DECODING MESSAGES Conference
For the first time in Hungary, media education experts from across Europe gather together in Hungary to discuss the best methods to increase children’s media awareness. The professional event to be held on 24-25 November 2014 is arranged by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH). Besides presenting Magic Valley (Bűvösvölgy), the first media literacy centre of Hungary established by the Authority, the conference will spotlight the activities of German and Dutch media literacy institutions. Beyond highlighting the future role of training centres, lecturers will discuss the possibilities of integrating the practical knowledge acquired in such institutions into public and higher education curricula.
Miklós Császár (Head of Professional Programme Development of the Magic Valley), Mary T. E. Berkhout (Program Director of Mediawijzer.net Media Literacy Expert Centre in the Netherlands), Monika Karas (President of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority) and Sebastian Ring (Media Pedagogy Rapporteur of the Media Center Munich | Photo by Gábor Sebestyén)
Organised by the NMHH, the conference entitled Decoding Messages – Best Practices in Media Literacy Education in Europe (decodingmessages.com) will host more than 200 industry representatives to share their experiences in the area of media education. Lecturers include Vladimir Gai, with a professional background at UNESCO, as well as British, Norwegian, Finnish, Slovakian, Dutch and German media professionals. Presentations will showcase the best European practices with a special focus on Magic Valley, and introduce the activities of similar media literacy training centres in the Netherlands and Germany. The event will contribute to promoting the most efficient and useful methods designed to encourage the youth to grab the opportunities provided by modern media while avoiding possible threats through conscious media consumption.
Programme of the conference
Plenary session – the plenary session held on the first day of the conference will feature speakers introducing the session topics, outlining future perspectives and strategic concepts. Participants will get background knowledge and a comprehensive overview of European Union and international concepts and the role of media literacy education centres.
Session 1 – The potential role of media policy in media literacy: this session will feature presentations by representatives of media authorities or media watchdogs from Member States and the state organisations shaping media policy on the roles and responsibilities to be undertaken in media literacy development.
Session 2 – Discussion on best practices in media literacy education in Europe: representatives from European media literacy centres will present the operation of their institutions, their achievements so far and their strategic plans for the future.
Session 3 – The impact and achievements of decades of media literacy education: the session will offer presentation by international speakers on methods designed to equip researchers and education professionals, including Hungarian specialists, with the tools they need to achieve and use media literacy education outcomes.
Session 4 – Media literacy and education to foster social inclusion: speakers include committed NGOs who, also supported by industry actors, play an active part in media literacy education, media competency development and talent management outside the school system.
Conference participants include educators, higher education teachers, researchers involved in media literacy, conscious media consumption and consumer behaviours, decision-makers and experts of state organisations responsible for public and higher education and representatives of NGO’s operating in the field of media literacy. Attendees may take advantage of the theoretical and practical knowledge shared at the conference to benefit their students or to use the experience gained as a resource for future research, including studies examining the possibilities of incorporating media literacy education into national curricula. The Hungarian example, the Magic Valley Media Literacy and Education Centre established in 2014 based on the concept proposed by the NMHH, offers a uniquely complex programme inspired by the recommendation of the European Commission adopted in 2009 on media literacy. The document calls for the incorporation of media education and media literacy into the educational system and for involving as many stakeholders in the effort as possible in Member States, stressing the role of media authorities. As early as the 1970s, Finland was the first in the European continent to incorporate media literacy education into its elementary school and later, middle school curriculum, followed by Sweden and Denmark. In parallel to the Scandinavian region, other Western European countries also recognised the importance of media education and teacher training. Through site visits, attendees will have an opportunity to get acquainted with Magic Valley from a practical perspective as well: 50-person groups will take turns to visit the Centre and attend bilingual presentations, while simultaneous workshops will be held at the main venue. It is a priority objective of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority to ensure, both through permanent programmes and one-off initiatives, the protection of children in the modern world of media and telecommunications. Besides organising the media literacy conference, it was in this spirit that the NMHH established Magic Valley and set up its Internet Hotline service, in the framework of which the Authority follows up on hundreds of calls each year reporting illegal or unlawful internet content. Moreover, the NMHH is responsible for coordinating the Internet Roundtable for Child Protection. Under its corporate social responsibility programme, the NMHH has undertaken volunteer work aimed at improving, in the context of long-term cooperation, the media literacy of children raised without biological parents. Moreover, the NMHH has set up New Media Culture Creative Labs in the framework of university agreements with a view to enhancing media awareness: so far, it has equipped computer facilities at four prestigious universities with the most state-of-the-art IT tools, offering students — the media professionals of the future — the freedom of creative work.
About Magic Valley:
Set up by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) in 2014, Magic Valley (Bűvösvölgy in Hungarian) is Hungary's first Media Literacy and Education Centre. The Centre's mission is to teach Hungarian children how to use the media in a more conscious and safer way. In Magic Valley, children can learn, through playful, interactive, creative processes how they are affected by the digital world and find out about the dangers and opportunities young media content creators may encounter by navigating the new media culture. The media literacy centre assists them in this process through a state of the art equipment pool and skilled animators.
It is a priority objective of the NMHH to take on an active role in Hungarian teacher training as well. Plans include an in-service training programme adapted to the National Core Curriculum for which teachers from all over the country are encouraged to apply. For further information, please visit the www.buvosvolgy.hu website.