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Open Data and Media Literacies: Educating for Democracy


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Presentation for OER17 conference

Published in: Education
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Open Data and Media Literacies: Educating for Democracy

  1. 1. Open Data and Media Literacies: Educating for Democracy Javiera Atenas Leo Havemann Andrea Menapace
  2. 2. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. (Shaull 1972, p. 13)
  3. 3. eg
  4. 4. Who needs media literacies? Media studies as a discipline: • often derided as useless • ‘no jobs’ What is its purpose? • critical analysis • who’s telling the story • form is content • factual/fictional blurred • examine operations of power
  5. 5. News media and news values • what phenomena become ‘news’? • ‘news values’ as selection criteria From Harcup & O’Neill (2016)
  6. 6. There may be little doubt that digital media can help challenge mainstream news agendas, but the most popular stories do not reflect this democratic ideal. Rather, the most common news value is entertainment; such stories seem to be shared by online readers because they are fun, and sharing them can brighten the day. This suggests a possible new news value… : shareability. ... the most shared stories tend to be “stuff that makes you laugh and stuff that makes you angry” (Harcup and O’Neill, 2016)
  7. 7. so: mainstream media is flawed... now add into the mix: the new diffusion of news sources, including fake news/alternative facts (boyd, 2017) the impact of search and social filter bubbles (Pariser, 2011) and now the weaponization of personal data
  8. 8. when equipped with a critical attitude, learners can become agents of change who recognise and challenge stereotypes and transform social structures. (Zembylas, 2012) Learners must be capable of critically analysing information from various sources and formats, including data, as capabilities in analysing and interpreting raw data are becoming understood as increasingly important both in and out of the workplace, contributing to a person’s range of transversal skills, which are defined by UNESCO (2015) as “critical and innovative thinking, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, and global citizenship”.
  9. 9. Students should be able to critique and fact-check news. One way of fact checking news reports is to seek out source data, e.g. open data. But! Data is not a flawless form of information, it is produced via a process of deciding what questions to ask, and how. Who decides? Data is a source for checking media narratives against but must also be questioned. The growing importance of data makes data literacy increasingly vital. Open data affords an opportunity for students to engage with real data and also raises their data awareness.
  10. 10. The mainstream media spins stories that are largely racist, violent, and irresponsible - stories that celebrate power and demonize victims, all the while camouflaging its pedagogical influence under the cheap veneer of entertainment. (Henry Giroux)
  11. 11. Although a lot of the emphasis in the “fake news” discussion focuses on content that is widely spread and downright insane, much of the most insidious content out there isn’t in your face (Boyd, 2017) In academic studies, students are asked to research and shape narratives in the forms of essays and reports, to avoid plagiarism, to reference and think critically. But generally speaking, they are asked to engage with academic literature. Because of concerns around ‘reliability’ of popular media sources, citing them is often not recommended. Engaging with and learning to understand the academic literature on a topic is important, but it is as if the information you consume in daily life is going on in a parallel universe.
  12. 12. “statistics are quite the opposite of elitist. They enable journalists, citizens and politicians to discuss society as a whole, not on the basis of anecdote, sentiment or prejudice, but in ways that can be validated. The alternative to quantitative expertise is less likely to be democracy than an unleashing of tabloid editors and demagogues to provide their own “truth” of what is going on across society” (Davies, 2017).
  13. 13. Journalism, can be divided into certain categories (simplified version). one is the traditional way of telling a story, reporting on a fact with an independent (or not) perspective, the other one is data journalism, telling stories using data and numbers as principal characters giving the readers a different view of a phenomena, and then we have the corporate newspapers, serving their masters, and then, we have media that is pure propaganda, just try watching Fox news without being infuriated.
  14. 14. Data journalism is a journalism specialty reflecting the increased role that numerical data is used in the production and distribution of information If we can ask student to apply data journalism techniques to assess their sources of information, to use storytelling techniques combining data, media and academic sources to represent a phenomena asking them to observe and to research their sources (who owns the newspaper) to write their essays, we are teaching them transversal skills that can help them to understand and participate in the society
  15. 15. Really?? Not according to the CORE (COntinuous REcording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England.)
  16. 16. “Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose”
  17. 17. By using real data from research developed at their own institution, multidisciplinary research projects enable opportunities to develop students’ research and literacy skills and critical thinking skills by establishing ways for collaborations amongst students, researchers and academics.
  18. 18. it is wrong to assume that we are somehow being liberated through improved media technologies (Jenkins, 2006)
  19. 19. With the rise of new technologies, media, and other cultural apparatuses as powerful forms of public pedagogy, students need to understand and address how these pedagogical cultural apparatuses work to diffuse learning from any vestige of critical thought. This is a form of public pedagogy that needs to be addressed both for how it deforms and for how it can create important new spaces for emancipatory forms of pedagogy. (Henry Giroux)