The more pervasive the role of the new media in modern society, the more it is imperative to identify and manage the development of the skills and the abilities to use them. Thus, media literacy is a field that has grown rapidly in recent years, both in the academic and the policy discourses, and which will become even more important in the future, as “new” media – notably digital communications, the internet and mobile telephony – become almost universal.
At the European Union level media literacy is a top priority. The European Parliament and the European Commission identify media literacy as an important component of building and sustaining democracy
Technological advances – mobile computing, augmented reality, blogs, social networks, and other modes of connectivity – are producing new media well beyond conventional print and broadcast. People have increased access to information, and opportunities to express ideas, to communicate and to make sense of their worlds through these new media. In classrooms and informal learning environments, these new media are expanding and challenging notions of learning and literacy.
Within this context, and in view both of the changing way of the use of the media and the enormous volume of information we get, the issue of young peoples’ ability to “access, analyze, evaluate and critically access images, sounds and texts is of great significance, as an important component for active citizenship in today’s information society.
The main focus of the European MediaCoach project is the improvement of media literacy levels among young people through the development of large pool of media literate professionals working with youth in schools, youth centers and in non-formal contexts like libraries and museums.
Instead of attempting the development of a pilot experimentation project, the European MediaCoach project proposes the scaling up of a recognized and proven innovation in the field of media literacy. More specifically, the European MediaCoach project aims at the replication of a practice in the field of media literacy that has demonstrable results with qualitative and quantitative evidence of impact; that of the Dutch National MediaCoach Programme. For a number of years the Dutch MediaCoach Training initiative has successfully achieved the goal of improving media literacy among children, young people and parents by training youth professionals, notably, teachers, librarians, youth workers, government officials and other societal professionals and by giving them the opportunity to study the possibilities and challenges of these new media and new literacies.
The Dutch MediaCoach Training Initiative will be replicated in the following five (5) other European Union national contexts that of:
The European MediaCoach Initiative project which brings together key stakeholders in the area of media literacy can act as a catalyst to foster the scaling-up across regions and countries of one of the most successful European practices in the field of youth media literacy.