Monday, March 6, 2023

#MES23 - Global Media Education Summit (Part 1)


I escaped the big Ontario snowstorm because I was in Vancouver for the Global Media Education Summit. At one point, I said, "My brain is full". It was. In addition to presenting three times, I attended many other talks. Here is my summary of what I heard, what I learned, and the many great connections I created with some very smart people from all over the world. I am going to leave the traditional "So What, Now What?" section of my reflection to the end because some of these talks were very academic and it might be easier to explain my next steps based on the day's content, rather than individual sessions. Plus, this post is so long that it needs to be published in two parts. Here is Part 1.

Global Media Education Summit

Conference Reflections by Diana Maliszewski

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Opening Keynote - How to Sense The Future: Global Climate Change and Media Edu-cologies (5:00 pm PST)

Summary (taken from program)Global climate change has been predicted for at least a century, and yet little has been changed in response. This inaction has revealed the importance and inadequacy of knowledge: at first, many scientists and activists believed that simply educating the public would be enough, but the continuing lack of action and the debates over the existence and cause of global climate change – even after many predictions have materialised – has proven otherwise.
Although there are many reasons for this failure to act – such as concerted political efforts to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt – our talk explores the difficulty of scale and attempts to overcome it. A fundamental difficulty is the fact that we experience weather, not climate: climate is an abstraction based on global inputs and dynamics that seem impervious to individual actions. To register the intricate and interwoven impact of climate change, we turn to arts-based interventions that deploy affectively intense hyper-local experiences. Ranging from individual VR experiences, to large scale art installations, they reveal how the senses can be deployed to create affective and effective relationships with our future world.

3 Key Points:

1) Move beyond data visualization to data visceralization - so people can feel and experience it on an emotional level.

2) Art plays an important role in understanding climate change.

3) Even with "successful" art interventions, there are criticisms with their approaches.

Media Artifacts:


Welcome to the Global Village Square (6:00 pm PST)

Summary (taken from program): Carolyn Wilson, Executive Director of the McLuhan Foundation for Digital Media Literacy, welcomes participants to the Global Village Square (GVS), a new global hub for those around the world involved in media literacy. The GVS is a place to “meet” and share research, resources, best practices, news about upcoming events, and critical perspectives on digital media and technology, recognizing that we all benefit from staying connected and knowing what is happening in the field.

3 Key Points:

1) The McLuhan Foundation can be found at

2) The organization wants to create a gathering space for all things media literacy.

3) They encourage people all over the world to sign up.

Friday, March 3, 2023

MES Panel 2 (9:00 am PST)
Building Critical Media Education: From Classroom to Community

Summary (taken from program): This presentation discusses a partnership between my Critical Media Literacy course and the local school district’s Racial and Educational Justice Team that extends media education from the university classroom to the local community and promotes social justice and media awareness among youths. This four-year project asks students to design Media Education Workshops themed around media representations on identity politics, such as that of gender, race and ethnicity, and (im)migration, and aimed at advancing high school students’ awareness and understanding of these issues. A panel of school teachers and equity & diversity specialists from the local school district select three best ideas and my students continue to produce, refine and present the actual workshops to local high school students at the Students Justice Conference hosted by the partnering school district. In this practice-oriented process, my students have learned to apply classroom knowledge in media advocacy to empower themselves and minority communities, and to promote media literacy for diversity and equity. The collaboration also exemplifies a co-education model in students’ learning as the specialists and coordinators of the school district’s Racial & Educational Justice Team bring their expertise in youth education and community outreach to the classroom by providing formative feedback to students’ projects and giving guest lectures on social justice, inclusion and intersectionality. This project showcases an inspiring and empowering process where college students pass on their knowledge, passion and aspirations to the younger generations through participating in media education and public engagement.

3 Key Points: 

1) Min Tang, the speaker, was very pleased with the projects her students helped create for the high school audience, on topics from Disney princess images to race/gender in video games, to whitewashing in Hollywood.

2) The structure gave adequate time for her 200 level college students to prepare (as in the fall they pitch their ideas, in the winter, they research the topic, and in the spring they present their research workshops to the high school students if they wished).

3) Min said some of her major takeways was to they benefited from the expertise of their partners (the local school board, the high school's student justice conference), learned to engage with the local community, and how the university students transitioned from learner to teacher

MES Panel 2 (9:00 am PST)
Confirmation Bias, Analytical Thinking, and Emotional Intensity in Evaluating News Headlines Online

Summary (taken from program): This study examines the role of prior beliefs, analytic thinking, and emotional intensity of content in believing that information is truthful or not. Participants (N=169 Facebook users) were presented with news headlines previously categorised into three specific subgroups – for or against vaccination, true or false, and high or low in emotional intensity. Each participant first answered questions about their attitude and behaviour towards vaccination against COVID-19 based on the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and filled out a cognitive reflection test (CRT), a measure of analytic thinking, followed by an evaluation of each headline on whether it is truthful or not. The results showed strong evidence of overall confirmation bias in the group that supports vaccination; however, when considering whether the headline is real or false, the most significant differences between the groups were found in the case of trust in fake headlines against vaccination – those against vaccination to a larger extend believed in false headlines confirming their prior beliefs. In contrast, such differences between the groups were weak in case of false headlines supporting vaccination. Further analysis showed that analytic thinking described by the CRT score had a weak yet statistically significant tendency to promote one's ability to distinguish real from false information. The intensity of headlines had the most significant differences when evaluating real news headlines supporting vaccination with low emotional intensity and false news headlines against vaccination with low emotional intensity. Overall, these findings provide additional insight into the complex nature of information evaluation online and the critical role of one's prior beliefs and emotional components of the content.

3 Key Points:

1) Martins Priedols, the presenter, is a social psychologist from the University of Latvia and he said that the way Latvian society looks at media is very important, considering their "next-door neighbor" (Russia).

2) His study recruited participants via Facebook and the results were that the intensity of the headline had the most significant different when evaluating real news and there were interesting findings related to emotional intensity. One's prior beliefs play a critical role and the context matters a lot.

3) Sociocentric thinking does not equal critical thinking.

MES Panel 2 (9:00 am PST)
Gateways and Radicalization: The Rhetoric of Anti-Vaxx

Summary (taken from program): One of the most striking outcomes of the pandemic has been the spirited and public opposition to vaccinations and vaccine mandates. The communities that have coalesced to form what we might call the anti-vaxx movement include “strange bedfellows” (Gramsci) that emerge from diverse political and social groupings. We will present findings of a data scraping and visualization project, the data drawn primarily from Twitter over the first six months of 2022, a period that wraps around the events of January and February when the Canadian capital was occupied by the so-called Freedom Convoy. Our research connects a series of curated keywords that were in heavy circulation online with further data from Twitter. We seek those intersectional points where users who come into the conversation from different gateways coincide.
The anti-vaxx movement - which includes long-term, dyed in the wool skeptics of vaccinations and Western medicine, alongside a large number of right-wing malcontents and anti-state actors – is a highly polarized space of us vs them logics, increasingly drawn into conspiracy theories about a Great Reset directed by the World Economic Forum. The emergence to prominence of a kind of rigid, conspiratorial thinking poses a dramatic challenge to media education which relies on some flexibility of worldview to challenge ideas, ideologies and idiosyncrasies. 

3 Key Points:

1) The "Freedom Convoy" was called a "fringe minority with unacceptable views" but many different groups were drawn in, including an interesting intersection between the new age movement and conspiracy theories.

2) The Canadian flag image was taken over and appropriated by the Freedom Convey. The right wing as taken over the Big Protest movement and has co-opted language of critical thinking as part of their strategies (e.g. "do your own research" / "who is awake?")

3) This project involved collecting and analyzing 35 000 tweets based on "seed words" and it turns out different people come in from different entry points but if not careful can fall into 3 areas of "no return" (i.e. "they are lying" / "we are being persecuted" / "the normies won't get it").

MES Panel 2 (9:00 am PST)
Developing Children's Algorithmic Literacies Through Curatorship as Media Literacy

Summary (taken from program): The act of curating, that is organising, assembling and presenting content and considering audience engagement (Valtonen et al., 2019), often occurs on digital platforms by seemingly invisible algorithmic processes. Research shows the practice of curatorship can develop forms of media literacy with young people (Potter, 2012), with some research pointing to the potential of curatorship to develop an understanding of algorithms (Mihailidis & Fromm, 2014).

 So it has been established that students can learn about algorithmic processes and how they impact their media experiences through curatorship experiences. However, there are challenges using such an approach with young children, particularly in early childhood education settings. Although young children increasingly engage in practices mediated by algorithms, for example when choosing what to watch on television viewing platforms, there are few opportunities for them to engage in media literacy learning experiences that aim to develop critical perspectives of these practices.  

 This paper investigates how young children can engage in curatorship practices to begin understanding algorithms. Young children were involved in creating and collating digital artefacts responding to the prompt ‘See me use technologies to learn’. We invited children to curate these artefacts in ways that made sense to them, through narrative or thematic re-imaginings. We present findings of this process and detail the aspects of media literacy that were observed to have been developed by the children, including collating content to engage audiences with themes or narratives. We analyse the collections produced by the children to consider further opportunities to develop media literacy with young children.

3 Key Points:

1) Algorithms construct our stories for us yet are invisible and impacts our relation with media in both helpful and problematic ways.

2) Children are already exposed to algorithms so they need to understand how algorithms work; this project that involves curating and organizing helps children consider audience engagement, the invisible processes and critical perspectives.

3) This project had students take 10 Polaroid images based on the topic of "technology", then look at their photos to see what they noticed, similarities/differences; then the lead adult showed curated images and asked students to determine how she sorted her photos, had them do it to their own photos, then explain why they made the choices they did.

Media Artifacts:

All-Conference Panel - Creative Hubs, Activism, and Media Literacy in the MENA Region (10:30 am PST)

Summary (taken from program): This panel brings together three organisations active in the creative industry sector in
in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss the interplay between creative digital media practice, media literacy, and youth activism to fight for social justice. The three organizations, together with Roy El Khoury, Head of Youth and Civil Society for the British Council in Lebanon & Syria, will present their efforts and engage in a round-table to discuss the connection between arts, activism and media literacy in terms of capabilities and civic consequences. Khouloud Mahmoud and Leyth Ben - BOUBLI ( Boubli is a youth-led digital media founded in 2019. In Tunisian slang, boubli means a hubbub, a kerfuffle or a bangarang... in other words, a commotion often caused by conflicting views. Among young people, the term has taken quite a positive connotation which encapsulates the spirit of the project: "to make a boubli" is to disrupt norms and conventions. Amr Ajlouni - Gate of Sun ( Since August 2, 2017, Syrian filmmaker Amr and scenographer Rawan have run Gate of Sun, a social enterprise that serves as a film production house and an open space for cultural exchange in Gaziantep, Turkey. Gate of Sun aims to improve social cohesion among host and guest communities by producing audio-visual art with artists and filmmakers. Nour Melli - Shada Media Lab ( is a shared working space for media producers in Lebanon. It aims to provide media creators and influencers in Beirut and in North Lebanon with a safe space and platform and all the required support to drive forward their media skills.

3 Key Points:

1) It's important to disrupt the media landscape.

2) Students learn by doing, plus involvement in these programs that help them create content on social media platforms can help them find jobs and provide opportunities for community engagement.

3) The speakers agreed that their work constituted media activism and said it was important to make it as fun as possible to get engagement and train trainers to help with sustainability.

Media Artifacts:

CEMP Conversation 2 (11:45 am PST)
Fostering Primary Division Students' Critical Exploration of Algorithms

Summary (taken from program): We live in a digital world. Understanding how the world works could potentially and ideally lead to a society of informed citizens and critical thinkers. Algorithms are the invisible chaperones making the rules that govern our personal lives, provide access to our online resources, and help form our opinions. Because algorithms can be so influential, yet mysterious, it is important to realize how they operate and exert their influence on our lives. This Conversation will review one educator’s joint inquiry with her primary division students to better understand how algorithms function. She will develop different lesson plans and experiences, using the following preliminary inquiry questions to guide her action research: “What invisible things affect us?” / “What is an algorithm?” / “How can we understand and control things we cannot see, hear, or detect?”

For this inquiry and for young learners, the educator will use Trevor Mackenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt’s (2018) recommendation of employing shared research organization / collection tools with rich potential prompts (29). Because play is such an important part of childrens’ environments, we will use real-life examples that impact them from their digital play-scapes, such as board games (Maliszewski, 2022), video games (Gee, 2007) YouTube auto-play recommendations, and illustrative apps like the Most Likely Machine and Akinator. 

The educator will use analogies and metaphors to help conceptualize the phenomenon, although there may be some potential pedagogical challenges, especially considering the young age and language abilities of this group. This action research will be designed with a two-pronged purpose: to develop pedagogy for inquiry into algorithms and to support students’ media literate understanding of algorithms.

3 Key Points:

1) (Note: This was the first of my presentations, so my "key point report" may be biased). It takes time to establish an understanding of complex concepts such as algorithms, so having easy-to-remember definitions for they can use as a foundation helps.

2) Students come with many different levels of understanding; for instance, in the pre-lesson talk, some students used words like AI, where others thought that it was magic, a living entity, or some unknown general force at work.

3) Playing helps with understanding. They played with Akinator and loved it. Test results showed a good percentage of students comprehended but there were still some that were confused.

CEMP Conversation 2 (11:45 am PST)
Redefining "Feed" in an Algorithm-Driven Communication Condition

Summary (taken from program): In today’s algorithm-operated monopolistic media platforms, the unlimited expansion of neoliberalization has profoundly transformed the notion of public service into customer service, which has severely impacted the forming of human communities in the face of global issues. Confronted with the present common application of algorithmic recommendations and user profiling,  my presentation examines and rearticulates the meaning of “feed” and “feedback” to surface two essentially different and contradictory paradigms that function in platformized media communication. The first paradigm of feeding mechanism inquires into the so-called “human in the loop”, implying that the technicized and dehumanized communication model in which human beings are reduced into mere functionaries of technical apparatuses. By tracing back to Norbet Wiener’s feedback theory in his conceptualization of cybernetics, I recall Wiener’s solid belief in liberal humanism, that is, freeing human beings from any potential social and political restrictions and eliminating the injustice caused by corruption. The second paradigm is to rearticulate the ethical implication of feed/feeding to reenact human agencies in the formation of ecomedia. My argument is that instead of affirming the opposition between the machinic and the organic, it is more important to recognise the procedural and administrative function of digital profiles and algorithmic decision-making and reclaim human agency in digital media communication to formulate a morally charged media ecosystem. As a response to Antonio López’s proposal of a paradigm-shifting ecomedia literacy, my aim is to cultivate an awareness of this subtle feeding paradigm shift for media scholars, researchers, educators and practitioners.

3 Key Points:

1) Digital rhetoric is important, because we understand through metaphors.

2) It helps to unearth the etymology of the word "feed", from the sixteenth century understanding of food for animals, to the seventeenth century use as a system for providing raw materials, to the twentieth century's military connotations and boundary dissolution.

3) Qi Liu, the presenter, suggests we redefine feed to incorporate a sense of nourishment and care from the agrarian age and politicize the term.

Media Artifacts:

Keynote - Media Activism for Self-Determination: Indigenous Resistance in Defending Life and Territories (2:00 pm PST)

Summary (taken from program): Community and Indigenous organizations in Mexico produce diverse media content as part of their everyday communal life and their ongoing struggles for self-determination and autonomy. Indigenous Peoples use media and ICTs according to their needs and purposes. They use them either in the care of life and territory or in their defense.
Indigenous media production supports Indigenous activism through media practices anchored in territory and culture that serve to confront power structures from a cultural and political matrix based on everyday life. This form of media activism has both an internal and an external direction. Externally, they are spaces for the denunciation of abuses, injustices, violence, and violations of basic rights while at the same time they create and sustain networks and alliances with other Indigenous People and like-minded individuals and collectives. Inwardly, they allow self-observation and community reflection to understand geopolitics at play in their territories or to discuss practices that need to be revisited and changed such as gender biases or discrimination. Also, media products that reflect the everyday life inside the communities transmit local knowledge strengthening cultural identities and revitalizing languages. The diverse ways in which Indigenous Peoples use media are deeply intertwined with their cosmogonies and epistemologies. Therefore, instead of (only) referring to Indigenous Media, I propose to discuss Indigenous Communication. I understand Indigenous Communication as a complex system of thought, feeling and acting that resembles a spiral in which (thus far) I recognize five dimensions: (a) communication as cosmogony, (b) communication for community self-reflexivity, (c) communication as a political strategy (d) communication as a right, and (e) communication as a medium. In this talk, I discuss these five dimensions with examples from Indigenous media activist products that are part of current Indigenous struggles in defending life and territories in Mexico.

3 Key Points:

1) The term Indigenous itself is problematic because it is a reductionist political category and used in Mexico to oppress because by suggesting the population is mestizaje, it minimizes the amount of Indigenous people in the population (doubles if based on culture rather than linguistics).

2) There is a difference between caring for a territory and defending it, caring is constant, and defending is strategic and takes a different kind of energy.

3) Claudia Magallanes-Blanco, the speaker, who is not Indigenous but is an ally, talked about how she has to use her power to assist because in Oaxaca, the state with the highest Indigenous population, they have to fight for Indigenous rights (e.g. female Indigneous radio announcer training and support) - she told a story of a radio station in a school that regularly has no power and they bought a diesel generator to power the radio station for one hour a week and "you don't need to have power to do radio"

Media Artifacts:

MES Panel 7 (3:15 pm PST)
Digital Citizenship as a Public Policy in Education in Latin America

Summary (taken from program): Traditionally, digital exclusion was explained by the lack of access to the Internet. In Latin America, it is necessary to talk about unequal access to technologies. 

While access is an essential condition to promote digital citizenship, the lack of devises has been exacerbated. Today, there are new digital gaps based on skills and practices. The digitally excluded are those who do not have the capacity to respond to the new questions and challenges posed by the digital universe.

By understanding the principles that govern the digital world, citizens are able to analyse the role of technologies in society. By knowing how to critically evaluate on line content, people can use reliable information to make informed decisions. By understanding that there is nothing neutral on the web, people are able to think of their digital identity. 

Ministries of Education in Latin America agree that Digital Citizenship is an answer to the new dilemmas: fake news, big data, hate speech, digital identity, artificial intelligence. During 2020, with Microsoft´s support, UNESCO Latin America launched the Digital Citizenship Programme as Public Policy in Education.

The programme aims to strengthen the staff at teacher training institutes, pedagogical universities and Ministries of Education so they incorporate Digital Citizenship in the curriculum of the initial teacher training. 

This presentation focuses on the initiatives UNESCO launched:

  • A Latin American Conference with all Ministers of Education to present the Digital Citizenship Program 
  • A Curriculum book and online platform for teacher training 
  • Regional workshops (Southern Cone, Andean Zone, Central America) for the staff working in teacher training and curriculum 
  • Technical assistance for those countries interested in incorporating Digital Citizenship in initial teacher training

The presentation describes the results of the Digital Citizenship Program and the extent to which it has been incorporated as a Public Policy in Education.

3 Key Points:

1) Roxanna Muldochodas, from Argentina, explained the inequities exposed during the pandemic, saying that even though statistics said 55% of students in Argentina had a computer at home, in reality it was 100% of privileged/wealthy students with computers, while only 15% of students from the poorest families had computers, and 10% of students in the whole country (1 000 000 out of 11 000 000) had no access at all to computers during the lockdown (so they had to use TV or centres where they could pick up papers) so they had to address the inequalities.

2) Their three conclusions were that a) access is just the departure, not the arrival point, b) instrumental knowledge does not guarantee inclusion, and c) limited use of the Internet is the new way to exclude.

3) UNESCO Latin America launched digital citizenship as public policy and Roxanna says there's a gap between the policy and the in-the-field results, because many have it in the curriculum but nothing happens in some places, so more teacher training is needed.

MES Panel 7 (3:15 pm PST)
Digital Citizenship Education: Perceptions on the Concept and Self-Reported Competencies of Georgian school society

Summary (taken from program): This paper presents the results of an exploratory project on Digital Citizenship Education (DCE) conducted within the Georgian Education system aiming to identify core steps needed to infuse DCE in educational policy and school culture through pre-service and in-service activities. Data were collected from a total of 1954 individuals, among teachers (205), students (972), parents and guardians (777), following an exploratory sequential design (qualitative + quantitative), and data analysis exposed that school society members are aware of the DCE concept but lack proper competences to apply DCE in their everyday practice.

3 Key Points:

1) Vitor Tome presented on behalf of his Georgian colleagues, who couldn't make it. He said that there are three volumes of books produced to help with digital citizenship education - one for the framework, the second for the descriptors, and the third explains the model and how it can be used in assessment and teacher education.

2) The model is descriptive rather than prescriptive and has 10 digital domains in 3 areas.

3) Implementation can be transversal, as a subject, both, or new curriculum / under revision.

MES Panel 7 (3:15 pm PST)
Tackling Disinformation in K-12 Classrooms through In-Service Teacher Training and School Projects: Preliminary Results from the Iberian Digital Media and Fact-Checking Hub

Summary (taken from program): This paper presents the preliminary results of four in-service teacher training courses on tackling disinformation in K-12 classrooms that were developed in Portugal between October 2022 and February 2023. The trainings were the first of a course series that will be implemented in Portugal and Spain until February 2024, following the production and validation of pedagogical manuals for trainers and learners.

The trainings were led by trained journalists, certified as teacher trainers by the Portuguese Ministry of Education, during the project ‘Media Literacy and Journalism: pedagogic practices with and about media’ (2017 - …), focused on training teachers in media education. Since its arrival to the field, in partnership with the Portuguese Ministry of Education, more than 150 journalists and other media professionals have worked with 300 teachers, who have developed school projects with around 5000 preschool children and K-12 students.

Firstly, journalists helped teachers design projects adapted to their schools and communities. After the training, they continued to offer teachers regular support and monitored the developments. Therefore, some of the projects extended beyond the training course and are still ongoing.

The trainings specifically focused on tackling disinformation are being developed on behalf of the Iberian Digital Media and Fact-checking Hub (IBERIFIER), an observatory in Spain and Portugal, funded by the European Commission and linked to the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) and made up of twelve universities, five fact-checking organizations and news agencies, and six multidisciplinary research centers.

3 Key Points: 

1) Vitor also presented this project, which involves 14 hubs in all the European Union countries.

2) They involved journalists, organized resources, and had modules for trainees and trainers.

3) They found the trained journalists were more critical than the trained teachers in terms of evaluating (and thereby improving) the training; they've noted three challenges so far such as a) social media is not a democratic space because people are unaware how algorithms work, b) to protect or to empower - which is the focus, since both are needed, and c) trust vs truth - the danger of spreading misinformation.

Media Artifacts:

4:45 pm PST onward

Summary: I discovered through social media that my dear friend and fellow TDSB teacher-librarian Kim Davidson happened to not only be in the same city, but just a block away, presenting at a different conference. Through texts and a late Thursday night phone call, we arranged to meet each other at my conference. I skipped a book launch to make this happen but it was worth connecting. We talked at length and were joined by Joanna from Chicago on an in-depth conversation about Fleuvogs. We attempted to walk to the flagship store a few blocks away but it was closed. However, getting some fresh air and exercise helped to reinvigorate us, and we were able to attend the reception later that evening for more great conversations and networking.

Media Artifacts:

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this reflection, coming some time the week of March 6-10, 2023!


  1. I can't even wrap my head around the depth of the learning you were experiencing, Diana. Thanks, as always, for sharing it with us.

  2. The cosmopolitan quality of the conference was invaluable.