media and information literacy
”Imagine that each person sits in their own boat in a sea of information, with strong currents and hidden skerries – and their only navigational device is source criticism.” Quote from Fredrik Konnander, MSB.
”People across the world are witnessing a dramatic increase in access to information and communication. While some people are starved for information, others are flooded with print, broadcast and digital content. Media and Information Literacy (MIL) provides answers to the questions that we all ask ourselves at some point. How can we access, search, critically assess, use and contribute content wisely, both online and offline? What are our rights online and offline? What are the ethical issues surrounding the access and use of information? How can we engage with media and ICTs to promote equality, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, peace, freedom of expression and access to information?”
UNESCO 2017, www.unesco.org
By the year 2022, the majority of the population in mature economies will consume more false information than true, according to the American research and consulting firm Gartner. This is an example of how digitization in recent years has rearranged the media landscape and created completely new challenges in terms of democracy and source criticism.
Being able to interpret and evaluate information is not only crucial for each individual, but also for defending our democracy against very strong forces that want to destroy it.
How should we prepare for these challenges?
By training in media and information skills. MIL. MIL is a collective term for the abilities and knowledge you need to be able to navigate the media landscape.
MIL is about:
• Understanding the role of media in society
• Being able to find, analyze and critically evaluate information
• Be able to express yourself and create content in different media contexts
The young generation is sometimes called “digital natives”. They grew up with their cell phone. Creating and publishing material on the internet is a natural part of their lives. However, studies show that this is not equivalent to being good at navigating the complex and constantly changing media landscape and using it as a ground for making better decisions. Thomas Nygren and Mona Guath
Media- and information literacy isn’t intuitive for any of us. It is something we all need to practice. Why? Because the lack of this competence is, as we have already seen in this last decade, dangerous. It opens the door to polarization and mistrust and a weakened democracy.
Lack of this competence can also hit back on an individual level: As an unexpected bill for having violated another person’s immaterial rights or getting in trouble for other internet related crimes.
Mobile Stories tool is based on the idea that everybody not only needs, but can also benefit immensely, with the knowledge that always has been the journalists’ expertise. Our tool makes it possible to apply the editorial context and processes in school, that you normally find in newsrooms. This process, with peer review, check questions and the editor’s approval, together with the built in guides – help students AND their teachers step by step to create, review, and publish material online. Doing this on an everyday basis teaches students to take responsibility for their publications and, at the same time, empowers them to express themselves in a professional context.
When using this tool on a daily basis, this process will eventually become part of your system, no matter if you publish something on Mobile Stories platform or in social media.
Ulla Carlsson, Professor in Media Research, and UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Information, at the University of Gothenburg, confirms in her book the need of tools for working with MIL, which has grown internationally in recent years. These are her words in an interview with Mobile Stories:
- ”The awareness about this issue has never been this huge. The needs are urgent everywhere. This is on the agenda of, more or less, all countries.”
- ”The belief in the internet as a democratic force have been around for a long time, we have seen that it also creates problems. There is a movement now that creates a market for tools that can balance this – keeping an open internet and still addressing these problems. The school is central as an arena for this. Teachers will need help. There will be a need for tools that are developed outside school, so a kind of market is being created today to meet this urge.”
Mobile Stories is featured as a Best Practice in Ulla Carlsson’s mapping of MIL initiatives in Sweden. This autumn her book is published in English and distributed internationally by Unesco.