruments usedin the field of ME, and defining tools for the documentation and assessment ofpractices.The project was funded by the European Commission within the Life LongLearning Program 2008/2010.It was promoted by the Italian Association of Media Education (MED) and theFaculty of Communication (La Sapienza, Rome, Italy).Other partners were: INFOREF (Belgium), Zinev Art Technologies (Bulgaria), Pixel(Italy), Easy Technology (Italy), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania),WSinf (Poland), ActiveWatch-Media Monitoring Agency (Romania).http://www.onair.medmediaeducation.it/ 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 4
  • 5. Aims and StructureThe pedagogical research was articulated into three main phases, i.e. Testing Designing ME and teaching developing materials Analisys of case ME studies teaching materials 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 5
  • 6. First phase: Analisys of case studiesThis first phase of the research consisted of identifying, collecting anddocumenting ME practices and experiences carried out in the nationalcontexts of the countries involved in the project.The purpose was twofold:• analyze all the collected practices to discover possible trends in MEpractices with a focus on media skills/competences and pedagogicalissues;• valorise teachers’ work, by selecting and disseminating significantME experiences carried out in schools. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 6
  • 7. Second Phase: Designing and Developing ME ModulesThe purpose of this phase was to plan and develop eight ME modulesregarding four media competence areas:(1) reading the media: the ability to read media and decode medialanguages;(2) write the media: the capacity of producing the media text and to usedigital instruments for creative purposes;(3) critical understanding and evaluating the media: entails thecomplex attitude to observe media contents and objects with a distance;(4) media consumption awareness: the capacity of creating awarenessas to choices in the consumption of media understanding their explicitand implicit messages in different situations. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 7
  • 8. Third phase: Testing ME ModulesThe last research phase focused on the experimentation of the eight MEmodules with two purposes:• define and try a common testing protocol, possibly re-usable ortransferable to other contexts;• test the effectiveness and the quality of educational processespromoted with the ME modules. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 8
  • 9. Results Fhase One (a)About 300 ME practices were collected through the filling out of a formstructured in a way to acquire information about the media competenceareas involved, teaching methods used, documentation and assessmenttools, challenges and problems, results and transferability levels.The forms were published in English on the online database of the OnAirportal and are freely accessible.The practices collected in this way underwent a quantitative analysisthrough a long and complex encoding procedure, and they were alsoanalysed, discussed and assessed by expert teachers on the basis of acommon set of indicators. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 9
  • 10. Results Fhase One (b)Emerging trends and issues:• A first interesting point regards competence areas. Among thetypical objectives of the media education practices, the most frequentones are related to media writing and reading skills, while skills relatedto media consumption are the least frequent ones irrespective of thespecific national contexts.This fact seems to suggest that, on one hand, ME gets more feedbackwhen it is combined with the development of skills that are more easilyreferable to the traditional curriculum. On the other hand, it could beindicative of the difficulty of teachers to structure teaching activitiesaimed at fostering aware consumption of media, a difficulty thatshould/could be overcome by developing more tools in this less familiararea of ME. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 10
  • 11. Results Fhase One (c)Emerging trends and issues:• A second point that deserves attention is the fact that the so-calleddigital media are clearly prevalent: computers and Web 1.0/2.0 seemto dominate school media practices. In order to reflect over this point andits implications we should also mention another element related to thelarge number of media education practices oriented at the production ofmedia, which is probably a consequence of the proliferation ofuser-friendly digital tools for media creation.At the same time, it should also be pointed out that classic MediaEducation topics, like analysis of stereotypes and of representation orthe study of forms of media like cinema, are almost completely lacking. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 11
  • 12. Results Fhase One (d)Emerging trends and issues:• Another element stands out in the data collected. It regards thescarce attention given to documentation of media education activitiescarried out in class.We know that documentation is far from being simple and that it presentsthe teacher with a real challenge: how can a teaching experience bedescribed? How can a multidimensional and complex activity like teachingbe translated into words?At the same time, if it is deemed necessary to enhance and improveresearch around practices, documentation becomes just about inevitable,especially in the perspective pursued in this study and inspired byresearch-action. And yet, the documentation field is still weak. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 12
  • 13. Results Fhase One (e)Emerging trends and issues:• Let us finally consider assessment. Most of the collected experiencesdid not plan any tools explicitly and consciously aimed at assessingstudents’ learning. We are all interested in carrying out learning activitiesthat are effective, but few focus on the problem of assessment and theconstruction of adequate tools. As some scholars (Bisogno,1995) remindsus to consider documentation as “knowing what was done to be able to do”,we ask to consider assessment as “evaluating carefully what was doneto be able to do better”. 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 13
  • 14. Results Fhase TwoEight media education modules have been planned in four mediacompetence areas that were identified in the initial phase: reader, writer,user, critical thinker. An example: http://www.onair.medmediaeducation.it/workingtoolsandmediabasededucationalmaterial12.aspx#Critical_3 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 14
  • 15. Results Phase ThreeApart from the specific results achieved in the single countries,three elements deserve being highlighted• The importance of the theory-practice circle•The importance of the dialogical and peer reviewing activities•The importance of the Project, the Process, the Product 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 15
  • 16. The On Air Web Portal 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 16
  • 17. Thank you!For further details, see:Parola A., Ranieri M., Media Education inAction, Florence University Press, Firenze,2010.Online:http://www.fupress.com/scheda.asp?idv=2096 6th of April 2011, Hangzhou College of Education - Zhejiang University 17