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MMM – Mediawijs door Media Maken – Media literacy through Making Media

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MMM @ Vlaams Mediawijs Congres 2017

On Wednesday 27 September and Thursday 28 September, Mediawijs.be organised a Flemish Congress on Media Literacy at the Royal Library of Belgium. MMM attended the second day of the Congress.

An interesting project was brought to our attention; “Mediacoach.be“. Mediacoach.be encompasses an educational trajectory of 8 sessions across one year where professionals working in the cultural, educational and/or social sectors are coached to be mediacoaches within their institutions. They are educated on topics of Media identity and privacy, Information technologies, Mediaproduction, Media and games, Media and relationships, Media, Digital citizenry and society. After the sessions they are given two months to develop a media literacy project at the institutions they work and a mediacoach jury evaluates thereafter whether the project is adequate along the lines of the aspiration for a media literate youth. Particularly positive to hear was their overall approach:  developing critical thinking on media without demonising them!

The keynote given by Cédric Curtois from KU Leuven was insightful regarding the topic of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles. The conclusion was that the reality is more complex than putting merely the responsibility wtih the online platforms creating them, such as Google and Facebook. Still only small percentages of Google searches deliver different results.  Nevertheless to avoid being ”trapped” in the echo chambers and filter bubbles in the future; we need efforts from different stakeholders beyond the online platforms. Curtois discussed the responsibilities of citizenry, traditional media and the primary definers (e.g. politicians). Very interesting keynote on where we stand in this buzzing media debate.

MMM participated in the workshop on Digital Storytelling given by Vorming Plus Antwerpen. They had initially started a media project few years ago in the neighbourhoods of their city Antwerpen called  “Dear Neighbor, Dear Mayor”. In this project citizens/neighbors made digital stories (cca. 3 minutes) together about their neighborhood and city. They presented the positive and negative sides and expressed their ideals, wishes, and critique to the mayor. Since the success of the project it has been picked up for digital storytelling of different groups in Belgium with as main goal of connecting and empowering them. At the same time citizens are familiarised with new media technologies, work on their media and digital storytelling skills, hence increasing their media literacy. After a group of citizens defines their key motive and message for their digital story, they look for powerful content in support of it; they write the appropriate texts; collect accompanying imagery and overall look for solutions how to bring their messages across using the language of media (including sound). The participants are also asked about what they want to do with the digital story afterwards, where will it be disseminated?

In this workshop participants were given hands-on tips and tricks on how to work together with groups of people on one digital story. We thank Vorming Plus for their inspiring work and the useful “Via-Dia Stories” handbook we were given!