• What is media literacy?

    Media Pedagogy is a sub-discipline of Educational Science. It plays an increasingly important role and continues to develop since our society has been permeated with digital communication technology in almost all areas of life.

    Media Pedagogy deals with media and their pedagogical significance in work, leisure and education. It analyses which functions and tasks media assume in our society and examines how we deal with media.

    In addition, Media Pedagogy looks at the impact of media on us, humans, develops concepts for the meaningful use of media in pedagogical work and develops goals that are to be reached in this way.

    The primary goal of media pedagogical work is always the mediation or development of media literacy.

    Media Literacy is a very broad term for which there are many definitions. In some cases, a shortened view of the technical aspects of media literacy is emerging. However, this view does not do justice to the multi-dimensionality of the concept as media literacy describes far more than the technical skills required to operate and use media.

    It is more about dealing with media safely, consciously and conscientiously. Thus, media literacy requires a wealth of skills and abilities.

    The concept of media literacy was introduced in Germany in 1973 by educator and media pedagogue Dieter Baacke. Baacke saw media literacy as part of a comprehensive communicative competence, which in the industrial and technically organised society is highly influenced by media. Dieter Baacke's concept had a lasting impact on the debate about media literacy. He defined four areas of media literacy: media critique, media knowledge, media use and media design.

    According to Baacke, a media-literate person does not simply take up media content without contradiction, but constantly questions it critically and controls it with regard to social, moral and ethical aspects.

    • He examines the effects of media and recognises their functions and intentions (media critique).
    • Furthermore, a media-literate person has knowledge of the technical basics and can operate the various media (media knowledge).
    • One can enjoy and use media content and services (e.g. playing a computer game or watching a DVD), but remains responsible and self-determined (media use).
    • After all, a media-competent person uses media as a tool for creative work or the design of his own media products and uses them as a medium of communication to express his/her own ideas (media design).

    Media literacy has become a key qualification in our progressive society. It is communicative literacy and, at the same time, a competence that enables the user to do what is necessary in order to get in contact with one's environment and to be able to express oneself. If the goal of educational efforts is to raise an independent and responsible person, a debate about media must also take place here.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. Can you explain the difference between Media Pedagogy and Media Literacy?

    2. What areas of Media Literacy are defined in the Baacke’s concept?

    3. What kind of competences characterise a media-literate person?