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EDMO Ireland and FuJo submission to the public consultation on the Junior Cycle Digital Media Literacy Short Course

EDMO Ireland and FuJo made a submission to the public consultation on the Junior Cycle Digital Media Literacy Short Course that was organized by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

The development of the DML short course has been one of the most significant achievements for media literacy education in the Irish educational system and this consultation will provide further insights into the current state of the course as well as potential changes to the content. The authors welcomed this opportunity to discuss improvements to the course and made a few recommendations.

The submission argues that the aim of the course is narrowly focused on the acquisition of technology skills. Instead, there should be more emphasis on digital citizenship, critical awareness, and cultural engagement. Foundational and critical knowledge about media and digital media is required to ensure students can assess and respond to the major challenges that typify their online worlds (e.g., disinformation, manipulation, hate speech, cyberbullying etc.) and the major opportunities (e.g., communication, learning, creativity, cooperation etc.).

In relation to the 4 strands of the course, two topics that have recently acquired significant status in media literacy debates and have a major influence on digital citizenship should be included in the specification: artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms. The authors also discussed some of the learning outcomes (LOs) within each strand and recommended some improvements. For instance, the LOs do not address the role, influence and power of digital platforms. It is insufficient to discuss people’s online practices without including how these practices are subjected to rules and policies created by digital platforms. The submission also recommends that the course promotes the idea that students can use the communication tools available to practice their citizenship through digital storytelling and online education.

Besides changes in the specification, EDMO Ireland and FuJo also recommend more focus on teacher training in DML. This training would involve not only the provision of knowledge and skills, but also practical guidance on how to make the most of the resources available, including suggestions of practical activities, pedagogical frameworks and learning formats.

Read the full submission here