An adventure that will transform Jack and make him media-wise!

By Paolo Celot and Susie Jones

What is it ?

   EAVI’s video clip “A Journey to Media Literacy” is a seven-minute cartoon designed to explain, in a fun and simple way, what Media Literacy is all about, and why it is essential in order to live freely and participate fully in society. It was born thanks to a suggestion by Paolo’s 3 kids - Vieri, Fabio and Mathys - who being unable to understand what their father did at work, came up with the idea of making an adventure cartoon to explain ML.

   It follows the journey of a young boy called Jack as he sets out on an adventure across the oceans to reach the island of ML. As in all good adventure stories our hero grows and learns through the challenges he comes up against: dangerous creatures, suspect pirates and threatening weather conditions. The skills he develops coupled with the help and support from some friends along the way make him confident and media-wise!

   Like many other children growing up in Europe today, Jack is quite an expert at using modern technology, but he is not aware of the powerful forces behind media, such as subtle advertising, manipulation of images and information.

   In addition to his abundance of technical skills, he needs to develop the capacity to question what he reads, sees and hears, as well as the ability to make sound choices, take informed decisions and act with clear understanding.

Concepts and Metaphors

The cartoon is based on the findings of a major European-wide study on ML carried out in 27 countries by EAVI and its partners on behalf of the European Commission. The key media literacy competences, the main issues and dangers to be aware of, as well as the positive possibilities and opportunities offered by media-use have been adapted into this exciting and accessible adventure story.

These concepts established in the study and reflected in the video, are namely:

The Individual Competences
  • Use Skills (Technical skills) – The capacity related to media use. Technology enriches the lives of citizens across the world, but ML needs to be considered as a much wider concept than restricting to the emphasis on technology alone. In the video, this skill is represented by the ability to build a boat, which Jack is very good at.
    The development of this skill is obviously influenced by a preliminary condition, which is the availability of the media themselves. The clip shows that, unfortunately, there are desert islands, where people have no access to the necessary materials to build a boat.
  • Critical Thinking (Cognitive competences) – The aspects related to the comprehension and evaluation of media content and contexts. Jack encounters many challenges and progressively develops the capacity of discerning what is true and what is false. There is a painfully ironic dichotomy between the wealth of media content available and the informed use that is made of it by people.
  • Communicative Abilities (Participation, content creation and social relations abilities) – These aspects have become evident with the new possibilities offered online, allowing people to better interact and to participate in public life and democracy. The video illustrates this with a little girl, the teamwork between her and Jack and their welcoming at the ML island.
The Environmental Factors

The existence or not of media education in schools, of media literacy policies and the role of the media industry and that of civil society organisations.

Environmental Factors are therefore those that facilitate or hamper the development of media literacy. Jack has not direct control over these events, like the storm that he encounters. He can only benefit from the favorable winds or protect himself from the rain with umbrellas. More precisely, these factors are:

  • Media Education – ex. ML presence in the school curriculum, teachers’ training and educational activities and tools;
  • Media Literacy Policies – ex. Existence of ML policies law and regulatory authorities;
  • Role of the Media – Initiatives relating to the promotion of ML, such as programmes and campaigns, among others;
  • Role of Civil Society Organisations – Activities to stimulate support to ML.

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If you prefer, you can write directly to Jack !