My collaboration with chief of CREMIT Pier Cesare Rivoltella and researcher Alessandra Carenzio goes back to 2003, when we collaborated on the Joint Inserts Bank for Schools (JIBS) project (partially funded by the EC). This project resulted in an online portal of educational video clips produced by JIBS members, including EBU, France 5, ARD/SWR (Germany), the British Film Institute, RAI Educational (Italy), and YLE (Finland). During the project, CREMIT and the Centre for Media Pedagogy (now known as the Media Education Hub, [MEH] at the University of Lapland) conducted research on teachers’ perspectives on the use of online video clips in teaching and learning. Since then, we have seen how the use of online video in formal and informal learning has grown significantly.
Since then, CREMIT and MEH have collaborated in various ways, expanding our collaboration to new activities. CREMIT researchers have presented their research at the MEC Media Education Conferences organized by MEH. Likewise, MEH researchers presented their research at the Rethinking Media Education 2015 Conference organized by CREMIT. Collaboration has also involved preparing funding applications for research and development projects.
In 2019, the University of Lapland and Milan Catholic University signed the Erasmus+ inter-institutional agreement of mobility for students and staff, and in 2020, CREMIT and MEH launched a teacher exchange program. Therefore, this spring, I had the privilege to be a Visiting Professor in the Master of Media Education program at CREMIT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the visit was conducted online.
During my visiting professorship, I taught a mini-course titled “Supporting Older People’s Digital Competences and Media Literacies.” We delivered the course through online seminars and video lectures, and through students’ independent study. As their course assignment, each student conducted an interview with an Italian person aged 65+. The interviews targeted older people’s media use and preferences, digital competences, media literacies, and how these were acquired. The roles of media during the COVID-19 pandemic were also considered in the interview. At the end of the course, students shared and discussed their interviews with me and their peers in on online seminar.
As I was planning the mini-course with CREMIT researchers Alessandra Carenzio and Simona Ferrari, we came up with the idea of also doing joint research on the course. We were all excited about the idea, and here we are now—in the process of co-writing a research article. Our research data consists of interviews with senior citizens conducted by the students, with their permission, of course. The interview data will provide us with insights into older people’s relationships with both traditional and new media. Furthermore, we will gain knowledge about what kind of support older people are getting and would like to get to enhance their media literacies. In today’s digitalized societies, this knowledge is very much needed to support older people’s participation, learning, and well-being.
I am so glad that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to realize my visit and also initiate this new research collaboration. Alessandra Carenzio, Simona Ferrari, and I aim to present our research at the MEC Media Education Conference2021 in Rovaniemi, Finland. Our presentation is titled “Media Repertoires, Digital Competences, Media Literacies: Exploring Older People’s Perspectives and Experiences”. This year, we are also privileged to have chief of CREMIT Pier Cesare Rivoltella give a keynote, titled “Critical Thinking in the Data Age: New Challenges, New Literacies.”
As older people’s media education and lifelong media education are closest to my heart within the field of media education, I am especially excited about collaborating on this topic with CREMIT researchers. My warmest thanks go to CREMIT and its Master in Media Education students for making my visit and our new research collaboration possible!
Päivi Rasi, PhD, MSSc, is an Associate Professor of Education with the Media Education Hub at the University of Lapland’s Faculty of Education, Finland. With her colleagues Hanna Vuojärvi and Susanna Rivinen, she is presently guest editing a special issue of Education Sciences, titled “Age-Friendly Media Literacy Education for Older People”. For further information, you visit her website.
Image is from Unsplash (freely reusable source) https://unsplash.com.