Around two hundred people participated in the Media & Learning conference in Brussels from 14th to 15th November 2012. This was an excellent opportunity to exchange the best practices of using media in formal and informal education.

Among the participants were fourteen Croatian representatives from the two VET Graphics Schools from Zagreb and Rijeka and Telecentar from Zagreb. Participation in the conference was financed from IPA Project Media Literacy for the 21st century.

The conference was opened with a plenary session on the condition of education in a global world. Speakers have tried to answer the question whether new media will become a generator of changes in education and training. Especially resounded the provocative speech of Andrew Keen who warned of the negative consequences of uncritical use of social networks and open platform for online learning.

Finalists and winners of the MEDEA Awards for 2012 were presented during the first day of the conference. This now traditional award promotes excellence in production and pedagogical design of media for learning and teaching. The prize is awarded in several categories, and we hope soon to see candidates for the award from Telecentre-Europe, as an evidence of the successful development of the Telecentre Multimedia Academy.

The second day of the conference included the presentation of the Flipped classroom. The concept is based on video lectures that students are watching at home and use it as a kind of theoretical preparation of practical teaching in schools. In this way, the emphasis is put on quality preparation in order to enable more interactivity between teachers and students in a classroom.

The second day was also used to discuss possible collaboration with potential partners in European projects.Telecentar was invited to join the MEDEA Association, a newly founded international non-profit organization that will take over the organization of Media & Learning Conference, the MEDEA award prizes and will facilitate European partnerships and capacity building in the field of media and education.

An initial contact was  established with Casa delle Culture, Italian organization that participated in the Europe 2111 project. It was agreed to explore the possibility of cooperation in the co-production of documentaries and video reports on the topic of European identity. Audio-visual productions in the Europe 2111 project were used as a pedagogical method of developing key competencies required for active involvement of young people in the modern society. The identical methodology was used in Telecentar's projects Perimeter and Multimedia School.

An interesting example of using media in their work with young people were seen in presentations of the Finnish project Hattori media and Belgian project JAVI TV.

Going to Brussels was also used to visit Interface 3, the Belgian non-profit organization that has presented some of its educational programmes for women. A professional IT training at Interface takes a little longer than a year and culminates in a professional practice in Belgian companies. The evidence of their programme quality is seen in the extremely high percentage of 70% of participants getting a job after the successful completion of the education and training.

We hope to see some of the new colleagues at the final conference of the project Media Literacy for the 21st century in September 2013.

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Comment by Ognjen Andric on December 4, 2012 at 16:18

I second Andrew Keen's speech as a must see ! It was really interesting to see disbelief among the audience - I don't think anyone, including the organizers, expected that : )
For me, one of the most interesting Sessions on the 'menu' was on media-enhanced learning opportunities in Special Needs Education. The session was composed of three presentations:
1) Christine Jolly, of the University of Wolverhampton, UK, presented a SignMedia project focusing on innovative learning of English for deaf media professionals. SignMedia actually produced a game-like learning environment simulating a task-based approach to working in an agency. All with plot, great actors and even awards 'players' can win by completing the tasks. And right within that simulation they embedded an ultra sleek e-learning module for English language, specific to the needs of media profesionals.
2) Karel Van Isacker of PhoenixKM and VIPI, Belgium, talked about the social side of their company's efforts: they are extremely active in promoting accessibility standards across various platforms. That's why he focused on the lack of accessibility standards in social media and provided currently present work-arounds.
3) Finally, Colm Olwill spoke about his work as Assistive Technology Tutor at Dun Laoghaire Insititute of Art, Design and Technology in Ireland, giving us an experience-based report on different types of assisitve technologies (AT). Emphasis was given on individual approach to the needs and solutions and common misconceptions people outside of the field have about AT.
The session was concluded by a discussion which stressed the need for more collaboration on both the policy level and within the practical field.
All in all - a great venue, and compliments to the organizers :)

Comment by Zarko Cizmar on December 3, 2012 at 12:44

If you are interested in media and learning, you can watch video lectures, captured at the conference programme web page. Andrew Keen's speech is a MUST SEE.

Comment by Gabriel Rissola on December 3, 2012 at 11:35

Excellent post about the conference, Zarko!

I also participated at Media & Learning conference invited by a partner of  eScouts, a project about intergenerational learning and ICT funded by LLP/KA3 ICT in which TE members Fundación Esplai and ICTDBG are partners.

I would only add some notes about the aspects that I retained relevant to follow-up closely:

- Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director-General, DG EAC made a keynote where he made reference to the recent “Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” strategy launched by the EC. By spring it is expected the publication of “Opening up Education” where the role of ICT in education will be more specifically addressed. He also remarked the need to increase the impact (and the evidence of it) achieved by educational projects funded by the European Commission (e.g. the Lifelong Learning programme).

By the way, this is what MIREIA is about: a framework to help grassroots organizations working in eInclusion to measure and demonstrate their impact, and to which Telecentre-Europe and its members will collaborate by running soon the MIREIA online survey accross EU27.

- My former colleague at IPTS Yves Punie presented two of the research lines developed by the ICT for Learning team he leads: Teachers networking, presented in the Social media networks in schools and in teachers’ lives session, which was about the revisit made by TellNet project to eTwinning network (currently over 86 000 teachers) through visualisation techniques, Social Network Analysis (SNA) and prospective scenario building exercise, and UpScaling Creative Classrooms in Europe (SCALE CCR), which investigates the role of ICT-enabled innovation in Education and Training (E&T) that can be brought to scale, in a cost-effective way (e.g. the role of media in the set up of truly creative learning environments).

Re. MEDEA, Telecentre-Europe was also invited to join this new association, and we will explore this opportunity in the near future.

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