Digital Media Literacy: Germany

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The Future of DML: Germany (A)

The common themes found in the insights in the attached spreadsheet, and below, include the lack of training and support for DML teachers, the problems Germany is having in meeting the DML needs of its citizens and the challenge of defining the difference between digital literacy and digital media literacy.

Insights into DML in Germany


  • A comparison of the approach between Denmark and Germany in digital media literacy is instructive in understanding why there is a wide gap in digital media usage among the elderly in Germany. In Denmark, the country made use of a basic tenet in change management, which is to remove the option of continuing to do things the same way. In Denmark, the only option for communicating with or about government services is through digital media. This method, combined with easy access to training designed with adult learning principles, has meant a deep uptake in Denmark of digital media, while in Germany, there is still the option to use the old processes.
  • The primary issue outlined in this source is the lack of resources, standardization, and teacher training provided in digital media literacy in Germany. The challenge with this report is that the survey of German school children was completed and published before the latest initiative of the German government (DigitalPakt Schule), which provides the funding to address the issues raised. So, while this source offers a description of the state of DML in German schools in 2018, it does not reflect the current status with the new directives and funding.
  • The most interesting statistic in this article states that while 99.4% of German school students have a computer at home and spend 114 min on average weekdays using technology, only 14 min is spent using technology at school per day. The study found a consistently higher demand than supply, which indicates that there is scope to expand digital teaching and learning within German HE. The primary reason the gap is not being filled is the reluctance of the older professors to support the transformation. For a higher educator who has been teaching the same content the same way for 20 years, there is little incentive to spend the time required to restructure the delivery methodology.
  • This report again provides insight into the importance the German government is putting on increasing DML in its populace. One of the reasons for the investment of both public and private entities could be the McKinsey report of 2017, which states that the country relies heavily on traditional manufacturing and may not be well-prepared either practically or socially for the changes that come with greater digitization of work.
  • Change is difficult for many people, but especially so for professionals who are entrenched in a particular methodology. It is especially tricky for professional educators who are expected to know everything and are afraid to make a mistake in front of their students. This attitude is the most significant issue facing digital media literacy in the education sector. Teachers can clog the pipeline of information.
  • In response to the draconian fines that social media platforms face in Germany, if hate content is not removed within 48 hours, Facebook has proposed an alternative. " If people were media literate, they would not be tricked by click bait, and they would recognize sponsored content. They would value quality journalism and abhor junk news. They would be knowledgeable about how content spreads virally, and they would examine the sources of information to identify biased points of view. Most importantly, they would be responsible creators themselves, not just consumers. They would make substantial good-faith efforts to ensure that the content they create and share themselves is accurate, fair, and socially responsible." This strategy is a win-win-win for all players — individual consumers, social media platforms, and society as a whole. The reality is content and communication channels will continue to change and evolve, and principle-based learning and assessment is the key to DML.
  • Driven by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the "understanding of inclusion involves different dimensions of heterogeneity, such as disability, social and / or cultural background, gender, age, and brings together two strands of discourse: on the one hand, discourses about the unequal living conditions and disabilities of people with disabilities and, on the other, discussions about the dynamics of social division." Both the German government and the non-profit GMK (Society for Media Education and Communication Culture), which is dedicated to promoting media education and media literacy support access for all. The implication of this in DML is multiple technologies for deaf, blind, quadriplegics, and numerous access points for disenfranchised.
  • Because some teachers struggle with the issue of change and their abilities in the area of digital media literacy, the GMK developed a position paper centered on the need to professionalize the field of digital media literacy education. The content was developed at a conference by experts from research, teaching, administration, (inter-) cultural, vocational, general, and extra-curricular as well as school media pedagogical practice.
  • GMK issued this position paper to address two issues. First, the lack of professional, trained, digital media literacy teachers means that some students are leaving the education system with no exposure to digital media. Secondly, in some cases, only the competent use of technology and standard software is being taught, rather than learning with the media as well as learning through the media.
  • The findings in this report from 2012 are interesting in that they show not only the foundations for the new program. The date of this publication also illustrates the length of time it can take a government to develop a new initiative after the need is identified.
Sources
Sources