Notes on the Faro Seminar

Plenary session I

In this session it was possible to ear the impressions of Alton Grizzlie (UNESCO) and Michel Clarembeaux (CAV- Liége):

Evelyne Bèvort - Moderation

Alton Grizzlie: UNESCO is concerned and willing to participate in the effort to prepare younger generations to face globalization practices. Differences between information literacy and media literacy were approached, considering this UNESCO’s official that there are different ideas connected to both: contradictory concepts (media literacy) and stability, development (information literacy). He also referred that media education/literacy must always be put in context even if in general we consider it one more facilitator in the relationships between nations and regions. Actions taken by UNESCO were mentioned and the engagement of this organization was ensured, especially in areas such as teachers’ training, research support, among others. In what concerns the Internet, Grizzlie stated that UNESCO puts lots of questions regarding its appropriation, reinforcing the need of developing a strategy to bring together rich and poor countries.

Michel Clarembeaux: The concept os media education was the main key note on this expert’s speech. For him, media education consists on teaching how to use, how to analyse and how to make media. His particular experience concerns cinema and he reported his experiences on the subject. In what concerns the use of new media, this expert feels it´s possible to use them in order to develop the will and the desire of search and see cinema and, therefore, he finds it necessary to have a new culture of responsibility, both in young people and media producers. He believes that media education/cinema communication will allow a more personal, ludic, systematic kind of education/ communication and, naturally the development of new media competences/skills.

The experts were invited to comment on the ideas of Grizzlei and Clarembeaux. The main ideas and those who generated more comments were:

• The distinction between information literacy and media literacy (Andrew Burn used the word appreciation to separate both) was a key idea, with the experts considering it’s difficult to have them fused in just one concept, even though that was the ideal situation;
• The main goal to achieve is to overcome the limitations of all determinist communication paradigms and to promote a more cultural vision of media/media education/media literacy;
• It’s important to use the new media, in order to understand all their dimensions, whether they are connected with contents or connected with functional aspects.

Workshop 1

In this workshop Inês Câmara and Raquel Pacheco focused on the folowing aspects:
• Generational gaps and educational gaps;
• Practices to empower children and youngsters;
• Managing “good” students and “bad” students and how to avoid those labels;
• Finding ways to bolster their confidence;
• The impossibility of avoiding the dangers brought by Internet use;
• The necessity of critical experiments;
• Training young people to be educators.

It was underlined that the adequate practices related to the new media should exist in various different surroundings: rural areas, urban areas, schools, etc. Also, the social aspects of the new media and of social networks were emphasized, including parents and others in a process of mutual teaching.

Eduardo Amaro, in the field of Media Literacy for Young People, spoke of publicity from commercial companies in the new media and of social responsibility versus commercial objectives and their relation to young people. He also presented his experience in Quinta da Fonte, a suburban area of Lisbon, were is association APELART uses mew media and art to develop a civic, political conscience on young people, mainly from emigrant communities and contributing to improve the environment/relationships and self-esteem, therefore, empowering the whole community.

Nelson Zagalo commented that commercial companies aren’t good or bad in themselves and noted that Google is a ubiquitous “invisible” company. He defended that solutions must be found for the excess of publicity in the internet, starting by clarifying that this excess is a problem.

Andrew Burn, the expert present at the session, referred the traditional division between Arts and Sciences that has become obsolete with the current status of games and other new media. This happens because the production of games and other new media requires both technical skills and aesthetical notions.
With the new media there is a transformation of the artistic and literary tradition. Now a days we witness how historical icons are undervalued and that a cultural unification is occurring.
This expert also mentioned the necessity of approaching the educational value of “gaming” in the age o new media (again the distinctions between learning through media or about media was pointed) and the idea of developing a model that contemplates the 3 C’s (culture, critical, creative). This expert also brought up the need to have different approaches on these subjects, but approaches that promote a top down and bottom up analyses/work.

Alton Gryzzlei emphasizes the European ethnocentricity in the approach to new media and the necessity of valuing other approaches. Also he points out that the UNESCO recommendation leads to a global perspective and not a variety of agendas in a process of cross-fertilization. This idea was supported by all the experts.

Workshop 2

There were two presentations:

Daniel Cardoso (UNL – EU Kids Online): this investigator presented a new approach on how to create a safer internet environment for kids, were the goal is to provide users with tools and skills to deal with internet, more than just give them information on how to use it safely. This work aims to give young people the chance of learning from their own practices and values informal ways of education. 60 Portuguese young people will receive a special training in 6 sessions and after they will train other 600 people, using a horizontal approach, rather than a top down one and focusing on doing, demonstrating, showing.

Maria Angeles Martinez (University of Seville): The focus of this presentation was on an investigation held in Spain concerning the use of mobiles and social networks as advertising platforms. The business enterprises are developing strategies to overcome traditional publicity and these new media are rapidly becoming the most important income sources, as well as spaces of research on advertising techniques. According to this investigator this situation implies social responsibility, revision of current laws and adaptation of consumers, authorities, etc..

Nelson Zagalo, the expert at this session sustained the following main ideas:

• Different languages imply different ways of thinking, of interpreting the world around us and the use/analysis of media. This vision is important, specially when lots of money is being spent on investigation that aims to provide a global perspective on this subject (specially the investigation made in the USA). We also need to consider that different youngsters, with distinct backgrounds, have a different relationship with media;
• Technology is not a big monster; technology can be a big opportunity and media literacy is more and more needed not for young people, but for adults, so that we can understand that technologies are what we want them to be. Using technology provides us with the tools to face the dangers. We have to use, to understand;
• Crossing media and art is more and more important; it’s important to promote the cooperation between different areas of knowledge.

Workshop 3

There were three presentations:

Luís Pereira (University of Minho): this investigator presented his research on what are the media practices of teenagers between 14-15 and what are the possibilities of using new media to learn. The results (percentages) show that 63% of the youngsters believe to learn something from games, especially because they develop their speed of thinking. This investigation puts kid in the center, adopting as ecological approach on the subject and a holistic analysis.

Alessandra Carenzio (University of Milan): The social uses of new technologies is the main concern of this investigator: how do youngsters create and maintain social networks and how do mobile/internet act in youth’s social activities are the key questions on her investigation, connected with the Mediappro Project. She concludes that digital media are social connectors and not places to escape reality; young people use them to create environments, to address emotions, to recognize themselves in a public sphere, as well as to build friendships. She also pointed that families face new media as thieves, since they feel their place as educators is being filled by them.

Rafaela Grazio (Youth Press – Portugal): She presented the organization, its goals and projects in Portugal, projects that intend to have children working with media (for ex.: creating newspapers) and to inform/educate young journalists, leading them to share experiences (for ex,: Summer media School or seminars) and points of view and creating media products with a multicultural philosophy.

In all 3 presentations there were elements of improving critical skills by using different media tools (games, social communities, kids producing newspaper for kids)

Improving communication was another theme that the presentations had in common. Children improve communication skills when playing/chatting with each other online (words are more important when you are not physically there), youngsters strengthen there relationship through communication in social communities and they enter a new area of negotiation/communication freedom/restraints with their parents with the use of mobile phones.
Finally, communication is trained as children are taught how to create their own newspaper and journalists learn to take children into consideration as human beings with human rights when they write/make images and words about/to them.

Improving creativity is the third element that all 3 representations have in common. Kids have to be creative in finding their way through a complex game, youngsters are creative in the way they keep finding new ways to communicate online (for instance you tube videos), and kids and journalists must show creativity in order to either create a newspaper when you have not been taught how to do so and in order to approach children in a individual, practical and pedagogical way when writing about or to children

Nelson Zagalo, the expert at this session sustained the following main ideas:

• How can young people learn from cultural contents (like newspapers or videogames)? We have been using social tool for a long time without thinking how to analyze contents;
• When we talk about newspapers we have a more creative dimension them when we use social networks and games.

Workshop 4

Chiara Belotti raised issues on the role of museums in the education of young people. She recalled the traditional roles of museums: to preserve collections and to serve cultural identities.
As a curator of a museum she intends to work from another perspective; Dr. Belotti intends to turn a visit to the museum in a vision of life, and trough audio-visuals abandon the concept of passive visitor, allowing his interactive development.

From the point of view of Christian values, Lisbeth Haugstrup expressed concern over how children and young people use the new media. Also she concerned herself with the unawareness of parents in relation to the practices of young people and the negative experiences online. Thus she understands the need for evaluation skills on safety measures in virtual universes. She suggested show rooms where young people and parents share common experiences.

On the issues pointed out by Chiara Belotti Andrew Burn underlined that past and present are compatible. He recalled that there has always been a generational gap. He also states that the media allow a time travel; he referred that, from a reflection on nontraditional learning and teaching a practical solution is found: taking the ludic to the school, through the new media.

Sandra Moreira presented her research concerning the possible use of “txting” to better teach/learn maternal languages. After a brief overview on the conclusions of her work, she underlined the facts concerning a generation gap, present in the contact and in the observation made through her investigation, especially the absence of parental knowledge on how to use mobiles, social networks and instant messaging softwares, as well as the teachers suspicion concerning the integrations of such technologies (and “txting” specifically) in their classrooms/practices.

After the communications a discussion on the following themes took place:
• Interest in the Internet joins the generations;
• It is possible to “virtualize” the local traditions (having in mind the examples given by Maria Angeles Martines about the Highlanders).

It was concluded that governments are aware of these changes and that this awareness interferes positively in state financing. It seemed clear that the younger generations are better informed and consequently there is a redistribution of power.

Conclusions Session

In this last plenary session, the experts were invited to present their final conclusions:

• Andrew Burn: The key word to retain is the need to develop/understand the Criativity C, since we can find some essential dimensions concerning new media in which it makes all the difference:
o Concerning identity – its use (new media) transforms the creators;
o Analyzing it (new media and their creative aspects) allows us to detach ourselves from our emotional side and gives it a cultural/critical approach;
o We have to understand what is creative or not, to have a better knowledge of the creative process, as well as the evaluation of creativity.

• Pier Cesare Rivoltela: He traced a road map to the Bellaria Congress:
o The aim of the congress: to bridge the gaps (through the discovery of the relations between the institutions/peoples’ practices and schools/real life interaction with media);
o Methodologies: education methodologies and research methodologies – cooperation, dialogue, creativity, as well as looking in at an ethnographical point of view, active perspectives and experimentation;
o Themes to develop solutions: representations, appropriations, values and identity.

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