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Teacher Training in Digital Media Literacy

Authored by Ricardo Castellini da Silva

Media Literacy has increasingly been a subject of discussion in educational environments, and this is reflected on the significant growth in awareness of the importance of providing training for teachers, librarians, and other professionals who work with youngsters. One example of a media literacy training is the recent collaboration between Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) and media literacy educator Ricardo Castellini da Silva to promote digital media literacy among Junior Cycle teachers.

JCT is the teacher professional learning support service of the Irish Department of Education. Through its Arts in Junior Cycle programme, it offers teachers elective workshops in collaboration with a range of partners to support engagement with the arts and learning. Understanding the importance of Media Literacy to support critical knowledge and creativity, the Arts in Junior Cycle team contacted Ricardo to co-design learning experiences that inspire, support and empower teachers. The professional learning experiences focused on the digital media literacy short course programme, but they have also been attended by teachers from subject areas as diverse as English, Business, History, CSPE, SPHE, Science and Modern Foreign Languages.

The first workshop, open to teachers from any subject area, was dedicated to discussing the concept of editing as a literacy practice, providing participants with concepts and critical insights about the many ways in which meaning is created through digital media storytelling. The second one was specific for educators who are already teaching or have an interest in teaching the Digital Media Literacy short course. In this workshop participants worked in teams to analyse digital media stories and check their reliability, applying both critical and technical skills.

According to Mary Lowry, the Advisor for Arts in Junior Cycle that co-designed the workshops with Ricardo, one of the key aims of the programme is to support teacher agency and meaning making through collaborative experiences, and the workshops provided teachers with time and space to engage with each other and to reflect on digital media literacy and its relevance in their own context.