CAC launches school media literacy programme
- The eduCAC programme aims to foster critical analysis of content on all types of screen and encourage good device use among pupils
- It offers schools educational resources and teaching materials to work with pupils aged from 10 to 16, on subjects such as mobile use, digital identity, fake news and advertising, and the values that influencers and youtubers convey
- Practical workshops will also be given at primary and secondary schools on how to detect fake news, in addition to an awareness-raising campaign aimed at the general public
- The project is supported by the Catalan Regional Ministry of Education, the Catalan Society of Journalists, the CCMA and the "la Caixa" bank foundation
The Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC) has launched eduCAC, a media literacy programme that offers primary and secondary schools and families educational resources to use audiovisual content critically and responsibly. The project is supported by the Catalan Regional Ministry of Education, the Catalan Society of Journalists, the Catalan Broadcasting Corporation (CCMA) and the "la Caixa" bank foundation. Its aim is to encourage critical analysis of content viewed on any type of screen and sensible device use, particularly among minors.
EduCAC offers schools teaching materials to work on these skills in the classroom with pupils aged 10 to 16 years old (Years 5 and 6 of primary school and Years 1 to 4 of secondary), although some materials have also been adapted for younger children (Years 3 and 4 of primary).
The programme was piloted last year in four schools (two state and two state-subsidised public schools) and is now available to all Catalan schools for the 2018-2019 academic year. The activities have been designed for teachers to lead in the classroom and address such issues as using mobiles and other devices; digital identities; fake news; reality TV; how filters and algorithms influence searches and advertising, and the values that influencers and youtubers convey.
The CAC presented eduCAC on 14 November at a press conference at Escola Solc in Barcelona, one of the participating schools in the pilot phase.
Audiovisual consumption has changed dramatically in recent years. Eighty per cent of people aged under 34 regularly watch audiovisual content on the internet and on social media. This has also led to a change in the way we stay informed. Almost half of the population (48%) regularly reads or watches news online, especially on digital media sites and social networks. This percentage rises to 75% among the 18 to 24 age group, whose main source of information is Facebook (75.7%), followed by the digital press (51.4%) and Twitter (44.6%).
According to CEO data, 86% of parents think that new audiovisual services such as internet TV, on-demand content and television streamed on smartphones and tablets can expose children to potentially harmful content. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 parents also believe that minors do not take enough precautions with privacy on the internet and social media.
For CAC chairperson Roger Loppacher, "our society is digital and audiovisual and we live amid screens and communicative and informative input". He highlighted the enormous educational potential of the internet. But he also warned of the risks, adding "this is exactly where we find the most potentially harmful content, especially for minors".
As a result, he noted, "one of the major challenges in education this century is providing tools so that people, particularly minors, can use this new environment of the internet and social networks critically and safely. That is why we developed eduCAC: to equip young people with the skills to critically analyse messages they receive and to take responsibility for messages they send."
Loppacher added, "this is a common challenge; a shared responsibility. That is why the eduCAC programme is a concerted action aimed at the whole of Catalonia in the hope that we will have full buy-in from all parties”.
The Regional Minister of Education, Josep Bargalló, underlined the importance of the programme: “It is important for our pupils to learn to read the information they receive from the media, learn to evaluate it, distinguish it according to differing interests, and know what is true and what is not. EduCAC is an extraordinary initiative to achieve this; good tool for teachers, pupils and families to work on critical analysis. The fact it is cross-cutting since it can be used for a range of subjects and projects is ideal.”
Bargalló noted the importance of technology in the classroom, adding, "we must debate whatever we need to. Without debate there is no information, but let us not forget the reality: technology has not come to stay but to be mastered. We carry mobile technology around with us and what we have to debate is not whether to ban mobile technology, but how we use technology to teach our pupils and improve the education system.”
Practical workshops on how to detect fake news and an awareness-raising campaign
The eduCAC programme also includes practical workshops that journalists will give in schools. This initiative is the outcome of an agreement between the CAC, the Catalan Society of Journalists, and the "la Caixa" bank foundation. Members of the Society of Journalists will give practical talks to pupils on issues such as how to detect fake news and how news is written. The current academic year includes 45 planned workshops that will begin in early January 2019.
The dean of the Catalan Society of Journalists, Neus Bonet, stressed our need as a community to know exactly what our children's and young people's “media diet” is. She also recalled that the Society has been involved in a similar programme for over ten years - "The press in schools" - which aims to find out how pupils get information, promote journalism as the primary source of reliable information, and provide tools to combat misinformation.
The dean added that "initiatives such as these contribute to public media literacy", and noted that "a critical society strengthens democracy”.
The director of the Commercial and Educational Department of the "la Caixa" bank foundation, Xavier Bertolín, said that "our young people get most of their information from social networks and the internet, and they do not always have the means to distinguish real news from fake news. Our mission is to guide them and equip them with tools to develop critical thinking skills."
EduCAC is also supported by the CCMA. Together with the "la Caixa" bank foundation it will carry out a communications campaign to disseminate eduCAC and raise public awareness about the need to critically analyse content and use the internet and devices properly. In addition, pupils will work on the eduCAC programme on field trips to the studios of Catalan television station TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, which 18,000 pupils visit every year.
The acting chair of the CCMA, Nuria Llorach, said that "stimulating critical analysis; promoting the values of coexistence, social commitment and diversity; contributing to personal development in children and young people, and helping to educate responsible citizens are all principles in the Corporation's DNA. It is because of these principles that the Corporation has become involved in the media education project we are presenting today.”
Llorach announced that the CCMA will take part in three areas of the project: the awareness-raising campaign, the coordinated inclusion of media education content on the programmes and news, and incorporating media education content on school trips to TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio.
Materials for schools and families
The eduCAC educational resources aimed at schools are divided into 12 teaching units (four on information, four on entertainment, two on advertising and two on best practices for devices); four classroom projects to put theory into practice ("I, journalist", "Stories!", "Let's state our values" and "On the web and off it”); three cross-cutting pathways to work values through audiovisual creation ("Gender stereotypes", "Digital identity" and "Cultural diversity"), and three tutorials on pre-production, production and post-production.
All of the materials come with a teacher's guide on how to work on the content, the duration of activities, assessment criteria, and links to other external resources to complement the activities (including news articles from the media, adverts, YouTube videos, films, etc.). Specific teacher training sessions will also be given.
The materials have been developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts in pedagogy, education, teaching, the media and the internet. The programme does not entail a greater workload for pupils because it has been designed to follow the basic skills covered in compulsory education.
The teaching materials from the programme are available to schools on the website www.educac.cat. There are now 350 people registered on the programme.
The eduCAC resources aimed at families include a guide with tips on how to protect minors online, information about parental control filters, a platform to send complaints about harmful content, and audiovisual recommendations aimed at young people on issues such as bullying, sexting, anorexia, cyberaddiction and harmful content. The CAC has also started working with a Catalan youtuber and influencer (ÀnimaLliure) to produce recommendations aimed at young people in the type of register and format typically used online.
In addition, informative sessions will be offered to families through parent-teacher associations.