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.
Nordic partners: Nordic information Centre for Media and Communication Research NORDICOM, Swedish Media Council, universities and other national actors in the field of media literacy education.
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.
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.
Accordingly, the planned project activities, based on these needs, are described in more detail hereinafter.
Development of methodological materials for MIL education
- A survey of current situation in MIL education will be conducted. During the interviews with school teachers, situation within MIL education will be analysed (this includes teachers competencies in MIL, materials in use, ongoing projects, etc.). The aspects of interest within MIL will be identified, as well as the needs for methodological tools.
- Lithuanian and Nordic experts, competent in MIL and having knowledge of the Nordic languages, will be invited to work together in order to study and adapt the Nordic experience in the field of MIL education. Universities will play an important role here.
- Based on the results of the MIL survey, the experts will analyse the Nordic methodological tools and select the most appropriate ones to be applied in Lithuanian schools.
- A study visit to the Nordic countries will be held with the aim to record the best practices in MIL education, and to prepare to present and use it in Lithuania.
- Experts adapt the selected Nordic materials for MIL: translation, content adaptation, and dissemination.
Result: 1) Methodological material for teachers' competence building in the field of MIL. 2) Methodological material for teachers and other educational parties concerned (parents, librarians, high school lecturers, and others) to use in MIL education.
Development of competencies in MIL
- Forming a team of teacher trainers in MIL. Some experts involved in preparation of methodological materials will be included.
- In cooperation with the Nordic experts, the teacher training team will be taught to use and work with the developed methodological tools.
- Regional education centres will organize workshops for teachers. The aim of workshops is to develop and broaden teachers’ basic knowledge in MIL, to present the methodology, to reveal the importance of integration of MIL into various subjects, to teach how to use the existing resources of MIL education, and to develop their own tools, depending on the needs and relevant topics. The similar workshops might be organized for librarians with contribution from the Ministry of Culture.
- Teachers will be encouraged to use the knowledge acquired, linking formal and non-formal education – to systematically develop MIL during their lessons, to implement small projects in their schools, to develop joint projects with schools in the Nordic countries (using such instruments as Nordplus programme, etc.)
- University cooperation (both on national level and with Nordic universities) in the field of MIL education for students of educational sciences will be encouraged through possibilities offered by Nordplus programme.
Result: 1) 15 MIL workshops organized for about 350 pers.; 2) MIL is included into agenda of other events, organized by Education Development Centre, attended by 150 teachers; 3) MIL tools are presented to the public during the biggest annual event for schools – Exhibition/Fair ”School”.
Renewal of curriculum by integrating MIL into general and non-formal education
- Identifying national activities related to MIL („Safe Internet”, „Cinema in My School“, and so on.). Establishing contacts with the organizers and inviting them to join the MIL network. General discussions held on MIL, on discovering common views and contributions to MIL education.
- Preparation of recommendations by the Ministry of Education and Science on MIL education in schools and school cooperation with the social partners (NGOs, libraries etc.) prepared.
- Proposals related to MIL for the Information Literacy Framework Programme for Primary Education, Information Technology Framework Programme for Basic Education are supplemented with MIL competencies.
- In cooperation with participating schools, description of pupils’ achievements is prepared and tested in schools.
Result: 1) The concept of MIL is included into education policy documents; 2) developed and tested MIL achievement description; 3) initiated networking of MIL participants in the field of MIL education.