Plenary Lecture

Multimedia Literacy in Preschool and Primary Education

Assistant Professor Nives Mikelic Preradovic
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Zagreb

Abstract: Multimedia literacy represents a set of skills enabling individuals to effectively find, interpret, use, evaluate and even create multimedia. It encompasses abilities needed to process and exploit all components of multimedia: text, sound, image, animation, video and interactivity.
According to UNESCO, alphabetic literacy (the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts) is a human right and the foundation of all learning. It is also a skill that begins in infancy and continues to grow over the lifetime.
But, today’s children are not limited to written materials; they are frequentconsumers of multimedia, surrounded by video games and dynamic media with a high level of interactivity. They prefer the content presented by graphics, sound and video more than written materials and are impatient for the traditional slow systematic transfer of the learning content. Therefore, they must be taught to construct meaning from multiple modes of presentation of the learning content and to evaluate the multimedia.
The first part of the lecture summarizes the necessary elements of multimedia literacy education, its key stakeholders and emphasizes its role in the early years of life.
Parents, caregivers and educators all play a role in building the foundation for multimedia literacy. The need for multimedia literacy education puts forward new requirements to caregivers, parents and educators, who are expected to become multimedia literate lifelong learners. On the other hand, preschool and primary school literacy education still tends to focus on alphabetic literacy and traditional approach that does not take into account the wealth of knowledge children acquire through everyday contact with constantly evolving multimedia environments.
In the second part of the lecture, a new paradigm implied by multimedia competencies will be discussed.
Although they recognize the importance of children to be multimedia literate, a large percentage of preschool and primary school systems in the developed world still does not include multimedia literacy into the obligatory curriculum. If a curriculum combines multiple instructional tools (text, sound, video and images), it is possible to attract children’ attention and deepen their learning experience.
Therefore, the last part of the lecture will summarize approaches, similarities, differences, advantages and issues of introducing multimedia literacy education in preschools and primary schools in different countries of the world.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Nives Mikelić Preradović is assistant professor at the Department of Information Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. She obtained her MA in Croatian language and literature and Information sciences at the University of Zagreb andher MPhil in Natural Language Processing at Cambridge University, UK. She obtained her PhD in 2008 at the Zagreb University on the development of the Croatian Valency Lexicon – Crovallex and accentual-derivational models for Croatian nouns and adjectives as well as accentual-conjugational model for verbs. In 2006 she spent a semester doing teaching and research at Georgetown University, USA. She published a book, 22 journal papers, 15 book chapters and about 12 scientific papers in conference proceedings, part of them in WSEAS conferences. She was the editor of 2 WSEAS conference proceedings. Her research interests include developing multilingual valency lexicons, morphosyntactic annotation, sentiment analysis (opinion mining), computer-assisted language learning, multimedia, text summarization and service learning (community-based learning).
Prof. Mikelić Preradović participated in several international and national projects: ACCURAT (Analysis and evaluation of Comparable Corpora for Under Resourced Areas of machine Translation), CESAR (CEntral and South-east europeAn Resources), Abu-MaTran (Automatic Building of Machine Translation), Typology of Knowledge and Information Processing Methods and Design and Management of Public Knowledge in the Information Space.

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