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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Austria

Austria

6. Education and Training

6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media


National strategy

National ICT Security Strategy

In a collaboration of 130 representatives of Austrian stakeholders, a concept for the protection of ‘Austria's cyberspace’ and of people within virtual space was developed and published in 2012 by the Federal Chancellery.

Education and research are basic requirements for successful implementation of the National ICT Security Strategy. In this context, attention is drawn to two key issues: training in ICT security and media competence and national ICT security competence in teaching and research.

Strategic objectives and measures according to the Strategy

Objective 1: Education in ICT, ICT security and media competence in early school grades

ICT and ICT security must be incorporated to a greater extent into school curricula and daily teaching practices from primary school level onwards. It is a medium-term goal that each individual’s familiarity with the use of modern media can be taken for granted—this is not only in the interest of the citizens but also the basis for protecting national infrastructures.

Measures
  • Incorporating ICT, ICT security and media competence in curricula to a much greater extent:

The use of ICT and new media, as well as ICT security, have to become an integral part of the curricula of all types of schools. These issues must be covered by a compulsory subject to improve media skills in all areas. As children interact with new media at a very young age, this issue must be suitably addressed even at primary school level. The introduction of ICT-focused curricula in specific types of schools (comparable to today’s sport, music or ICT secondary schools) is recommended.

A meaningful and adequate level of ICT competence must be ensured across all types of schools.

Objective 2: Compulsory ICT training for all teacher training students

It is an important prerequisite for teaching the relevant skills that ICT (security) competence becomes part of the curricula of teacher training colleges and universities. Adequate in-service training programmes for fully-fledged teachers will ensure that ICT training can be implemented fast, effectively and on a sustainable basis.

Measures
  • Compulsory ICT training of all students of teacher training (at all pedagogical colleges and universities): All students undergoing teacher training require ICT training to enable them to use new technologies and media safely in their fields. They will also feel more confident using applications and services relevant to their areas of specialisation in daily teaching practice. Particular attention should be paid to the training of teachers in the ICT sector (ICT teacher training studies) as they will be responsible for teaching the general subject “ICT” as well as for the safe and professional use of ICT. It is therefore of vital importance to develop suitable teacher training programmes, and to address the ICT security issue appropriately in these programmes.
  • In-service training of teaching staff: The sustainable ICT competence of teachers must be ensured in programmes offered by teacher training colleges and universities.
  • Further development of training programmes for adults, especially parents: Special programmes have to be developed for parents within the school system which will help them to become a knowledgeable source of advice for their children and to examine their use of new media and the media skills.

Objective 3: Improving training structures for ICT security specialists in the tertiary sector

Existing study and training programmes will be further developed on a proactive basis. Networking and cooperation between educational organisations will be promoted.

Measures
  • National know-how in the area of ICT security: Strengthening and establishing national interdisciplinary competence centres in the area of ICT security as well as general, state-of-the-art training in this field.
  • Promoting networking among individual educational organisations: Active cooperation among all educational institutions in Austria is of crucial importance. Curricula must be harmonised to achieve synergies and to use resources economically. Special attention has to be paid to the interface between identification of threats and response to system-specific risks.
  • Consideration of security aspects in ICT training: ‘Security by design’—as a guiding cross-cutting theme—means that security issues should be taken into account in all areas of ICT training.

According to the publication ‘monitoring measures must be developed and used regularly with a view to ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of the measures taken. To this end, suitable monitoring measures and responsible stakeholders have to be defined. Existing instruments and structures must be used, and suitable projects should be continued or extended.’

Austrian Cyber Security Strategy(Österreichische Strategie für Cyber Sicherheit)

Media education/competence is also part of the Austrian Cyber Security Strategy published in 2013 by the Federal Chancellery. Relevant objectives and measures for education according to the document are:

Objective: Awareness raising and training

By sensitising all target groups, the necessary awareness of, personal interest in and attention paid to cybersecurity will be increased. These awareness-raising measures will help to create understanding for the need to ensure cybersecurity. By taking concrete and target-group-specific measures, the necessary knowledge about security-conscious behaviour and a responsible approach to using information and ICT as a whole will be imparted and promoted. A meaningful and adequate ICT competence level should be ensured by intensifying training in the field of cybersecurity and media competence in schools and other educational facilities as well as by developing national cybersecurity competence in the apprenticeship training system.

Measures

Incorporating cybersecurity and media competence into all levels of education and training

  • Stronger integration of ICT, cybersecurity and media competence into the school curriculum. ICT and new media literacy have become part of the curriculum of all types of schools. Moreover, ICT security issues and cyber security should become an integral part of a model for ‘digital competence’ – adjusted to the curriculum of the respective type of school – so as to create awareness for security issues and to help children learn a responsible use of ICT and new media. The aim is to ensure an adequate ICT competence level across all types of schools.
  • ICT (security) competence should be taken into account in the training programmes of pedagogical universities and other pedagogical institutions at tertiary level as a prerequisite for teaching these skills at school as well as in adult education centres.
  • The training of experts in the public sector responsible for improving cybersecurity will be intensified in cooperation with national and international training facilities. The ICT system administrators of the operators of critical infrastructures should receive cybersecurity training to enable them to recognise cyber incidents, to detect anomalies in their ICT systems and to report them to their security officers.

Media literacy and online safety through formal education

General Ordinance on the teaching principle media education (Grundsatzerlass: Unterrichtsprinzip Medienerziehung)

The general ordinance (issued in 2012) elevated media education to the status of a cross-curricular educational principle and describes its content and implementation. Media education touches on all areas of cognition and action and is thus not limited to individual subjects or certain school levels. Rather, every teacher is obliged to refer to it as a teaching principle, taking it into account in all subject areas. Project-oriented forms of teaching are recommended.

Media literacy is defined as the ability to use media, to understand and critically evaluate the different aspects of the media and media content, and to communicate oneself in multiple contexts. Media literacy refers to all media, including television and cinema, radio and music on different recordings, newspapers and magazines, books, the internet and other new digital communication technologies. Media literacy is a key competence that helps to make better decisions, to make more informed choices between different media, to critically evaluate content and information, and to communicate in diverse media. Media literacy is needed to use the potential of the internet in an unrestricted risk-competent way.

Media competence as the target horizon of media education efforts comprises the ability to deal with the technical circumstances accordingly, skills such as selection ability, differentiation ability, and structuring ability as well as the ability to recognise one's own needs. The aims include:

  • Active participation through communication networks: Free digital information networks offer far-reaching communication possibilities while posing risks such as the processing of personal data. Media competence shall enable the participation in social and civic life and the exercise of freedom of expression as prerequisites of democracy. Analytical skills can enable a better understanding of democracy and active participation.
  • Media use: Encouraging students, by providing critical insight into communication phenomena, to a conscious and co-determined media behaviour in their respective spheres of life. Therefore, media education should be based on the personal disposition of the pupil. It should help pupils to rethink their own role expectations and to recognise their own communication needs and deficits.
  • Communication with and through the media: Through media education, pupils should be enabled to find their way in a world about which they are largely informed by the media. They should be made aware that the media contribute considerably to their political judgement and that the expansion of communication technologies gives people increased opportunities for expression and participation in political life. At the same time, they should learn that communication media also pose risks to democracy, such as political manipulation by financially powerful interest groups. They should learn how to use the media to form their own critical judgement and thereby strengthen their ability to act. They should understand the structure, the means and the possibilities of impact of the individual types of media and that media also create their own reality which cannot be value-neutral. They should acknowledge that identical contents are presented differently and consequently have different effects. Media education should raise awareness of the often one-sided and stereotypical portrayal of social and gender-specific content.
  • Media as an economic factor or institution: Pupils should realise that economic, technical, social and ideological preconditions as well as different forms of organisation (public or private) require very specific forms of production, distribution and also certain criteria for the selection and presentation of the contents conveyed. The role of public relations as an information provider for the media shall also be discussed. In this context, concepts such as independence, objectivity, credibility, diversity of opinion, manipulation, etc. should be critically examined.
  • Own media creations: Pupils are to be encouraged to produce their own media works and network-based media projects. However, media making alone is not yet media education. Practical activity has to be combined with critical reflection on the creative production process and the product itself.
 
eEducation Austria

The primary goal of the initiative eEducation Austria of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is to advance digital and ICT-based competencies throughout all schools in Austria - starting from Primary schools to Upper Secondary. The initiative promotes the gain of competencies needed to use technology consciously and productive for individual development and to ease access to current and future occupational fields. The focus of all activities is set on the didactically meaningful use of digital media in all subjects as well as increasing the digital and informatics competences of pupils. The online platform offers resources and presents projects.

Saferinternet.at - Austrian Awareness Centre

Saferinternet.at is the Austrian initiative for the safe use of digital media through the promotion of media literacy and the coordination centre for safer internet use and media competence in Austria. It supports internet users, with a special focus on children, youth, parents and educators, in safer use of digital media. The rich portfolio of ongoing activities includes the websitewww.saferinternet.at, free school resources and booklets, workshops and helpline services throughout Austria, as well as networking with relevant players and being a contact point for journalists. Furthermore, the yearly international safer internet day has inspired the safer internet month in Austrian schools, which shall further foster education on safety online. The initiative is led by the Austrian Institute of Applied Telecommunications (OIAT) in cooperation with the association of Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA). It is co-funded by the CEF/Telecom Programme of the European Commission, the Federal Ministries as well as industry sponsors.

Specific teaching material is published and also provided online, such as:

 
Media manual

The mediamanual project is an interactive platform for integrative media work in schools and offers pupils, students and teachers material for practical media education. It contains basic knowledge in the form of lectures and workshops in which practical courses are offered on subjects such as film, radio, video and new media. Thematically, it is concerned with problematic subject areas in media education such as the question as to how common media knowledge influences value systems and ideas. The media manual is also a forum which organises an annual media literacy award. This is intended to thematise media competence as a political, social, cultural and personal qualification and to help establish the social and critically sensible use of media within the context of the organisation of everyday life.

Teacher training and further teaching material

Within the scope of continuous teacher training, the responsible school authority shall make provision for workshops and lectures (shows) both on the use of audio-visual teaching materials and on the problems of media education to be offered to the teachers of all subjects and types of schools. To achieve the most intense training of teachers, it is recommended to establish a focus on media education at the teacher training colleges.

Further teaching material can be found online:

 

Promoting media literacy and online safety through non-formal and informal learning

Open Educational Resources by the Austrian Youth Information Centres

The Austrian Youth Information Centres are the Austrian specialist agencies for youth-oriented information processing and education for non-commercial purposes and therefore also feel committed to the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER). In this sense, and in particular with the concern to support young people in the best possible way to lead a self-determined and fulfilling life, since April 2019, they are happy to provide their teaching and practice manuals and the corresponding publications and presentations as free learning and teaching resources. Teaching materials are available online, including ‘Lost in Information’ - a workshop manual incl. the worksheets and templates, as well as the presentation and the accompanying information poster.

Youth Information Campaign: Facts against Fake News on Climate Change (Mit Fakten gegen Fake News: Klimawandel)

The campaign ‘With Facts against Fake News: Climate Change’ of the Federal Network of Austrian Youth Information Centers supports young people in debunking fake news on climate change and in having fact-based conversations on climate change. It thus raises awareness on the topic of disinformation while dealing with an important contemporary issue. As Fake News influence societal discussions such as the one on environmental protection, it is important for young people to recognise the means and tricks used to spread and influence opinions as well as how to classify information. Therefore, frequently used statements by climate change deniers are confronted with scientific facts. It is also shown how killer arguments, which avoid discussions by emphasising feelings instead of facts, can be countered. Tips help to strengthen young people’s argumentation skills. The campaign includes postcards on climate change and an info poster with definitions of internet phenomena such as fake news, conspiracy theories, hoax, clickbait and sponsored content suitable for classrooms and youth centres.

Media-Youth-Info Centre (Medien-Jugend-Info)

Media literacy is a crucial qualification in our digital society. It is the ambition of the MYI to foster media literacy in all of its aspects. The Media-Youth-Info is a service unit of the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery. The Media-Youth-Info Centre cooperates closely with other organizations in the field of media literacy, first of all with Saferinternet.at.

The MJI understands media literacy as
  • the ability to use (old and new) media
  • to know about the application possibilities of media
  • a critical examination of media
  • to know about and handle risks
  • to actively participate and produce media

Situated at a multifunctional and barrier-free accessible facility, the Media-Youth-Info Centre offers free-of-charge events, workshops, seminars and advisory service. The equipment allows for interactivity and hands-on-experience. Supporting handouts, information material and seminar papers are available for participants and disseminators.

According to the specific needs and interests the services of the Centre are targeting
  • children
  • youngsters
  • parents
  • contributors of youth organizations and youth facilities
  • teacher and educators
  • students, scholars and researchers
  • personnel of administration and politics

 

FROG (Future and Reality of Gaming)

FROG invites to an academic discourse on the subject of games. The international conference brings together scholars, players, students, game designers, game developers, educators and experts from various disciplines to discuss the Future and Reality of Gaming.

Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Computer and Console Games (Bundesstelle für die Positivprädikatisierung von Computer- und Konsolenspielen, BuPP)

The Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Computer and Console Games has been implemented by the former Federal Ministry for Families and Youth in 2005. In 2013, the service has been extended for apps for portable devices. The Federal Office offers information on recommendable computer games, games for consoles and mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) in order to provide guidance for parents and pedagogical staff in the selection process.

InMeLi

InMeLi was a project of Vienna Media Education in the Sparkling Science programme of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. The project took place from 2014 to 2016 and aimed to develop a test for surveying and reflecting media literacy and media habitus. The project ‘Development of an Instrument for Surveying and reflecting Media Literacy and the Media Habitus’ (InMeLi) aimed at the facilitation of Media Literacy and the facilitation of reflecting the Media Habitus. Since students have developed the test, a falsification of test results by complicated diction could be avoided. By taking the test, students were able to measure their own Media Literacy and to reflect their Media Habitus.

Austrian Institute for Applied Telecommunications (Österreichisches Institut für angewandte Telekommunikation, OIAT)

OIAT promotes the competent, safe and responsible use of digital media. It an independent non-profit organisation financed solely through projects, which are partially funded by public authorities. Of particular importance for the target group of young people is the project saferinternet (depicted above).

Training in the City/Federal Province of Vienna

The annual main focus of the Viennese youth work in 2017/18 with the title ‘Media.Competence.Yes’ dealt with the various aspects of the subject. Within the scope of this annual focus, further training was developed and provided.  

The media centre (Medienzentrum) and the Institute for Education in Leisure Time (Institut für Freizeitpädagogik) in Vienna provide workshops, seminars and courses for youth workers and youth leaders.

Initiatives by youth organisations, open youth work and youth information

Both the umbrella organisation of youth information centres (Bundesnetzwerk Österreichische Jugendinfos, BÖJI) and the umbrella organisation of open youth work (bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit, bOJA), provide expert conferences on new media and media competence for youth workers in the corresponding fields.

Several youth organisations in Austria have focus projects addressing media literacy. Furthermore, workshops for youth associations can be arranged with experts from saferinternet.at. This initiative is funded by several Federal Ministries (Federal ChancelleryFederal Ministry of Education, Science and ResearchFederal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs).

Raising awareness about the risks posed by new media

Cyber bullying as a criminal offence (Cyber mobbing: Gesetzliche Lage)

Cyber mobbing has been established as a criminal offence since 1st of January 2016 (§ 107c StGB). Violation of the criminal provision ‘cyber bullying’ is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 720 daily rates. If the offence results in suicide or attempted suicide of the injured person, the offender is liable to a custodial sentence of up to three years.

A person is liable to prosecution for ‘cyber-bullying’ if,

  • by means of telecommunication or by using a computer system
  • in a manner that is likely to unreasonably interfere with the conduct of a person's life
  • he or she continuously for a longer period of time
  • injures the honour of a person in a way that is perceptible to a large number of people, or
  • makes facts or images of the most personal sphere of life of a person perceptible to a larger number of people without the person's consent.
 
Online information on cyber bullying

Information on cyber mobbing can be found on various national online platforms. Each of these platforms has contact persons for pupils and/or teachers and parents.

 
Helpline ‘Council on Wire’ (Helpline ‚Rat auf Draht‘)

The helpline informs young people about various risks of new media. Additionally, it supports young victims of cyber mobbing. It offers counselling for children and young people at anytime, anonymously, and free of charge.

Stopline

Stopline is a reporting office for internet crime, which can be addressed by all internet users. Since 2007, the Stopline has been cooperating with the Saferinternet.at initiative.

mein-netz.at

The Federal Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung) launched the campaign mein-netz.at (my internet) in 2016/17. Besides various information, the position paper on youth and internet of the national youth council and the study about media competence of young people are provided.

Make IT safe 2.0

Within the scope of this peer to peer project, 20 young people in facilities of the extracurricular youth work in Upper Austria and Styria were trained to ‘peer experts’. They transmitted their knowledge about the secure and responsible use of new media to other young people.

feel-ok.at

feel-ok.at is an internet-based intervention programme for adolescents that is coordinated throughout Austria by Styria vitalis. The internet platform bundles the expertise of the institutional network in a coherent intervention and youth-friendly language and offers information as well as services on numerous health and socially relevant topics in the form of texts, games and tests. It contains an extensive collection of information on the topic of cyberbullying and safe internet usage.

No Hate Speech Movement (nohatespeech.at)

The Movement was launched in 2013 on the initiative of the Council of Europe. Since then, activists in over 40 countries have been campaigning against hate speech and for respectful coexistence on the internet.

The ‘National No Hate Speech Committee’, founded in 2016, aims to raise awareness on the issue of hate online, to counteract hate online and to encourage and support actions against hate speech. It has formulated recommendations to the federal and state governments. ‘Fight Hate!’ is a call to those affected and to the public to stop being silent and to counter haters. Contact points and organisations help young people to take action against hate speech online. The Website is managed by the Austrian umbrella organisation of open youth work (bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit, bOJA),

Mona.net

Mona.netis an online network addressing girls and youngwomen. Target group-specific information is provided.