Both in the West and in Russia, the preference in media education today is given to the critical thinking / critical autonomy development theory, the cultural, sociocultural, and semiotic theories. Less popular is the protective theory, focusing upon screening the audience from the harmful influences of the media. However, my impression is that Western media educators seem to prefer the practical approach (with the emphasis on teaching practical skills for working with media equipment) and the consumption and satisfying (the needs of the audience) approach, whereas their Russian colleagues often favor the artistic approaches in media education. Universally recognized are the achievements of our colleagues from Canada and Australia, where media education is a compulsory school discipline. The philosophy and practices of the leading British, French, and American media educators have also obtained general recognition. Traditionally strong are the positions of media education in Scandinavian countries. As for the East European ones, the world obviously knows more about the experiences of Russian and Hungarian media educators, whereas the achievements of the Czech Republic, and Romania in this sphere remain little-known — not least on account of the language barrier. Of course, Canada and Australia are far ahead of others in making media education a reality. Here in Russia we have much to learn from them.
In Russia we now have several specialized web-sites, offering materials on media literacy to all teachers — and your readers, too. In 2000, first two bilingual Russian/English sites on audio-visual media education were created (www.medialiteracy.boom.ru and www.mediaeducation.boom.ru), then the Russian site (www.mediaeducation.ru). Later the Mediatheka of the School Sector (http://school-sector.relarn.ru/efim/mainframe.html), the School Mediatheka (http://www.ioso.ru/scmedia) and other sites appeared. In March 2004, the website of the Russian Association for Film and Media Education (http://www.edu.of.ru/mediaeducation) organized the first all-Russian Internet-conference on media education. In recent years, Russian media educators have become active participants in international conferences, many of them publishing the results of their research in specialized journals and academic publications concerned with current problems of media and media literacy in the U. S., France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia, and Norway. In Russia itself, the last five years have yielded no fewer than 20 monographs and study guides on media education, and dozens of articles and teaching programs in books and journals on research and education. In 2002, media education was officially registered as a new university specialty—which I think is a really important achievement. In the autumn of 2002 at Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute we began to train future media educators. Some Russian universities offer their students courses in media education. Several laboratories of the Russian Academy of Education actively promote media education in schools; in 2004, media educational centers in Perm and Chelyabinsk were established. In the autumn of 2004, the South-Ural Center for Media Education held an all-Russian round-table conference, where representatives of UNESCO and the Russian Association for Film and Media Education took part. As one of its outcomes, the publication of the new specialized journal Mediaobrazovanie (Media Education) was initiated — you may read the full texts of all its issues at the website of the IPOS UNESCO Information for All Program (http://www.ifap.ru/projects/mediamag.htm).
Many projects are realized due to my colleagues from the Russian Academy of Education. A network of school mediathekas (libraries containing books, journals, audio and video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, etc.) has been created in recent years, and a number of most interesting creative network projects for schoolchildren have been launched—these directions are guided by Y. Yastrebtseva. Her colleagues, L. Bazhenova and Y. Bondarenko, aim their efforts at promoting media educational work in Moscow schools. During the lessons, play activities are often used (especially with younger children), students perform creative tasks (making a short video film, a photo collage, etc.), and have collective discussions of media texts. Similar work is going on in schools and universities of other Russian cities — Tver, Voronezh, Samara, Perm, Chelyabinsk, Rostov, Taganrog, Tambov, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Volgodonsk… For example, the recognizable symbol of media education in Voronezh is the Student Film and Video Club, where participants come to discuss especially significant or problem films — the club is led by S. Penzin, an art critic and assistant professor of the Voronezh State University. Professor G. Polichko from the State University of Management is the initiator of annual media educational festivals for schoolchildren — with master>
As for the current situation in Russia, media education now receives backing and encouragement from the Ministry of Education and Science (I’ve already mentioned the registration of the new university specialty), media educational projects are supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, by the Program of Russian President’s grants “Support of the Leading Scientific Schools,” and the program of target grants of the RF Ministry of Education and Science “Development of the Scientific Potential of Universities” However, media education in Russian schools has no official status yet, and courses on media literacy are still a rarity for many Russian universities.
Buckingham, D. (1991). Teaching About Media. In: Lusted, D. (Ed.). The Media Studies Book. London – New York: Routledge, pp.12-35.
Fedorov, A. (1989). It is Hard to Be Young: Cinema and School.. Moscow: Cinema-Center.
Fedorov, A. (2001). Media Education: History, Theory and Methods. Rostov: CVVR, 708 p.
Fedorov, A. (2003). Media Education and Media Literacy: Experts’ Opinions. In: MENTOR. A Media Education Curriculum for Teachers in the Mediterranean. Paris: UNESCO.
Fedorov, A. (2004). Specificity of Media Education in Pedagogical Universities. In: Pedagogica., N 4, pp.43-51.
Fedorov, A. (2005). Media Education and Media Literacy in the Knowledge Societies. In: UNESCO between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society. Moscow: Institute of the Information Society, pp. 329-339.
Fedorov, A. (2006). Media Education: Creative Assignments for University and Schools Students. In: Innovation in Education. N 4, pp.175-228.
Fedorov, A. (2007). Development of the Media Competence and Critical Thinking of Pedagogical University’s Students. Moscow: IPOS UNESCO IFAP (Russia), 616 p.
Fedorov, A., and others. (2005). Media Education. Media Literacy. Media Journalism. Moscow: IPOS UNESCO ‘Information for All”. CD.
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Yestrebsteva, E., Bykhovsky, Y. (2001). My Region is the Center of the Universe: The Development of Telecommunications and Educational Activity in the Regions. Moscow: Federation for Internet Education, 240 p.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov: Brief CV
Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov completed his Ph.D. thesis at the Russian Academy of Education (Moscow) in the field of media education (1993). Currently he is the president of Russian Association for Film & Media Education, an expert of IPOS UNESCO ‘Information for All”, Russian Foundation for Basical Research Sciences (RFFI) and pro-rector of Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute. He is also a member of Russian Academy of Film Arts & Science, Russian Union of Filmmakers, CIFEJ & FIPRECI.
Prof. Alexander Fedorov is the author of 16 books on media education and literacy and more than 400 articles (in Russian, American, Canadian, French, German, and Norwegian media studies and media literacy journals). Since 1997 he has received scientific research grants on media culture and media education topics from the President of the Russian Federation, Russian Foundation for Humanities, Russian Ministry of Education, Kennan Institute (USA), IREX (USA), MacArthure Foundation (USA), Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation, USA), DAAD (Germany), and other. He was a guest professor and research fellow in Norway Association for Media Education, Oslo (1995), Central European University (Budapest, 1998, 2006), Kassel University (2000), Maison des sciences des homme, Paris (2002), Kennan Institute, Washington D.C. (2003), Humboldt University, Berlin (2005).
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