6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media
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Although there is no one explicit strategy on media literacy and the use of new media by young people, the issue is high on the agenda of the Ministry of National Education (Ministerstwo Edukacji Narodowej) and the Ministry of Digital Affairs (Ministerstwo Cyfryzacji). It is also mentioned in key documents, namely:
- the Social Capital Development Strategy in Poland 2020 (Strategia Rozwoju kapitału Ludzkiego 2020) – focuses on ICT in education and in non-formal education, development of digital competences of the groups at risk of social exclusion, adapting the offer of the training courses to the needs of the labour market as regards the fundamental ICT competences.
- the Long-term National Development Strategy. Poland 2030. The third wave of modernity (Polska 2030 Trzecia fala nowoczesności. Długookresowa Strategia Rozwoju Kraju), adopted by the Council of Ministers at the beginning of the year 2013. The document defined the fundamental courses of interventions, including developing digital competences of teaching personnel (e.g. teachers, employees of other educational and cultural institutions, employees of NGOs) and implementing common digital education as well as establishing modern infrastructure and educational resources.
The main actors involved in media education in Poland are the following:
- Ministry of National Education (Ministerstwo Edukacji Narodowej - responsible for the creation of the core curriculum. The Ministry also coordinated the Digital school programme (Cyfrowa Szkoła), which was running between April 2012 and August 2013 to pilot a future long-term policy aimed at developing pupil and teacher competences in ICT use in education. This policy has also been intended to foster informal education and self-education. The advisory body – Council of Informatisation of Education is also active by the Minister of National Education).
- Ministry of Digital Affairs (Ministerstwo Cyfryzacji - its mission is to develop broadband infrastructure, support the creation of web content and e-services and promote digital competences among citizens)
- Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego - supports projects in the field of media education and information which are related to cultural education)
- National Audiovisual Institute (Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny) digitizes and publishes archives documenting Polish national heritage. NInA implements projects aimed at digitizing and archiving of products of Polish culture, audiovisual recording of important cultural events, as well as making these products and archives widely available to the public.The Institute publishes teaching materials in the field of media education on a dedicated website.
- National Broadcasting Council (Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji) as created as a constitutional regulatory body nominated to shape and monitor the broadcasting system. Because one of its primary aims is to guard the freedom of speech, the right to information and the public interest in broadcasting (Art. 213.1 of the Polish Constitution), it has been obliged, by the power of the Act on radio and television broadcasting of 29 December 1992, “to promote media literacy (media education) and to cooperate with other state authorities, non-governmental organizations and other institutions in the area of media education.” (art. 6 (2) (13)
- Polish Film Institute (Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej) was established in 2005 and since then has completed many projects dealing with film, animation and digitization, including those related to media education. Besides, thanks to numerous donations, PFI has supported a number of initiatives, such as funding scholarships for young people to make their own films and projects. The School Film Library project is one of the educational PFI projects, carried out in cooperation with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the National Audiovisual Institute. Packages of DVDs containing more than 55 feature films, documentaries and animated films were sent to nearly 14,000 schools in Poland.
- NASK Research and Academic Computer Network (Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa) is a research institute and a data networks operator offering state-of-the-art telecommunications and data solutions to business, administration and academic customers. Its research projects focus on telecommunications, data quality and security of IT systems. In 1991, NASK connected Poland to the Internet. Since 2005 it has been involved, together with Fundacja Dajemy Dzieciom Siłę, in implementing a European Commission programme Safer Internet, aimed at improving the safety of children in their use of the Internet and new technologies. NASK also supports other awareness-raising initiatives towards the safety of the ICT network use targeted at specific user groups, such as young people, seniors and teachers.
Media literacy education was introduced to schools of primary and junior high level in 1999 as part of the core curriculum as so-called “educational path”, but the implementation of the curriculum proved inconsistent and the media education programme was given up in 2008. The result of this is the duality of media education in current core curriculum: on the one hand, it is not mentioned in the general education goals, but on the other, it is noticeable in all of the aspects of the core curriculum.
The core curriculum 2018/2019 (Podstawa programowa 2018/2019) lists the following objectives related to media literacy and the use of new media:
- fostering the development of critical and logical thinking, reasoning, giving arguments and drawing conclusions;
- providing pupils with skills that will allow them to have a mature and organised way of understanding the surrounding world.
In this respect pupils in the primary school should be able to:
- look for, categorise and analyse information from diverse sources;
- creatively solve diverse problems with a conscious use of IT methods and tools, including coding.
- using knowledge as the basis for skills and competences;
- development of reason and language-related skills and competences such as: reading comprehension, formulating questions and problems, using criteria, giving arguments, explaining, classifying, drawing conclusions, defining, giving examples etc.;
- combining critical thinking with creative and imagination-related skills.
In this respect pupils in the primary school should be able to:
- creatively solve diverse problems with a conscious use of IT methods and tools, including coding;
- consciously use ICT, respect copyright and safe use of the Internet;
- look select and categorise the acquired information.
A number of projects related to media literacy and online safety of young people is provided by the following non-governmental organisations:
- Centre for Citizenship Education (Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej)
- Polish Coalition for Open Education (Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji)
- Modern Poland Foundation (Fundacja Nowoczesna Polska)
- Empower Children Foundation (Fundacja Dajemy Dzieciom Siłę)
- Centrum Cyfrowe: Projekt Polska
Problems associated with media education has become a subject of discussion of many scientific conferences. Among them are media education conferences organized mostly by state institutions, universities and academics. The most popular ones include:
1. Polish Research Symposium “People – Media – Education” organized from 1991 by Pedagogical University of Cracow, Department of Educational Media and Technology.
2. International Conference on Media Education organized from 1997 by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Department of Education Technology.
3. International Conference on “Communication – Media – Language – Education” organized from 2002 by Civitas Christiana in Toruń.
4. National Conference “Computer Science in Education” organized from 2003 by Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science.
5. Media Education Forum organized from 2008 by National Broadcasting Council.
6. The Media Education Congress organized from 2014 by The Polish Association of Media Literacy.
Anna Brosch, researcher specialised in new media states that the primary goal and mission of theses conferences is to encourage and promote research in the theory and practice of media education at the school, college and university levels of education. Members focus on media education theory and practices and research relating to ‘knowledge societies’ and critical analysis of strategies and policies. Additionally, media education is a wide discussed during single event conferences organized by Polish universities and state institutions such as the Polish Film Institute or Center for Citizenship Education. Although The issue of the media education is raised more and more often, the results of this debate hardly influenced the shape of education in Poland.
Moreover, Brosch argues that although media and information education has for years been the subject of academic debate and one of the priorities of the state, present in documents such as Social Capital Development Strategy 2020, there is still lack of answers to the question of what the media and information literacy is, what is the scope of its content and what specific skills should be developed. Therefore, the Modern Poland Foundation in cooperation with media and information literacy experts prepared Media and Information Literacy Competences Catalogue. It was approved by the Polish National Commission for UNESCO as a significant input into the Information For All international program. The first version of this catalogue was published in May 2012, as part of the Digital Future programme (Cyfrowa przyszlość: Katalog kompetencji medialnych i informacyjnych), and includes topics ranging from information literacy, media discourses and internet safety to economic, ethic and legal aspects of media competence. The competences catalogue is a tool that will allow for the construction of a comprehensive and coherent set of teaching materials for media and information education at different educational stages in the field of lifelong learning. The catalogue lists the following eight thematic areas in which competences are to be considered:
1. Use of information
2. Relations in the media environment
3. Language of media
4. Creative use of media
5. Ethics and values in communications and media
6. Safety in communications and media
7. Law in communications and media
8. Economic aspects of media functioning (Cyfrowa przyszlość: Katalogkompetencji medialnych i informacyjnych, 2012, pp. 12-23).
The Catalogue is based on the structure of a pyramid. It assumes that the person entering a given level of education already has the skills of the previous one, for example high junior school student has already mastered the knowledge and skills suggested for the primary school level in grades 4-6. Thus it was possible to focus only on new competences, characteristic for a given level. It should be also highlighted that the catalogue indicates the competences of students leaving school of a certain level, for example, in the category of high school we put the competences of a student leaving the 3rd, final grade. In 2014 was published a reviewed version of the Catalogue: “Media, information and digital competences catalogue” (2014).