No Education Without Media!

Horst Niesyto, Professor of Media Education at Ludwigsburg University of Education and Speaker of the Initiative No Education Without Media!

In March 2009, important German institutions and organisations for media education from the fields of science and pedagogical practice founded the initiative “No Education Without Media!” They also published a Manifesto on Media Education. Amongst the first to sign the manifesto were:

  • • The Commission for Media Education within the German Society for Educational Science (Kommission Medienpädagogik in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft, DGfE);
  • • The Expert Group for Media Education within the German Society for Media Studies and Communication Science (Fachgruppe Medienpädagogik in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, DGPuK);
  • • The Society for Media Education and Communication Culture (Gesellschaft für Medienpädagogik und Kommunikationskultur, GMK);
  • • Board of the JFF – Adolescents, Movie, Television e.V. (JFF – Jugend, Film, Fernsehen e.V.), Munich;
    Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Hamburg;

The Manifesto is based on a common judgement about the situation of media education in Germany and calls for comprehensive and sustainable promotion of media education within science and research, and at all levels of educational practice. In order to achieve these objectives, the initiative strives for a broad social alliance to promote media literacy amongst children, adolescents and adults. The initiative seeks to contribute to enhanced networking and raised awareness amongst those involved in the diverse areas of activity.

Some extracts from the Manifesto:

“Being media literate requires a person to have a sound knowledge of the different media, including knowledge of technical codes and aesthetic forms, of the conditions and forms of media production and distribution in society, and an awareness of the cultural and communicative, economical, and political importance that these media have in globalised societies. Media literacy is a capacity for sensible, considered, and responsible media use. This includes the ability to make considered choices, to understand and interpret media codes, and to make careful use of media during our leisure time, at school and in our professions. Active and creative design using the media for self expression, for articulating subjects which interest us, for contact and communication is another core area of media literacy. Finally, media education promotes media criticism, which refers both to media development in society, as well as to our own (self-reflective) media use and media creations (…)

The social and cultural effects of globalised media environments, and the development of society towards an all-encompassing information and media society challenge the education sector as a whole, thus including media education, in new ways. A comprehensive promotion of media education in science and research, as well as on all levels of educational practice is needed. This requires not only programmatic considerations, as well as strategic planning over several years, but in particular it requires investments in staff, infrastructure and finance at Federal Lander and Federal State level. All educational areas and their institutions, as well as out-of-school work with children and adolescents, professional training and further education schemes, and adult, family, and senior citizen education programmes must be included”.

The initiators of the Manifesto view the following demands as matters of urgency:

• In order to give all children and adolescents the possibility to enhance their media literacy, programmes for media education need to be reinforced, especially in institutions for elementary education, as well as in education for adolescents, families, and parents.

• Media education as a multi-disciplinary task for all subjects has not yet been incorporated into everyday school life. In the present debate on school reform (e.g. all-day schools), educational standards on media literacy must be agreed for all school forms, and the integration of appropriate media education contents into the curricula must be binding. This process must be supported by evaluation studies and programmes on quality assurance, as well as with sustainable training measures for all teaching staff and educational personnel.

• Educational initiatives for adolescents with immigrant or educationally deprived backgrounds, as well as programmes for gender-sensitive activities form a special focus. With this in mind, extra-curricular work with children and adolescents must be included much more than before. An intensification of media projects in this area must be secured by improved infrastructure and staffing levels, as well as through continuous public funding. Media education within the context of cultural education must be promoted considerably more.

• In the vocational training of child care workers, teachers, adult-education teachers, and social workers, the basics of media education as a compulsory element of educational training must be reinforced. Moreover, specific training on media education in the form of Master’s degrees and as elective subjects on other courses must be offered. A requirement here would be the significant expansion of professorships and chairs in media education with infrastructure at the universities.

• While there are several studies on quantitative media use, there still is a lack of in depth studies which analyse media use in social contexts with differentiated and process oriented approaches, also in terms of basic research. Significant expansion is above all needed in media socialisation research and concomitant and practical media education research.

By now, more than 1,200 individuals and institutions from all areas of society have signed the Manifesto on Media Education.

Conference on Media Education on the 24th /25th March 2011 in Berlin

In order to add authority to the demands of the Manifesto on Media Education a national conference on Media Education will take place on the 24th/25th March 2011 at the Technische Universität Berlin. The aims of the conference are:

• Raising the public’s awareness of the necessity for the widescale promotion of media literacy in different areas of activity.

• Discussion and substantiation of the proposals and demands made in the Manifesto on Media Education with all interested stakeholders from diverse areas of society.

• Dialogue with responsible parties from the fields of Education Politics and Education Administration on the central tasks and measures to be taken to reinforce media literacy promotion at a sustainable level within all educational areas.

On the 24th March 2011 there will be discussions on this theme in 13 work groups. The results of the discussions will be debated on the 25th March 2011 in two rounds of dialogues with representatives from education politics, administration, and other areas.

More than 400 individuals have signed up for the conference within a short period of time. Such a strong response clearly indicates the urgency of the core demands as outlined in the Manifesto on Media Education: No Education Without Media!

We expect that the congress will be an important milestone to reinforce media education and media literacy in Germany and to sustain networking among people and institutions in different social fields.

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