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Project "Media and Information Literacy Education"

 

Project background

With the constantly increasing flow of information received through the media and other information channels, the abilities to find information, understand and critically evaluate it, use it and also express one become more and more important. Children and young people are the ones who are most exposed to new media and at the same time the ones that often lack abilities to independently and critically evaluate what they encounter in the flow of media and information.

 

Taking into account todays’ political context in Europe, media and information literacy (hereinafter MIL) as such and especially MIL education for children and youth becomes an extremely important field to focus on. Although not all the Nordic countries have an overall national policy regarding MIL issues, the aspects of MIL seem to be in much higher degree contained within respective policy areas than in Lithuania, where unless some progress and valuable, although sporadic, initiatives, awareness on the importance of MIL and MIL education still is at the early stage of development. Although there have been attempts to spotlight the importance of MIL education, there is a big need for increased awareness on MIL in general. Appropriate decisions on the national policy are still lacking. There is a need for curricula, methodologies, practical tools for MIL education at schools and higher education institutions, and competence building for teachers. A broader dialogue between the actors on the national level as well as internationally would contribute to an effective impulse in the development of MIL education.

 

Project partners

The project is implemented by Education Development Centre (hereinafter - EDC) together with Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania and Ministry of Education and Science.

Nordic partners: Nordic information Centre for Media and Communication Research NORDICOMSwedish Media Council, universities and other national actors in the field of media literacy education.

 

Duration of the project: July 2014 – December 2015.

 

Aim and purpose

This project is initiated by the NCM Office in Lithuania and aims to create a platform for a dialogue and cooperation among Lithuanian stakeholders and their Nordic counterparts, and in a broader view to share the Nordic values such as importance of an open society, respect to and nurturing of tolerant, critically thinking and responsible citizens. The purpose is to create systemic preconditions for development of media and information literacy education based on the best Nordic experiences in integrating MIL into general and non-formal education, to create a basis for further Lithuanian (and Baltic) - Nordic cooperation in developing Media and Information Literacy education in an even broader scale.

 

The initiative in linked to the themes of the Strategy for Nordic Cultural Cooperation 2013–2020 (The Young Nordic Region and The Digital Nordic Region), to the Icelandic Chairmanship Programme 2014 (New Knowledge and focus on children and youth), and NCM programmes Green Growth and Sustainable Nordic Welfare.

 

Project activities

In order to achieve the purpose, the following activities are planned:

  • Public awareness: to actualize the concept of MIL among teachers and other stakeholders in the field of education. Compared with the Nordic countries, the concept of MIL in Lithuania is still not so widespread. Therefore there is a lack of unified MIL education.
  • MIL dissemination: to map the current and future initiatives and materials on MIL in the country and supplement them with the best Nordic experiences of MIL education. There is quite much information available, which in its essence is related with MIL, but it is not correlated. Coordination of all the existing and new initiatives would contribute to their effectiveness.
  • Renewal of Curriculum: to introduce MIL education in the education regulations, using the Nordic experience and practice. In order to achieve sustainability of the project results, the concept and content of MIL are to be included in the curricula regulating documents (primary, basic and secondary education standards, educational plans and common programmes).
  • Competence building: to develop MIL competencies of teachers and other actors of education system (students of educational sciences, school librarians), required for MIL education in schools. This task requires developing of special methodological material, based on the identified needs within MIL education, organizing innovative forms of competence building, using the best examples of the Nordic countries.

 

Results of the Project:

  • Methodological material concerning MIL education was created. The material is designed for teachers to use in settings of formal and non-formal education working with pupils of grades 9-12th grades; it consists of both theoretical part concerning 20 MIL topics, and practical part, where interactive methods and activities are proposed.
  • 4 handbooks concerning MIL education for pupils from primary, basic and secondary education, as well as for parents who have primary-school-age children, were translated and adapted to the Lithuanian context (the materials had been produced by the Swedish Media Council, the Swedish National Agency for Education, and the Finnish National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI)).
  • 15 MIL training events for more than 300 teachers were organized. The teachers were representatives of 63 schools selected to participate in the project; each team consisted of 5 persons: 3 teachers, the school librarian, and 1 representative of administrative staff. The teams participated in 2 events each, tested the MIL methodological materials and gave feedback, carried out various events at their schools.
  • In order to disseminate the good practice of the Nordic countries and the project results, 2 conferences have been organized, as well as a seminar on MIL education in the school libraries; representatives of schools and higher education institutions from Sweden and Finland shared their experience and good practice examples (total number of participants: 170).
  • Various other workshops and seminars for attendees of the national education exhibition “School” have been organized in 2014 and 2015 (12 events).
  • 3 live internet video broadcasts on “Teacher television” were organized. The topics explored in the broadcasts concerned the definition of MIL and its concept, information literacy education in schools, and the role of media in dissemination and reinforcement of migrant-related and other cultural stereotypes. The broadcasts have been viewed more than 800 times.
  • In order to achieve sustainability of the project results, recommendations on inclusion of the competencies of MIL into the curricula regulating documents have been developed.
  • Recommendations for schools on integration of MIL-related activities into the school life (comprising of recommendations for school administrators, librarians, teachers of different subjects, as well as non-formal education activities) have been developed based on the experience and insights of the schools participating in the project.

 

Project "Media and Information Literacy Education (II stage)" 

The aim of the project is to ensure a sustainable spread of media and information literacy education in Lithuania, based on the best Nordic experiences.

 

1. Development of pool of trainers for teacher MIL training:

  • A pool of 14 trainers in MIL has been created; the pool consists of 7 representatives of universities as well as 7 school teachers that already have experience in MIL education;
  • In order to ensure the spread of the Nordic values such as importance of an open society, respect to and nurturing of tolerant, critically thinking and responsible citizens, as well as the good practice of the Nordic countries in MIL education, the team of trainers participated in a 4-day-long training with Goran Andersson, who in the recent years was one of the team of people developing materials for MIL education in Sweden, on the www.mediekompass.se portal. During the training, the participants explored the culture of mass media in Sweden, their ethical principles, as well as the experiences of MIL education at Swedish schools; in this way, they prepared to implement the 2nd activity of the project, i.e. the teaher trainings and consultations.

 

2. Practical implementation of teacher training and consultations

  • Members of the pool of MIL trainers have carried out 13 trainings for teachers and school librarians on Media education (duration of the trainings: 2 working days, plus, a day of autonomous work on lesson plans for their pupils). The aim of the trainings is to develop and broaden teachers’ basic knowledge in MIL, to teach how to use the existing resources of MIL education. The trainings were mostly carried out together with the regional teacher training centers, in 9 different municipalities; special attention was given to the regions with largest communities of Russian and Polish minorities, which is why some of the trainings were organized in the Visaginas, Šalčininkai, Klaipėda regions.

The trainers also consulted the participating teachers during the practical implementation stage after trainings to assist during integration of MIL into various subjects.

328 teachers and school librarians participated in the trainings.

  • In order to help the teachers in their efforts to introduce MIL to their school communities, 15 teachers whose lesson plans were be considered best, have been awarded: 10 of them went to a study visit to a Nordic country (Sweden or Finland) to explore and record the best practices in MIL education, and integration of MIL into the school life; 5 teachers got a possibility to invite a trainer to their school, who met their students and other staff of school, and held a lecture on MIL-related topics, aimed at critical evaluation of the mass media.

All in all, 10 teachers and school librarians participated in study visits (5 went to Sweden on 2-5th of April; 5 went to Finland on 18-21st of April), and there were 5 seminars for 185 pupils organized in the regions of Šalčininkai (which has a large population of Polish-speaking minority), Širvintos and Molėtai.

  • Additionally, a 2-day-long training for school librarians on information literacy education was organized, which was focused on information literacy, the use of databases, search engines, and other Internet tools to teach children information literacy. Recommendations on how to strengthen the librarians’ role as educators at schools were developed, in order to help them better carry out the task of information literacy providers. 24 school librarians participated in the training.

 

3. Ensuring project visibility and dissemination of results.

  • The project was presented at the biggest annual event for schools – exhibition/tool-fair “School-2016” in order to spread the idea of MIL education at the schools that are not participating in the project, 3 seminars were organized on the following topics: information literacy, news literacy, and safety on the internet. 119 participants took part in them. Additionally, a seminar was organized in the regional fair in spring, 2017, on methods which help integrate MIL into lessons more successfully (40 participants), and an information seminar for school consultants, on how to integrate MIL into the educational content (22 participants).
  • 5 live internet video broadcasts on the “Teachers TV” of the Education Development Center have been organized in order to explore important MIL-related topics as well as to reach out to the teachers who have not participated in the project, so that they can also partly develop their MIL competences. Recordings of the broadcasts were made available online, on the “Teacher TV” webpage and the MIL portal: https://duomenys.ugdome.lt/mir; the topics concerned: the use “Inconvenient films”, which is an online platform of documentary films for teachers to use to facilitate discussions on difficult topics with their students; also, the fake news and how to critically evaluate the quality of news; the use of social media at schools, especially their usefulness for teachers; 2 broadcasts concerned e-safety (passwords, malware, identity thefts, etc.). The total number of views of the videos of the broadcasts, on the 31st of May, 2017, is 2141.
  • The mass media was also used to promote the project and the importance of MIL in the society: we participated in a radio programme on ZIP radio to discuss why we need MIL (the main audience of which is youngsters); also, 5 publications were prepared, which were published on 13 news websites, the publications concerned the project activities.
  • The project was presented in 9 other events organized by the Education Development Center, and events organized by other institutions or organizations; 4 of them were international events.
  • MIL event: a final project conference on MIL was held at the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. It was 0organized by the Education Development Center together with the Parliament, as well as the ministries of Education, Culture, and National Defence, the Nordic Council of Ministers Office of Lithuania, the British Council. The aim of the conference was to disseminate project results, as well as to strengthen cross-sectoral cooperation and communication in order to make the efforts of each of the partners, as well as NGOs, more complimentary to each other, and thus, more sustainable. About 210 participants from partner organizations, NGOs, municipalities and various other institutions participated in the conference.

 

As an overall result, the prepared pool of MIL trainers and the material developed by the participating teachers will be available for further use by the regional training centers and interested schools in order to ensure further spread of MIL education in Lithuania.

 

Duration of the 2nd stage of the project: July 2016 – May 2017.

Project partners: Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania

(skyrelį tvarko Irena Ramoškaitė)