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Annex II - Project Outline

Executive Summary
Mass media and new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a crucial role in keeping societies informed. These media facilitate debate between diverse social actors and processes, and ICTs service to reinforce this role, providing the interactive functions and multiplatform delivery systems necessary to engage audiences. Mass media and ICTs are therefore a significant means by which nations and societies can learn about themselves, build a sense of community and share values, acting as a vehicle for cultural expression and cultural cohesion.
While media and information service providers are expected to perform these functions in a professional and ethical manner, their effectiveness is directly dependent on the consumer’s ability to process media and information and use it in a critical manner. The existence of media and information literacy societies are therefore vital.
This project aims to foster media and information literacy among young people throughout the world through the integration of media and information literacy as a part of national teacher training curricula. The project will develop specific modules to include both theoretical and practical skills at secondary education level. These modules will then be piloted at selected teacher training institutions in eight countries, the outcomes enabling the assessment of the level of integration of media and information literacy into the teacher training curriculum in each. The results will be shared with ministries of education and national teacher training initiatives to foster media and information literacy as integral part of the teacher training worldwide.
1. Project Justification
Over the last three decades, numerous studies have demonstrated that young people are spending more and more time interacting with media and ICTs. Media and information service providers are, in turn, shaping the meaning and practices of daily life. With more access to information than their parents had, younger generations are the most significant consumers of media and ICTs, rendering this group the most vulnerable to the dangers of the media. This points to the necessity of the inclusion of media and information literacy education in school programmes to generate knowledge on the role and functions of media and information service providers, and to enable youth to process and evaluate the information they receive. Information literacy, as defined in the Alexandria Proclamation of 2005 “empowers people in all walks of like to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals.”
Media and information literacy can thus be considered as a powerful tool for people’s participation in democratic societies, encouraging the production of information and creativity in a multiplicity of disciplines. Media education provides critical knowledge and analytical tools, empowering media consumers to function as autonomous and rational citizens, and enabling them to critically make use of the media. Teacher training to provide this education thus becomes a key element in the integration of media education and information literacy in schools.
UNESCO has a long standing experience in enhancing media and information literacy and it has supported a number of initiatives to introduce media and information literacy not only in the classroom, but also as part of people’s life-long learning. Some examples of previous activities developed in this field are publications such as Media Education in the Pacific: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers; Media Education: a kit for teachers, parents and professionals; Understanding Information Literacy: A Primer; Information Literacy Training - the Trainers Project and Towards Information Literacy Indicators.
2. Project Aim
Educational systems around the world need to address and connect with the media and information cultures of the youth. Countries such as Canada, the United States, Greece, Italy, South Africa and India have recognized the importance of media education, including media literacy curricula in schools. Information literacy has also been recognized as critical at the higher education level and by professional associations such as International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
However, much needs to be done before media education and information literacy are accepted as part of secondary school programmes. An already overburdened curriculum and the cost of training teachers re major obstacles that can prevent media education and information literacy from being integrated into school programmes.
School teacher require media and information literacy education in order to better understand the role and the functions of media and other information service providers, in order to teach their students how to critically evaluate and contextualise media content and information.
To meet these needs, this project intends to enrich teacher training curricula with media and information literacy on a pilot basis in at least eight developing countries and to synthesize and share the experience with a view to enhancing teachers’ abilities to impart media and information literacy to school children. Moreover, through the linkage between communication, information and education, this project will foster appropriate educational practices and pedagogies through collaborative work, project-oriented productions and new forms of evaluation. It is also foreseen to encourage media and information service providers to improve their ethical and professional practices.
3. Project Objectives
3.1 Development objectives

  • To encourage media to improve diversity of content and the ethical and professional dimensions of their functions through the construction of a critical consumer and citizenship culture among media users.

  • To foster information literate societies by encouraging the development of national information literacy policies, including those in education.

3.2 Immediate objective

To inculcate media and information literacy as an integral part of national teacher training curricula, to be piloted in teacher training institutions in eight countries.
4. Project Outputs

  1. Curriculum enrichment material developed

  2. Teacher training institutes in eight pilot countries introduce media and information literacy as component in teacher training

  3. Assessment and synthesis of curriculum enrichment experience

5. Objectives of the International Expert Group
On the basis of existing experience and best practices, the Expert Group will work towards the enrichment of teacher training curricula with media and Information Literacy through:

  1. An Expert Group meeting, which would discuss and agree a common approach and platform, preparing preliminary recommendations, and a work plan with corresponding timeframe. The meeting would also agree on the roles and assignments of the Expert Group members.

  2. Follow-up research for the drafting of a final project outline for the enrichment of teacher training curricula with Media and Information Literacy. This could be coordinated through online exchange.

  3. Finalization and submission of document on teacher training curriculum enrichment for media and information literacy. The finalized draft would be elaborated through online exchange and through a further meeting of the Expert Group to be convened in spring 2009.
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