Teaching Critical Information and Media Literacy through the Black Power Movement and Documentary Film
University of Passau, Germany
In an age of digitalization and information overflow, the acquisition and production of knowledge is changing rapidly. These developments challenge society in educational, economic, cultural, and social terms. Thus it is of particular importance to enable future teachers to become literate in the digital age by empowering pre-service teachers to collect, sort, critically evaluate, and subsequently produce and distribute information. Additionally, the awareness of and the reflection on the role of the media is just as essential, thus, media literacy education is a crucial part in this endeavor.
I will show what information and media literacy education can look like in practice. As part of a teacher education project, in one of our interdisciplinary and co-taught seminars, we investigated how documentaries can shape the perception of history by looking at the Black Power Movement in the U.S. Students in this class were pre-service teachers, studying different subjects, such as English, History, Sport, or Business. They will go on teaching different age groups, from elementary to high school. In the first part of the seminar students familiarized themselves with the historical context of the Black Power Movement as well as the genre of the documentary. The second half of the course then focused on two selected documentary films and their representation of the Black Power Movement. This phase of the seminar consisted of an interactive course project and engaged in alternative approaches to teaching and learning. In this part of the course, students were not mere consumers but became producers of knowledge by conceptualizing and leading class sessions themselves. Working in teams, they not only supported each other with ideas and methods, but also had to master the challenge of working together, which subsequently taught students the meaning of responsibility as well as community and their individual role in it. Ultimately, students were required to produce (digital) knowledge in the form of lesson plans, (digital) exhibitions, podcasts, or videos. For example, based on the German curriculum for elementary schools, one of the students produced an interactive website and an accompanying handout about the Black Power Movement and the role of race, racism, and empathy for their future students. The student explained in their reflection paper that this production allowed them to reflect on and become literate in the various aspects of knowledge creation and distribution.
In order to enable students to become literate and subsequently critical, active, and participating citizens in society, this project does not only take into account the importance and the relationship between different literacies, but it also works interdisciplinary. As a result, educators in the project not only conceptualize courses together, but they also teach together, emphasizing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to information and media literacy. Thus, this case study of teaching the Black Power Movement, the genre of documentary film as well as critical information and media literacy provides a crucial lens through which to reassess the role of education and additionally provides an example for teaching for social change and active citizenship.
The Hague Fact Checking Factory; Towards Civic Literacy
The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Hague, the Netherlands
Information literacy is essential for the operation of a civic society in which all people may participate (Catts & Lau, 2008). The aim of the Fact Checking Factory (FCF) is to accomplish cooperation between students and local citizens. The students and lecturers of The Hague Univiersity of Applied Siences aim to create together an agenda for local decision-makers with the project objectives of fact-checking local news.
During 2017 the FCF project was implemented for the City of The Hague in the Duindorp district. We worked together with local citizens to set up an information center where news and online social media messages relating to the neighborhood were collected and checked for accuracy. At the same time, the FCF was set up online while the layout and the sufficiency of the working method were both being studied.
The students gained the following learning outcomes with this project:
• The students investigated the role of journalism of truth finding in our society by checking on the truthfulness with which professional journalists and content creators, using IT, collected news reports and rumors.
• The students built a digital environment where research on the neighborhood news was presented to a general audience.
• The students used the working method of professional journalists and content creators when checking news and facts relating to the neighborhood.
To obtain sound information in the physical and digital realm, we explored and selected variations, initiatives. and tooling of the journalism fact-checking process by conducting desk research and platform selection. Next, for each fact check the same standard procedure was followed in a lab setting using the Fact-Checking online platform. Students and local citizens checked and verified findings through examining sources and claims online. When a fact check was performed the fact-checking procedure were outlined to provide insight into how the fact check was conducted to warrant transparency.
The research outcomes resulted in local community platforms that have the potential to increase young people’s information literacy, as stated by Montagni & Tzourio (2017). We involved local citizens by ambassadorship in increasing civic prevalence within the gathering, conforming, and revising of local news online as well in local meet ups where the most suitable online environment was presented resulting in knowledge exchange between the students and local citizens. As well the citizens’ writing, products can be reviewed in the information platform and improvements can be suggested. The FCF can therefore make a positive contribution towards civic information literacy by stimulating collaboration and gaining public awareness in the public spheres (Van Helvoort, 2018).
Cats, R., & Lau, J. (2008). Towards information literacy indicators. Paris: Unesco.
Montagni, I., & Tzourio, C. (2017). Evidence of the effectiveness of a digital tool to guide health services information seeking in the young. In S. Špiranec et al. (Eds.), The Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL): Abstracts, September 18-21, 2017, Saint-Malo, France (p. 101). Saint-Malo: Information Literacy Association.
Van Helvoort, J. (2018). Four spaces of civic literacy education: A literature review. In S. Kurbanoğlu et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the The Sixth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL), September 24-27, 2018, Oulu, Finland, September 24-27, 2018. CCIS. Cham: Springer International Publishing [Accepted for publication].
Navigating the Maze: Collaborating with Teachers to Meet Information Literacy Challenges
Czech National Library of Technology, Prague, Czech Republic
This paper proposes expanding existing services of the National Library of Technology (NTK) for high schools (Tvrdá & Martinová, 2017). These services previously focused on information literacy (IL) workshops for students. Therefore, we are now also training high school teachers who will then transfer these skills to their students.
Until recently, IL concepts included in Czech high school curricula (Research Institute of Education, 2007) have only focused on Information Technology (IT), specifically on computer and basic software skills (Czech School Inspectorate, 2015). Now, two new developments clearly indicate a shift in the concept of IL for high schools.
First, several Czech high schools now include academic writing, for example, writing a research paper, to educate their students about the research process and to develop their organisational skills. Second, in November 2014, the Ministry of Education proposed their Digital Education Strategy Until 2020 (STRATEGIE DIGITÁLNÍHO VZDĚLÁVÁNÍ DO ROKU 2020; Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, 2014) based on several recommendations from the European Commission (Ferrari, 2013; European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, 2006). These guidelines suggested revising Czech school programs to broaden IL education. Consequently, the Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) published a new method for revising IL support to schools with specific indicators that can be applied across curricula (CSI, 2015).
However, until recently, didactics programs overlooked IL, thereby hindering the implementation of new, student-focused strategies (CSI, 2015). Thus, to overcome this problem, we created a series of pilot workshops for high school teachers in 2017. These workshops used blended learning concepts and were supported by the Central Bohemian regional government. Considering our limited knowledge about the problems facing teachers in public high schools, our pilot workshops focused on peer-to-peer discussions. As a result, both teachers and members of the NTK high school support team learned from each other, particularly in discussions about our previous experiences with high school students. IL topics, such as search, evaluation of information, plagiarism, and media education issues, were also addressed. By the end of the series, we were able to define future areas for collaboration, including additional workshops and openly available online IL support tools for high school teachers and students.
Further inclusion of IL in Czech high school curricula—both mandated by the Ministry of Education and supplemented by multidisciplinary efforts such as ours—should not only help high school students to develop the critical thinking and research skills they require for university study, but also to transfer soft skills, thus laying a solid foundation of problem-solving skills and evidence-based decision-making (Naik & Padmini, 2014).
Czech School Inspectorate. (2015). Metodika pro hodnocení rozvoje informační gramotnosti. Retrieved January 29, 2018 from http://www.niqes.cz/Metodika-gramotnosti/Metodika-pro-hodnoceni-rozvoje-informacni-gramotno
European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. (2006). Doporučení Evropského parlamentu a rady ze dne 18. prosince 2006 o klíčových schopnostech pro celoživotní učení. Retrieved January 17, 2018 from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:394:0010:0018:cs:PDF
Ferrari, A. (2013). Digcomp: A framework for developing and understanding digital competence in Europe. Retrieved January 17, 2018 from http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC83167/lb-na-26035-enn.pdf
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. (2014). Strategie digitálního vzdělávání do roku 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2018 from http://www.msmt.cz/uploads/DigiStrategie.pdf
Naik, M. M., & Padmini. (2014). Importance of information literacy. International Journal of Digital Library Services, 4(3), 92–100.
Research Institute of Education. (2007). Rámcový vzdělávací program pro gymnázia. Retrieved February 5, 2018 from http://www.nuv.cz/file/159_1_1/
Tvrdá, P., & Martinová, O. (2017). Partners in class: A needs-based approach to high school curricular support at the National Library of Technology in Prague. In S. Špiranec et al. (Eds.), The Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL): Abstracts, September 18-21, 2017, Saint-Malo, France (p. 195). Saint-Malo: Information Literacy Association.