A Model for Teacher Training to Improve Students' 21st Century Skills in Online and Blended Learning: An Approach From Film Education

A Model for Teacher Training to Improve Students' 21st Century Skills in Online and Blended Learning: An Approach From Film Education

Julia Breddermann (Association for the Promotion of Film Education, Switzerland), Juan-Francisco Martínez-Cerdá (Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Spain) and Joan Torrent-Sellens (Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5631-2.ch018
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This chapter presents and develops a model of teacher training considering six socio-technical areas that are currently affecting the K-12 educational environment in both face-to-face, blended and online learning: 1) development of 21st century skills; 2) conducting social innovations; 3) appropriate knowledge management among educators; 4) a renovation of classrooms in pursuit of creative classrooms; 5) effective educational practices; and 6) all these issues under a formal educational context that has its own standard and curricular rules. In this context, a literature review on skills needed in the knowledge based society has been realized together with an analysis of possible film education scenarios for media and web-enhanced classrooms, and an exploratory qualitative research about actual ICT activities at school and their outcomes. The entire research regards teachers' lifelong learning with the aim to acquire regularly new competencies. These new abilities enable them to face new professional challenges.
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Media Content and Education

Over recent decades, the breakthrough experienced by Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) has facilitated the increased use of mobile phones, laptops, and tablets as everyday elements in the lives of citizens. This fact, coupled with the capabilities of Internet connectivity and mobile apps development, which enables the exchange of digital content between Internet users, has exponentially increased access to media content by the population.

The implications of this reality on different social agents are numerous and can be evaluated positively or negatively, according to different parameters of analysis. Specifically, their implications for the educational context are important and relevant (Blurton, 1999), since all features and functionality of these new ICT (such as integration of media content, interactivity, flexibility of use, and connectivity) greatly influence their actors (students, teachers, parents, educational organizations, etc.) and their areas of interactions (formal, informal and non-formal legislation, labour market, etc.).

Thus, two facts appear in our society: citizens are in contact with media content in a constant, daily mode and as such, citizens need to acquire skills for a proper and optimal use of these media. This ensures for optimal knowledge and information management in various areas of life, such as individual interests and hobbies, family relationships, work environment, social relationships, friendships or active citizenship.

Faced with this reality, the increasing use of media content by citizens and the need for students to acquire new skills, various international organizations and institutions in the educational sector reacted by supporting the development of many research initiatives. The aim of this research was to establish improvements in incorporating new skills for the correct and critical media content use by children and adolescents. For example, UNESCO, which since the 1960s takes into account the critical role of media content and its social importance, has developed several projects to promote the use of media content at the school level and its incorporation into school curriculum. Thus, the report on Media Education. A Kit for Teachers, Students, Parents and Professionals (Frau-Meigs, 2006) proposes both aspects: i) curriculums, defining their objectives, elements and timing; and ii) a strategy for their implementation in different environments. In addition, it proposes both handbooks for those involved in the formal education system (teachers, students, parents, and professionals) and examples of good practices in media literacy.

In this sense, after developing several projects on ICT in Education (Meleisea, 2007), in 2009 a mapping of different policies, visions, programmes, and global challenges in media literacy was also carried out (Frau-Meigs & Torrent, 2009), establishing various approaches in relation to its definition, capabilities, and actors. Furthermore, in 2011, UNESCO published the report Media and Information Literacy. Curriculum for Teachers (Wilson et al., 2011), which explicitly states educational curricular aspects, its framework, the key skills of teachers, and also distinguishing between core and non-core modules, all from the integrative approach between media and information literacy.

In addition, the European Commission has also contributed to study issues related to the use and exploitation of the media in schools. Literacy Screening research, carried out by the consortium of the British Film Institute, the London University Institute of Education, and the industry body Film Education, developed a research of the situation of film literacy within Europe, and proposed a total of 14 recommendations (Burn & Reid, 2012; Reia-Baptista, Burn, Reid, & Cannon, 2014). Furthermore, a consortium of seven partners coordinated by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) developed the European Media Literacy Education Study during the years 2012-2014, conducting an analysis of actual educational contexts in 27 European countries in the field of media education, launching the First European Media and Information Literacy Forum, which was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Also, UAB as a contractor and scientific coordinator developed the project Showing films and other audiovisual content in European Schools – Obstacles and best practices (Pérez Tornero et al., 2015) for the years 2013 and 2014, analysing the use of audiovisual content in schools throughout 32 European countries, identifying obstacles, good practices, and suggesting recommendations for the use of audiovisual content in the classroom.

Thus, these projects have analysed the formal educational system in order to raise the utilization of media in the classroom, with their results showing that recent technological devices open new and exciting scenarios for the use of media content by both teachers and students. However, these new possibilities cannot be exploited successfully without the appropriate training of teachers, who often state that they have less knowledge and media abilities than their own students. In addition, teachers should also know how to impart new media skills, which are necessary for the 21st century.

Given this social context, this chapter provides an overview of several educational trends in order to propose a model for teacher training, taking into account the development of new skills in students through the use of audiovisual content and the implementation of film education, due to their related benefits and significant advantages for all subjects and levels in the educational context. This kind of teacher training is very useful for 21st formal educational systems, since teachers are key agents of improvements in teaching and learning in schools (Cohen & Ball, 1990). Moreover, the online and blended learning approach to the implementation of this model in K-12 education can be useful for students (future workers), since media and web-enhanced learning: i) leaves school models based on industrial society (Salinas, 1997); ii) takes advantage of IT available in K-12 classrooms, forgetting its poor use observed in the past (Moursund & Bielefeldt, 1999); iii) will become very popular in the future of students and workers (Kim, Bonk, & Teng, 2009); iv) creates open-space/time classrooms, advanced ICT uses with digital content, telematic social interaction, and student-centered learning (Barberà Gregori & Badia Garganté, 2005); v) is being taken into consideration as a training tool by organizations and firms because technology-mediated instruction has several factors very interesting for companies, such as just-in-time, skill-based training, accessibility, usability, flexibility, richness of materials, resource sharing, and cost-effectiveness (Holton, Coco, Lowe, & Dutsch, 2006; Peres, Lima, & Lima, 2014).

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