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Media competencies of the faculties of teacher education students


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Topalović, Martina. (2019). Media competencies of the faculties of teacher education students. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science.
(PDS Informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti) [mentor Kanižaj, Igor].

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More than fifty years have passed since the idea about the need for media education, which was supported by the UNESCO in 1964, has been brought up. Media literacy has a long tradition; in the historical review we can see numerous examples of formal and informal programs in Europe, the USA, Australia, as well as on the other continents. As the media have been developing, the concept of media education has been developing, too. In the most European countries the process of media education was connected to the development of film and film literacy, what is still the case in Croatia nowadays. Croatian educational system, or the teaching of media culture, is largely devoted to the film, film culture, and to a lesser extent, media. The information society we live in, as well as many technological changes we witness, require a different approach to learning, as well as teaching. The need for developing high - grade media education programs is growing every day, the development of media, new technologies and finally the information society in which we live, require modern access to media literacy of all generations. Numerous changes occurring on a daily basis require an interactive approach to learning and teaching, they require two-way communication between teachers and students, and constant improvement of the knowledge of educators, teachers, professors and professional associates. It is unimaginable to teach media culture without basic aids, only through the theoretical approach. In the end, it is very difficult to motivate students who have computers, smartphones and the Internet at home, in that way. In order to understand the meaning and the importance of media education, the thesis defines several concepts related to media education, which are the basics of this scientific work. It is about defining media literacy, media culture, media education and media competences. For the media competences, that are the central concept of this thesis, we have pointed out that they are the ultimate outcome of media literacy. Furthermore, the need to develop media competences during education has been constantly highlighted and the teacher education throughout their working life has been especially emphasized. The excessive exposure of children and young people to the media is the fact that is in favour the need to develop the media education program. Just because of this substantial exposure of children to the media, there is a need to develop programs of study and curriculum in order to have educated staff to teach children about the media education. Nowadays, children are increasingly dedicating themselves to the media, they are exposed to them to a great extent, and this is one of the reasons why we emphasize the need to stimulate education of all generations, especially children and young people, as well as students and future teachers. Beside the role of educational institutions, the role of the parents should also be emphasized. Parents, apart from setting limits and rules, are the people whom the children first use the media with. Children’s first introduction to the media usually begins very early, before kindergarten, in their own home, which has been confirmed in this thesis through various researches. On the other hand, learning about media culture for children in Croatia begins and ends in elementary school. Croatian language is the most extensive in elementary education, it is taught from the first to the eighth grade, and it includes four components: Croatian language, literature, linguistic expression and media culture. One of the four elements of Croatian language teaching is media culture, which often depends on the teachers’ determination. There is also a problem of insufficient infrastructure and poor equipment of schools for the teaching of media culture. Additionally, the curriculum is quite outdated in the field of media culture and the media education generally refers more to the film and theatre, and less to the media. During elementary school education, students have the choice of 67 different films within the media culture classes. They have the opportunity to get acquainted with an animated film, a film story, a children's film, a documentary film and a feature film. What we can notice when we look at the titles of provided films, that they tend to be older editions of both feature and animated films. From this, we can also conclude that it is necessary to change the content intended for children in order to learn about the film within the media culture classes. The thesis has been particularly focused on the use of media in education, as this is one of the ways of making the learning process more interesting and more acceptable to the students. Today’s children are using computers, cell phones, laptops and all other means of communication from the earliest age and would in any case benefit from integrating media into teaching. Additionally, it is necessary to provide adequate education for the teachers, not only during the time of their studies but also throughout their working life. Let's add that in the last few years a special industry that monitors this area and produces special programs and devices that should improve media engagement in the teaching process, has been developing. Activities in most countries start from equipping schools and creating basic infrastructure prerequisites such as the School 2.0 program implemented by Carnet in Croatia. However, it must be said that equipping schools shouldn’t have a self - serving purpose, but should serve the content that is the center of the curriculum. In the new circumstances in which children increasingly dedicate their time to the media and especially multimedia, it is necessary to educate future teachers in the field of media and media culture and to develop their media competencies. Therefore, in this thesis, for the first time in Croatia, we have conducted a research on the media competences of students of the Faculties of Teacher Education expected to teach about media culture based on the existing curriculum. As for the students, future teachers, who are in the focus of our thesis, they acquire their knowledge about the media at the Faculties of Teacher Education. At the moment, there are two Faculties of Teacher Education in Croatia: the Faculty of Teacher Education of the University of Zagreb with its departments in Petrinja and Čakovec and the Faculty of Teacher Education of the University of Rijeka. In addition, there is a Teacher Education department at the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek - the Faculty of Education of the University of Osijek and its department in Slavonski Brod, at the University of Zadar - Department of Teacher Education in Gospić, Split University - Faculty of Philosophy, University of Split, University of Zadar - Department of Education of Teachers and Preeschool Teachers of the University of Zadar and the University of Juraj Dobrila in Pula - Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Pula. The aim of the thesis was to identify and examine the levels of media competences of the students of Faculties of Teacher Education, to determine to what extent students can and know how to use the media, to determine if they are able to identify main genres, media, news selection process, advertising impact and privacy protection features. Students in Croatia acquire media competencies, essential for teaching media culture primarily through the university course of Media Culture, which should provide them, among other things, in accordance with the learning outcomes, basic knowledge and skills for one of the four components within the teaching of Croatian language in elementary school. (Elementary School Curriculum 2006). Additionally, this thesis provides a detail analysis of the representation of media culture program in Croatian language teaching and further analysis of the media education programs in the EU member states. The research was conducted through a survey, and the order of the questions in the questionnaire was made in such a way that the first part of the questionnaire provides an insight into socio - demographic data of the respondents (gender, age, education). In the second part of the questionnaire, it has been examined whether the students of the Faculties of Teacher Education are familiar with the terms of media literacy and media culture, their understanding of media literacy, whether they are familiar with the media culture program within the National Curriculum, if they are satisfied with the level of their knowledge, what is their opinion about the teaching of media culture, whether it is necessary to change the way in which media culture is taught and how they look on the support of the institutions in the field of further education and training. The level of students' media competencies has also been examined and the differences in relation to the year of the study were determined. The third part of the questionnaire provides answers to the questions that give us the students’ opinion related to media education and the level of satisfaction with the acquired knowledge. The survey has been conducted in Zagreb, Rijeka, Petrinja and Čakovec, with 889 respondents, 823 women (95.4%) and 40 men (4.6%), while 20 respondents did not reveal their sex. The responses of six respondents were not considered in the analysis because they did not answer most of the questions. All analysis have been based on the responses of 883 people. The respondents were students, ranging from 18 to 38 years old, the average age was 21.6, and a total of 25 respondents did not give the information about their age. The survey has been conducted in May and in the first half of June 2017. The majority of survey questionnaires have been filled in Zagreb (507), in Čakovec (149), in Rijeka (122) and in Petrinja (87). The results of the research have been presented in three phases; first we presented the aggregate results, then we compared the results according to the year of study and finally we showed the differences in relation to the study. Through the first part of the research on the media competences of the Faculty of Teacher Education students and their attitudes related to familiarity with the basic concepts on which this work has been based, such as; media education, media culture, media literacy and media competences, we received a set of answers that showed us their first level of knowledge related to media perception, their media perception, approach, and analysis. We have already partly examined their familiarity with the subliminal advertising, which is also a part of the media literacy, with these questions. The answers have shown that the students do not recognize media genres, that they analyze the content they are exposed to to a lesser extent and that they don’t know the basic terms. Regarding media genres, the results have shown that the students can hardly distinguish them. They connected the term of media genres to media types, so they usually answered “television or the internet”. By analyzing all the responses given by the respondents, we can conclude that they were connecting anything that associated them with the media, to the media genres, without noticing the difference between media, media genres, or media functions. When we asked the students if they analyze the content they receive through the media, we noticed from their responses that very few students have been analyzing the information they received from the media. Altogether 872 students answered the questions, 11 did not respond. 140 of them (15.9%) answered that they do not analyze, 160 (18.1%) answered they analyze, and the largest number, even 572 of them (64.8%) answered that they partially analyze the content they receive from the media. The thing we should be worried about regarding these data is the fact that students who are supposed to teach children about the media, do not analyze media content themselves, which should be the basic part of learning about the media culture. In addition, regarding subliminal advertising, the students mostly pointed out that they notice subliminal advertising while using the media. 873 students answered this question, 10 of which did not give the answer. 115 students (13%) said they did not notice subliminal advertising, 501 students (56.7%) noticed it, and 257 (29.1%) said they partially noticed subliminal advertising while using the media. Although the students usually responded that they had noticed subliminal advertising, we can notice from their answers that all the terms they used while talking about subliminal advertising had seemed the same to them. In that case, they identified the terms of commercials, advertisements, sponsored advertisements, etc. The question about the definition of key terms in media education is one of the most important parts of this scientific work, as this has enabled us to explore students’ knowledge about the terms, which has ultimately shown that the students who will teach about media culture in this sample do not really recognize the term. The results have shown that regarding the term of media culture, only 29 (3.3%) out of 883 students answered correctly, while 854 (96.7%) answered incorrectly. When asked about media literacy, 171 (19.4%) out of 883 students responded correctly, while 712 (80.6%) answered incorrectly. Regarding the media education, only 165 (18.7%) out of 883 students answered correctly, while 718 (81.3%) answered incorrectly. Concerning media competencies, only 22 (2.5%) out of 883 students gave the correct answer while 861 (97.5%) students gave an incorrect answer. We can conclude that the majority of the respondents do not recognize the basic terms. The most students (171) gave the correct answer to the question about the media literacy, and the least accurate answers were given about the media competence, which only 22 students have answered correctly. These results point to the need to educate future teachers about the media culture. But, on the other hand, the results should also be seen in the context of insufficient education, that students receive during their studies, primarily in the field of media. The responses have shown that the students did not even recognize the term of media culture even though the answer that media culture is a university course that should provide them basic knowledge for one of the four components within the teaching of Croatian language was offered to them. When we look for a reason why this is the case, one of the problems is certainly the content of the course that students have the opportunity to listen to while studying but also the availability of the course. There is a very small number of courses, the analysis have shown that the students of the Faculty of Teacher Education in Zagreb with the branches in Petrinja and Čakovec were offered a total of four courses about media culture (Teacher Module Studies: Croatian Language, Fine Arts, Informatics, Educational Sciences) while two courses have been offered to the students in Rijeka. Their common course is Media Culture. Students in Rijeka have only one mandatory course of Media Culture during the 9th semester and except this course they have the possibility of another elective course: Interdisciplinary Approach to the Media. Moreover, the literature is also a problem. If we discuss the availability of the literature, it is very poor and outdated in a certain part, which is confirmed by the respondents, too. The students are aware of the need to learn about the media, in their responses they often mentioned the need for the practical knowledge, as well as the implementation of the media into the other courses during their studies. Regarding the new trends of children and young people being exposed to the media, it is obvious that the existing curriculum and syllabuses of all analyzed courses need to be updated. This is one of the conclusions that result from the existing media education model based on the media culture module in which, among other things, children watch only a part of the proposed 67 films from the middle of the last century, during their elementary education, respecting their artistic and social value. Learning about the media needs to be adapted to the information and communication society we live in. Furthermore, through the research we have asked the students to highlight the positive and the negative sides of using the media. The consumption and the exposure to the media can have positive and negative impact. It is certainly positive that the media have made the learning easier, with the availability and the speed of the information they provide, and they are used as the media in education more frequently. The negative influence is often seen through the violence that children are exposed to while watching television, surfing the internet, playing games, etc. or through various forms of manipulation, such as subliminal advertising or media advertisements. In their responses the students emphasized the problem of violence and manipulation. The violence and manipulation are the another reason why children need to be educated about the media from the earliest age. Regarding the benefits of using the media, in this part students have mentioned faster access to the information, easier learning, and developing critical thinking. The research results indicate that the students are aware of the problems but also of the benefits that the media provide. They emphasized and recognized the educational role of the media as a positive side and as a support for learning, while on the other hand they are very realistic about the bad sides, such as excessive exposure to the media, alienation and living in the virtual world. Also, the students were expected to write the main media functions within the teaching process, and 621 students have answered that question. Part of the students have start from the basic level in which they say that the media function within the teaching process should be primarily informative so that the children know what is happening in their daily lives and will be able to access the information. In addition, some of them considered that role in the sense of education, so they gave the responses that the media should provide high quality education for children, enable access to the information, make learning easier, make classes more fun and more dynamic. Some of them have pointed out that the use of media in education would encourage children’s critical understanding, enable proper use of the media, complete the teaching content, encourage interaction in the classroom, develop competencies and serve as a teaching aid. In the end of the thesis we have also analyzed the presence of extracurricular programs, projects and activities related to media education which are under the jurisdiction of local selfgovernment. At this level we have also recognized very clearly the absence of the strategic approach to media education at the national and local level. As we have assumed, counties and towns in the territory of the Republic of Croatia mostly do not carry out media education and literacy programs, despite the fact that in all counties and almost all cities there are Administrative Departments and Units which are in charge for education and training. However, these offices recognize education only from the perspective of elementary, secondary and preschool education. To conclude, with this research, we have determined the level of media competences of the students of the Faculties of Teacher Education, and we have made the insight into the quality of existing programs of study, i.e. the Media Culture course. We have also pointed out the need to develop the media education program, an interactive approach to learning and teaching, and the need for two-way communication between teachers and students, as well as the need to constantly upgrade the knowledge of educators, teachers, professors and professional associates. In addition, this thesis points to the necessity of redefining the program of the education of the students, future teachers, who should teach children about the media culture, as the systematic form of media education for all age groups in Croatia, especially children and young people, still does not exist.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: media competences, media culture, media education, media literacy, students, children, parents
Subjects: Information sciences
Information sciences > Media and communicology
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Kanižaj, Igor
Additional Information: PDS Informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 11:51
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 11:51

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