TV, radio, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, newspapers, internet... We are constantly bombarded by media content and we don't really know how handle it.
In Finland the theme week Media Literacy Week is held this year on 10th-16th February. The aim of the week is to: “advance the media literacy skills of children and young people, as well as to support professional educators, guardians and other adults in their important media educational tasks.” (Link). Media Literacy Week is part of an international Safer Internet Day -campaign (Link).
In preparation for the Media Literacy Week and because the topic concerns all of us, I wanted to introduce you to a couple of games as examples of how you can teach media skills and media literacy using Seppo. This will be a two part blog post.
Media literacy is one of the most important skills for children to learn nowadays. We cannot prevent children from accessing the internet or social media, so all we can do is to help them to understand and evaluate what they read and see. Surely there are many adults who should improve their own media literacy and media skills as well. Media literacy means that you are able to identify different media and digest what you read and see in them. You are able to interpret the messages the media send and don’t take everything you read at face value.
The Internet is full of material, which anyone can produce and this is a challenge, as we cannot be sure that the information we get is from a reliable source and we should be able to evaluate that ourselves to a certain degree. Anyone can create media and we should become more aware of the reasons why particular media content you come across was made. By improving your and your pupils’ media literacy you become more aware and capable of evaluating the information that surrounds you.
To give you examples of Seppo games made for the purpose of improving or teaching media literacy and media skills in general I naturally headed to our Content library to see what’s been made. I mostly found games made in Finnish, but I translated a couple of exercises that the games have for you to get an idea of what the games entail.
The first game to be introduced is “Mediakasvatus -opet” (Media Education -teachers, freely translated) was made already in 2015 by Hanna Lokka. Hanna works in a Finnish vocational school, Salpaus Further Education, located in Lahti. Hanna is a lecturer of social and health care, teaching future practical nurses. She works also as a digital mentor for other teachers and is responsible for a project called Virtual and Simulated Learning Environments in Vocational Education (freely translated from the Finnish name of the project).
Hanna is an experienced Seppo user, having been using Seppo in teaching for many years already. Mediakasvatus is one of her first games and has been used in teaching practical nurse students as well as other teachers. Hanna tells that she has also used the game as an example of a Seppo game, when introducing other teachers to the world of Seppo, hence the appendix “teachers” in the name.
The game itself consists of exercises varying from testing your own internet addiction to copyright issues and evaluating credibility. Some exercises are more in depth and really challenge the player to think for themselves, in one of the exercises you need to plan for example a media education session for a kindergarten. Some exercises function as informational exercises where the player is expected to reflect on information provided. Very challenging and informative exercises all in all!
Why do I think that Seppo would be a brilliant tool to use for teaching media literacy is that in the exercises it is easy to use external links and videos. It makes it possible for you to use material that is already available somewhere else. You don’t necessarily need to type everything yourself and figure out references etc. But you can provide some background info, direct the player to watch for example a video and then have them reflect on what they saw in the exercise back in Seppo.
With Seppo’s creative exercise type you can easily challenge the players to use their creativity and in a way get them to produce their own media content, if you for example ask for a video reply. This way the players need to themselves go through the process of thinking what they communicate and how they do it. Therefore building up the answer is in itself a learning process of media literacy for the player. Very handy indeed!