Media literacy aims to offer young people the competences to connect with others and actively participate in a mediatized society. In this article, I would like to share some of the good practices that we have developed in Greece to foster critical thinking about media in classrooms and empower students as informed and active citizens. The positive outcomes from such experiences provide the motivation for teachers to apply, modify and adapt them in their teaching.
The second generation of Educational RadioTelevision (EduTV2.0)
The development and penetration of new technologies in the contemporary social and educational environment, where schools are not just consuming content but also creating their own, has inspired and motivated Greek Educational RadioTelevision (EduTV) to meet the students of the Digital Generation in their space and become part of their community. The vision of EduTV is to empower students as creators, researchers and global citizens reconnecting with young audiences and moving on from traditional media in the digital era, where “We, (are) the Media” (Mac Luhan, 1964).
The second generation of EduTV, EduTV2.0 is a multimedia platform connected to social networks, which offers students and teachers the environment to create their own multimedia projects. Taking an active role in connecting school communities and contributing to the development of audiovisual culture, EduTV motivates and enables students to create user generated videos, reusing and remixing available videos and documented digital content.
In this context, EduTV2.0 has developed an open learning environment, supporting experimentation, creativity, exchange and production of ideas promoting school communities’ projects. Videos and Web2.0 applications are developed and submitted through video contests and also social responsibility and awareness-raising campaigns in partnership with schools, universities and other organisations.
Students actively participate as digital media storytellers, content curators, not consumers but rather pro-sumers (both producers and consumers), becoming active and responsible citizens. EduTV2.0 has developed a large variety of educational projects aiming to motivate, activate and engage students in collaborative projects and fostering an alternative learning philosophy.
Critically analysing Media
The student action “VideoMuseums: Our Opinion & Written Critics Competition” is a follow-up to the Hellenic Student Competition “Short Film VideoMuseums” in 2014. The competition run by the Institute for Media Research and Media Education, as one of the 12 better projects for audiovisual education in Europe was all about the creation of short documentaries by groups of students. In these documentaries they sought ideas from their environment, neighborhood and culture about what is worth saving in the coming years.
In the framework of this project, 11 videos from the contest VideoMuseums 2014 were selected and screened in a film festival organised by schools. This action aimed to activate students to participate in a creative discussion about issues of interest, making arguments and their views known while at the same time developing their audiovisual literacy skills.
European School Radio: Fighting hating speech
The European School Radio (ESR) is a web-radio with audio productions from hundreds of school radio groups all over Greece, Cyprus and Europe operating for 24hr/365 days a year. Thousands of pupils encouraged and supported by their teachers, produce a fully scheduled weekly radio program, in a variety of shows, spots, music and speech broadcasts. Through team activities, pupils develop co-operative and communication skills, cultivate critical thinking, approaching critically and consciously the Media content.
ESR organises an annual Radio School Festival, contests, events and projects with the participation of thousands of students and teachers. In 2018-19 the radio contest “Make-it-heard” was held on the topic: ‘Our voice is a shield against hate speech’ co-organised by the ESR, EduTV and the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus and was aimed at all primary and secondary schools in Greece and Cyprus
Nowadays, hate rhetoric occurs in the form of written or oral speech, images, symbols, online games, and is intended to express or propagate a message of violence. Particularly in the online world and social media, criticism is easily dominated, rather than trying to understand the opposite position. This contest aimed to raise awareness on this subject stimulating students’ creativity, developing their emotional world and cultivating critical thinking, respect, and acceptance. Through 120 radio messages and 100 songs, students raised their voice against hate speech and communicated their personal experience of aggressive rhetoric.
Bringing changes in modern education
Digital and social media have penetrated the daily life of students in and out of schools, offering opportunities for discovery, participation and creative production within the framework of educational activities. Participating in media literacy activities, students work with enthusiasm in original learning environments, benefit from teamwork, creativity and social interaction. Media bring changes in modern education putting emphasis on critical and active approach, collaborative effort, new ways of interaction and on content created by teachers and students.
Sofia Papadimitriou, PhD
Tutor – Counselor, Hellenic Open University, Head of Educational Radiotelevision and Digital Media, Ministry of Education & RA – Greece