New Initiative Aims to Teach Media Literacy Worldwide
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, an initiative of the Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland, today launched an online set of tools, lesson plans, case studies and curricula to teach secondary and university students around the world about the vital role of media in building and supporting civil society.
(Media-Newswire.com) - COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, an initiative of the Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda ( ICMPA ) at the University of Maryland, today launched an online set of tools, lesson plans, case studies and curricula to teach secondary and university students around the world about the vital role of media in building and supporting civil society.
"There is no global issue or political arena in which the statement of problems and the framing of possible solutions are not influenced by media coverage," said Susan Moeller, the director of ICMPA and the lead professor of the Salzburg Academy . "Students in both the developed and the developing world need to understand the different ways media shape our world - and the essential roles media can play in fostering civil society and ensuring transparency and accountability."
This year's Salzburg Academy brought together faculty from 15 top universities around the world and university students from five continents to create dynamic online and downloadable lesson plans. The professors together with students who ranged from undergraduates to PhD candidates worked to research and write case studies and related exercises about how media affect the public's understanding of their own societies, governments, and regions and how media can help bridge cultural and political divides.
"Citizens around the world need to join together in a community of knowledge about media," said Jordi Torrent, project manager for the UNAoC Media Literacy Education Initiative. "The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is partnering with the Salzburg Academy to foster global tolerance and understanding through the teaching of media literacy."
UNESCO is also partnering with the Salzburg Academy and has been deeply involved in helping to create curricular toolkits that support Freedom of Expression and Global Media Literacy. George Papagiannis, program officer at UNESCO's Division of Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace, who attended the Academy session this year, notes, "The tools that UNESCO and the Academy have created and are launching today will enable students around the world to make a difference in their communities. From these lesson plans and toolkits, students will learn that free expression and a free press are vital to the survival and health of open societies."
The Global Media Literacy ( GML ) lesson plans are organized in six modules:
How to identify what "news" matters How to monitor media coverage How to understand media's role in shaping global issues How to defend the importance of freedom of expression, How to promote news literacy by creating and supporting good media How to motivate media to better cover global issues and events. "The framework of the Academy's Global Media Literacy curriculum will allow both university faculty and secondary teachers to either pick and choose lessons and tools to augment their existing classes, or give them the resources to create an entirely new course in the subject," said Paul Mihailidis, a professor at Hofstra and the in-coming director of the Academy. "Schools worldwide are mandating media literacy courses in their core curricula. The Academy's GML resources are written by a global community for a global community. The contributors to this effort come from the United Kingdom and Uganda, as well as China, Chile, College Park, Maryland and beyond."
The Academy website is fully searchable. Teachers, students, media development experts, NGOs, journalists, home-school parents and others can find resources either by moving sequentially through the six module topics, or by conducting an advanced search-such as looking for lesson plans about graphic images or exercises that call for role-playing. Visitors to the site can choose to comment on the lesson plans after registering on the site. They could, for example, upload their own classroom exercises or resources-and they can also download as a print document the lesson plans already up.
The website is launching with 20 complete lesson plans that were created during the 2008 Academy session. Over the course of the fall, dozens more will be uploaded.
The site also is launching with UNESCO's parallel Freedom of Expression curriculum and toolkit, drafted by George Papagiannis and Susan Moeller, and reviewed by international experts in freedom of expression and freedom of the press gathered under UNESCO auspices in Paris. This UNESCO-Salzburg Academy project is the follow-up curricular project to UNESCO's Model Curricula for Journalism Education for Developing Countries & Emerging Democracies that was launched in Singapore in June 2007 by UNESCO, AEJMC and AMIC. UNESCO will formally publish its Freedom of Expression Toolkit in 2009.
Background on the Salzburg Academy for Media & Global Change.
The Salzburg Academy is an initiative of the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda.
The Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent, non-governmental organization that for 60 years has convened imaginative thinkers from different cultures and institutions to solve issues of global concern. The International Center for Media and the Public Agenda ( ICMPA ) is an academic institute for media and public policy teaching and research based at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and affiliated with the University's School of Public Policy.
The Salzburg Academy program brings together for three weeks every summer top undergraduate and graduate students from around the world. Faculty and deans from more than a dozen different universities across the globe participate in the Academy, giving lectures and acting as mentors to small teams of students. The 2008 session was the second year of the program.
The students and faculty study and live at the Salzburg Global Seminar's home, the world-renowned Schloss Leopoldskron, celebrated as an historic center of scholarship-as well as the movie "home" of the Von Trapp family in "The Sound of Music."
Each summer the Academy plays host to a range of world-class speakers and guests. This year the visitors included Academy-award winning actress Vanessa Redgrave ( left ), Chinese journalist Yang Rui, Peter Sutherland the chair of British Petroleum ( BP ) and Goldman Sachs International, former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi, human rights activist Bianca Jagger and former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campell. Last year US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and Maestro Daniel Barenboim of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra gave the opening and closing speeches of the session.
Following each summer's programming, the Academy's university and other partners collaborate in a range of shared projects focused on media's roles and responsibilities in the public consideration of global issues. Global Media Literacy and Freedom of Expression are at the core of the Academy's agenda.
The Salzburg Academy is supported by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and other region-based funders.
For information on the launch of the Global Media Literacy website and tools and on the Salzburg Academy itself, please visit the website: www.salzburg.umd.edu .
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