A joint interdisciplinary initiative by the Heidelberg School of Education and Teachers College (Columbia University) that aims to enhance critical engagement with the media in various educational contexts.
WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE
In a joint effort this project aims to:
- connect multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on critical media literacy with local communities of stakeholders and their practices;
- suggest practical skills and tools for enhancing critical engagement with media in teaching and learning contexts;
- include democratic empowerment practices and opportunities for emancipatory social change through the use of media;
- raise awareness of the reproduction of social inequalities, authoritarianism and stereotypification in and through media;
- develop a network of global stakeholders in the field of critical media literacy and foster exchange.
WHOM WE WANT TO REACH
- Lecturers and students at universities working in the field of teacher education and beyond;
- Teachers, educators and various stakeholders in education who are interested in critical media issues.
HOW THE COOPERATION STARTED
In its 2005 World Report, UNESCO declared a global “knowledge society”, stating that “[t]he current spread of new technologies and the emergence of the internet as a public network seem to be carving out fresh opportunities to widen this public knowledge forum.” According to the report, “equal and universal access to knowledge […] should be the cornerstone of true knowledge societies, which are a source of human and sustainable development.” Almost two decades later, access to knowledge via online resources has become a staple of life. In fact, the very accessibility of knowledge is confronting citizens and users of the Internet with a new type of challenge: How to navigate, allocate, and interpret huge amounts of information available to us in a reflective, politically aware and autonomous way. In short, the digital age reinforces the demand for a crucial capability: critical media literacy (CML). The implications of media use for democracy as a form of government and way of living have become ever more apparent. In the 21st century, none of these developments are limited by national boundaries anymore. On the contrary, any comprehensive engagement with the questions and opportunities related to CML must consider the fact that it is a global phenomenon that informs our way of life and learning, and is here to stay. As HSE, we believe that CML must be at the centre of teacher education.
It was against this background that in the early summer of 2018, then-HSE co-director Beatrix Busse paid a visit to Columbia University’s Teachers College (TC), the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States. On behalf of the HSE, she introduced the idea of tackling the challenge outlined above as it takes shape before our eyes while making its multiple benefits available to current and future student generations and teacher educators alike. Both sides saw early on how a joint effort would prove most promising – especially so in teacher education where both similarities and differences in style and content between the two countries provide fertile ground for cooperation. Thus began the search for common ground in terms of an approach to – and a shared basic understanding of – the issue of CML in the context of teacher education at the intersection of various disciplines (from the humanities, the social and natural sciences) and didactics. The remainder of 2018 and the spring of 2019 were used for drafting a conceptual outline (“Online Module ‘Critical Media Literacy’”) for the initiative and a memorandum of understanding, the latter forming a basis for long-term commitment and legal incorporation of the initiative at the institutions of higher learning involved.
The steering group identifies aims, provides conceptual guidance and is responsible for the project initiative.
Members (in alphabetical order):
- Yoo Kyung Chang (Teachers College, Columbia University)
- Sarah Creider (Teachers College, Columbia University)
- Ekkehard Felder (Heidelberg University)
- Michael Haus (Heidelberg University & Heidelberg School of Education)
- Nina Jude (Heidelberg University)
- Marco Kalz (Heidelberg University of Education)
- Suzanne Pratt (Teachers College, Columbia University)
- Portia Williams (Teachers College, Columbia University)
WHERE WE ARE GOING: EVENTS AND OUTCOMES
LECTURE SERIES 2021 “CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY: A CHALLENGE FOR TEACHER EDUCATION AND BEYOND”
PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL MATERIAL ON CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY
- Online Module applicable in various teaching contexts (specifically integrated in the courses and services at the Heidelberg School of Education and Teachers College (Columbia University);
- Manual that covers critical media literacy definitions and research (secondary literature as well as research and case studies from project participants);
- Tool box for teachers and educators with the materials to be used;
- Forum for debates and exchanges.