THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION AND MEDIA LITERACY. A PROFILE OF STUDENTS LEAVING THE FIRST CYCLE OF STUDIES IN COMMUNICATION SCIENCES
Instituto Politécnico de Viseu (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:When we think about media literacy in today's global society, based on the expansion of information and communication technologies, it is imperative to reflect on the way we educate the society members, particularly students, about the role of the media in a global perspective driven by social networks and the Internet.
The project “Media Literacy in Higher Education: an exploratory study within Media Studies students” aims to assess the degree of media literacy of students in the field of Communication Sciences, considering that they are about to join one of the main areas that face, in a daily basis, the challenge of misinformation. Thus, starting from the case of the Social Communication course, taught at the High School of Education/ Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, we applied the first phase of a questionnaire survey, designed, and validated to assess the degree of preparation of future professionals in this area.
The first results of the questionnaire, applied at the end of the 2020/2021 school year, show some tendencies in the profile of students attending the final year of the degree (3rd year) and raise some warnings, especially because it regards young people, about to enter the market, with clear difficulties in distinguishing information from entertainment and opinion.
Regarding the knowledge about journalism as a profession, the major doubts concern the statement about whether entertainment programs include journalists subject to the code of ethics. Students seem to be unaware of the differences between information programs and entertainment programs, probably as a result of the dilution of barriers and the emergence of new infotainment formats. This difficulty in clearly distinguishing between information and entertainment is also noticeable by the fact that some students identify a digital influencer who has a presence in a television entertainment program as an information pivot and also by the fact that many of the respondents classify a general culture program as an information program.
As for the distinction between information and opinion, half of the students misclassify the excerpts presented, which denotes the difficulty of distinguishing texts in which the author makes value judgments, from texts in which comments are attributed to sources of information.
Although there are few studies in this area, based on the results obtained, we consider that it could be useful to try to assess the degree of political, social and civic involvement of young people, seeking to establish a possible correlation between the full practice of citizenship and the domain of media literacy skills, understood here as the set of "skills, knowledge and understanding that allow consumers to use the media effectively and safely", thus being able to "make informed choices and understand the nature of content” (Directive 2007/65/EC). Understanding this relationship “is vital for educators, researchers and policymakers who want to know how to position media literacy in the broader context of education in the 21st century, and who want to know about possible ways to enhance citizen engagement” (Ashley, Maksl & Craft, 2017, p.80).
Keywords: Media Literacy, Media education, Communication sciences, Citizen Engagement.