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Constructive controversies in Media Literacy

Constructive controversies in Media Literacy

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Abstract of the Key-note speech at the Euromeduc Final Congress, Bellaria (Italy), 22 Ocotober 2009
Abstract of the Key-note speech at the Euromeduc Final Congress, Bellaria (Italy), 22 Ocotober 2009

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Published by: Pier Cesare Rivoltella on Oct 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1. The European Recommendation 18 December 2006
states the frame of the eight citizenshipcompetencies that schools and longlife education have to develop. In this frame is included what theframe itself defines “digital competence”. This is an interesting turning point for the socialreception of Media Literacy: what was previously thought only as one of the many “educations” our school systems should think to, now becomes one of the main competencies we have to provide for the future citizens we are educating. The switch is from an idea of Media Literacy as a choice to anew idea of 
Media Literacy as a core part of a wider Citizenship Education
(Rivoltella, 2008).This is the reason why the European Reccomendation 20 August 2009
can say that “MediaLiteracy is a matter of inclusion and citizenship in today's information osciety. (…) Media literacyis today regarded as one of the key prerequisites for ana ctive and full citizenship in order to preventand diminish risks of exclusion from community life”.2. What does it means to develop a digital competence? Almost three issues:-
: to be able to use IST (Information Society Technologies) in job-oriented and everydayactivities; communicate; produce, find, store, share and evaluate informations;-
critical thinking
: to be aware of risks and opportunities of technologies; to be able to read andanalyse messages;-
creative acting
: to be able to produce contents, to express itself in these new languages, to be ableto use these tools in an innovation perspective.3. The Recommendation talks about Information Society Technologies (IST). The normal trend is tothink about these in terms of: computer, Internet and its applications (nowadays I suppose mostly2.0 applications such as Facebook, blogs, wikies and all the other Social Network tools). But wedon't forgive that, in the Information Society, we have:- some other technologies really belonging to youngsters' and adults' everyday life, like mobile phones, MP3 players and videogame consoles;- some other media, probably not so “new” but “re-newed” by the digital convergence and finallyre-mediated (Bolter & Grusin, 2000): television, cinema (now available on a lot of differentscreens), radio, newspapers.So, when we talk about digital competence,
we have to mean this competence in a wide sense
.We have to include in this also those media competencies that Media Literacy traditionally ought to be powered about the so called “old media”. In the mesure these media became “new”, making partof the new digital media arena, it should be quite strange do not consider them in the developmentof the tomorrow citizens' education.4. The actual media arena is really changed if we compare it with the previous one. This change iswell described by Roger Silverstone (2007). The media arena (he names “Mediapolis”) is:- a
space of appearence
, i.e. a space where the world could appear and an appearence belonging tothe structure of the world itself;- not only the extension of the “phisic” social and political arena (as Anna Harendt said), but part of this arena itself;- a space where we can experiment the
convergence of discourse and action
. Better: in this spaceevery discourse is an action. As I already said in one of my books (Rivoltella, 2003), the mediaarena is a pragmatic arena where we really understand what John Langshaw Austin meant when hetalked about our possibility of “doing things with words”.5. The media arena is at the same time a space of experience for youngsters, an effectivemarketplace for industries and a “classroom” for educators.6. Youngsters' experience in the media arena is characterized by different activities. They use the

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