06 SES 04 A, Reflecting and Designing Curricula in the Digital Culture - Media Education Between Innovation and Normalisation
In many European countries, the consideration of media in curricula has been advanced in recent years (cf. e.g. (Godhe 2019), (Ptaszek and Lysik 2019), (Hipfl 2019), (Kanizaj 2019), (Barnes et al. 2007)). With the consideration of media in curricula, the focus is not on teaching with media, but on teaching about media. In this respect it is controversially discussed whether teaching about media should be anchored in the curriculum as a cross-curricular topic or as a separate subject. Less controversial is the focus on media literacy as a central concept. Theoretical analyses have repeatedly shown that despite different cultural and theoretical contexts in which authors argue, there is often a broad consensus on the matter (Trültzsch-Wijnen 2014). This consensus can be marked with references to the Frankfurt School, Cultural Studies and typical terms like emancipation, democracy, creativity and maturity.
But in recent years, this common core has been challenged by two developments. The first development is the intervention of political and economical initiatives in the field. The second development is an understanding of algorithms as epistemic actors.
Political and economical initiatives can be identified in the context of educational policy activities at European and national levels. These initiatives foreground the potential of digital media and often cite economic and societal justifications (Clifford et al. 2020; McDougall et al. 2018; www.emls.eu). With the 4C model (21st Century Skills), promoted by the P21 partnership (https://www.battelleforkids.org/networks/p21/), and with the DigComp model (Ferrari, Punie, and Brečko 2013), concepts for the design of curricula have been proposed that are not primarily based on the concept of media literacy, but on political interests. Therefore, it is not surprising that an orientation towards economic interests has an higher priority in those concepts than concepts like media literacy. However, the economically oriented concepts are made relevant for media education practice, not least by political decisions.
A second challenge is the understanding of algorithms as epistemic actors (Jörissen and Verständig 2017) that shape communities and societies. Both challenges assume actors (economy and algorithms) that inevitable do shape education, thus can not be rejected and have in turn to be acknowledged as a basis for curricula. With the assumption of societies and algorithms as actors, the two approaches share a common perspective, with which the previous consensus in media pedagogy is questioned.
In the justifications of both positions, little attention has been paid to approaches that consider digital technologies in general and algorithms in particular not as not neutral, but as tools to exercise power that are shaped by people (Barberi and Swertz 2020). In the approaches that consider algorithms as tools to exercise power, it is assumed that in addition to the power-driven structures created by the dominant platform providers (GAFAM or Big Five), algorithms as such have normative connotations (Rubel, Castro, and Pham 2020). The accompanying forms of implementation of norms and normalisations in education are often not reflected.
The round table aims at discussing perspectives to reflect these connotations that are expressed with algorithmic structures. The key question is, if media educators should provide means to analyse the normative connotations of algorithms, provide means to shape the normative connotations or create algorithms in order to promote critical media literacy. It will be discussed whether and how an educational position, that is informed by media educational reflections, can be developed and applied to curricula. The discussion will be focused by considering the different ethics that are effective or used in media education theories and curricula. This concentration is intended to promote a confrontation of the different media educational approaches in order to advance the discussion.
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