UNESCO convened expert meeting on media and information literacy indicators
UNESCO organized an expert group meeting on the development of a global framework of indicators to measure media and information literacy (MIL) from 4 to 6 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event brought together experts from all regions (representing 17 countries) and from a wide range of domains including: media, information, education, curriculum development, psychometrics and statistics.
The meeting in Bangkok marked the beginning of a complex process and specifically aimed at:
- reviewing and validating the conceptual foundations of this process, including the examination and validation of a generic set of media and information literacy competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) required for citizens;
- elaborating measurement methodologies for MIL indicators to be considered by UNESCO.
The articulation of MIL indicators is part of UNESCO's global action to promote media and information literate societies. UNESCO believes that MIL indicators will enable governments and other stakeholders to: acquire a greater understand of this field, assess the status of media and information literacy in their countries, ascertain required inputs and measure their progress towards wide-scale media and information literacy take-up.
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read, write and compute. However, broader concepts of literacy have evolved to changes in patterns of communication and information. Today there are multiple literacies, including competencies that allow individuals to understand, critically evaluate, and use information and media.
This "renewed vision for literacy" emphasizes the importance of individuals working within their own social contexts and being able to use literacy skills to navigate social change. As new technologies and media proliferate, opening new possibilities for communication and information, new competencies are required to make effective use of their potential.
This first expert group meeting attempted to develop an inclusive list of MIL indicators and to provide a framework for competencies in media and information literacy. The recommended set of MIL competencies will lead to the development of a comprehensive set of MIL indicators, while foregrounding those that are believed to be most critical, cost- and time-effective to monitor.
According to the experts who participated in the meeting, future indicators should be organized in two sets:
- Tier 1 Indicators: intended to measure enabling factors that influence how individuals acquire MIL competencies and how well public and private institutions promote media and information literacy ;
- Tier 2 Indicators: intended to measure MIL competencies for all individuals in a society with additional consideration for teacher trainers and teachers in-training and in-service.
The initiative to develop indicators to measure media and information literacy was spearheaded by the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector in cooperation with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the UNESCO Office in Bangkok. UNESCO is presently validating an action plan that was prepared and proposed by the participants of the meeting. The report of the meeting will be published by the end of this year.