During the Media & Learning Conference in Brussels ActiveWatch and its partners from the MEDEAnet project launched the second research report Charting Media and Learning in Europe-2012.

This is the second in a series of three reports which together aim to chart the media and learning landscape in Europe. As explained already in the first report they are part of a process of familiarisation which is at the heart of successful European network building. This network building process is being led by the MEDEAnet project which is responsible for the production of the series. 

This report builds on the general description of media-based learning and education for media literacy contained in the year one report and augments the information that it contained with new developments, although in terms of policy, it is worth noting that these are relatively minimal. It has a main focus on curriculum design and charts organisations actively engaged in the relevant curriculum process and, as far as is possible, highlights examples of good practice.

For the purposes of writing this report, the partnership has agreed to make a distinction between (a) media-based learning and (b) education for media literacy. However they have also explored the differences that exist between each partner’s understanding of these and related terms many of which reflect the linguistic and other specificities of each country. It is interesting to note that all definitions used by the partners include 3 important components, namely ability and skills, opportunity and attitude.

This report describes the situation at a national level in Estonia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. For the three remaining countries with a federal structure, Germany, Belgium and Austria, the focus has been on the relevant regions, Baden-Württemberg, Flanders and Upper Austria although in BadenWürttemberg and Upper Austria some information is also provided about the federal status.

Apart from differences of definition, the situation reported on is very diverse. First of all there is a big difference between countries and regions where significant large-scale initiatives exist like in Greece and those where this is not the case. The authors feel that this has much to do with differences in school autonomy.

Secondly there is a real difference amongst those countries reported on in the extent to which media literacy is (or is not) included in the policy for different education levels, from compulsory education to lifelong learning. Finally, diversity is shown in the way that media literacy is or is not integrated specifically in the curriculum for compulsory education systems.

When examining how media literacy finds its place in the curriculum of primary and secondary education, several specific conclusions can be made. First of all there is a variety of ways of integrating media literacy in the curriculum from an integrated approach across different subjects, to very specific subject related formulations. Furthermore, it is clear that there is a discrepancy between the presence of media literacy in the curriculum and effective daily classroom practice. In other words, even if media literacy is integrated in the curriculum, it mostly still depends on the initiative/freedom/autonomy of the teacher whether or not it is implemented, and in what way. This has led us to conclude that the role played by teachers is crucial and to make a recommendation for more investment in relevant teacher training and support.

The third and final report of the series will focus on teacher training and education in each country and on reporting the extent to which training in the production and use of educational media and in media literacy is provided in participating countries. It will be produced earlier in 2014 to enable the team to have a more extensive time period in which to promote the full series of reports in the second half of 2014.

MEDEAnet involves 8 partners in 7 European countries and is a 3-year network project funded under KA3 of the Lifelong Learning Programme, running from January 2012 to December 2014.

The Romanian team would like to thank our volunteers Gabriela Brebene, Ivona Dumitrache and Silvia Burcea for their invaluable work.

The full version of the report is available in English HERE

For any further information or questions you may to contact us at nicoleta@activewatch.ro (Nicoleta Fotiade, Media Education Program Coordinator) and  laura@activewatch.ro (Laura Orlescu, Media Education Program Assistant).

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