medien+bildung.com gGmbH (media+education.com, not-for-profit Ltd.) – Learning Workshop Rhineland-Palatinate

In view of the development of the internet, the increasing surge of information, new applications in the area of Web 2.0 and PC or online games, there is an increasing need to provide orientation and information for institutions and individuals. Media education to master this challenge is an essential element in the media literacy efforts of the Central Authority for Media and Communication (LMK), the media authority for the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

As a response to this challenge, the LMK founded in December 2006 a not-for-profit Ltd as a subsidiary: “medien+bildung.com – Lernwerkstatt Rheinland-Pfalz” or “m+b.com” (media+education.com – Learning workshop Rhineland- Palatinate). The working aims of m+b.com derive from the commission of the state media authorities to realise, on the practical level, preventive measures to protect minors using the media. medien+bildung.com is charged with the task of developing media educational models viable for the future and of testing them in educational contexts. It is clear that teaching personnel in educational institutions require specific competence in the area of media education as well as background knowledge about the socialisation of children and adolescents. While the term ‘media literacy’ or ‘media competence’ applies directly to media handling, the term ‘media education competence’ places emphasis on pedagogic and didactic conceptions for teachers in their treatment of media. To realise such conceptions, they need support. Significant dimensions include technical, creative, didactic, legal, ethical and aesthetic aspects. Due to its wide range of functions, its knowledge resources and its networking structures, the LMK bridges many of these dimensions and offers its expertise in support of educational institutions in Rhineland-Palatinate.

At the core of media education are two issues that must be seen as interconnected: on the one hand, identifying the skills young people need for their personal development, for their orientation in society and in order to assert themselves in the professional world; and on the other, the defining the fundamental societal requirements confronting young people if they are to respond adequately to ongoing transformations in culture and the professional world.

Since media education calls for ‘hands-on’, action oriented methods and thus for a new didactic orientation in instruction, the media education specialists from m+b.com apply innovative methods at learning workshops in full-day schools to test their practicability. These workgroups serve as a ramp to continuous, curricular media education work, but also as ‘laboratories’ for new conceptions that can later be adopted in curricula and integrated into school development programmes.

Changes in young people’s consumer habits and in technological development occur rapidly, calling for a timely response. m+b.com therefore deploys its media educators in a de-centralised manner, with them working directly inside the educational institutions. Being on location allows for an ongoing analysis of demand within pedagogical practice. In addition, these specialist are expected to keep abreast of technological developments and current scientific discourse, and to integrate both into their practical work. Bridging the span between media education theory and everyday educational practice implies great time demands on the personnel and also extensive additional measures: consulting, technical / creative support, presentable examples of good practice, training, self-teaching schemes, interactive teaching/learning platforms, etc. For all these reasons, m+b.com is reliant on well trained specialists capable of working with a wide range of target groups and with diverse media, programmes and applications.

Because the rapidly developing market for technical equipment is too vast for non-specialists to follow, m+b.com has experts select mobile equipment suitable for use in schools and supplies it to the on-location media educators. This procedure of supplying equipment chosen by external partners is necessary due to the high cost of replacing equipment in the audiovisual sector and the need for specific expertise that is often not sufficiently available to schools and other educational institutions.

Integrating school media education into the curriculum for professional training and continuing education of teachers is essential to sustainability, and m+b.com therefore transfers its conceptions directly and promptly into these areas. For diverse educational sectors (day care centres, youth work, university, seminar centres, teachers’ training, adult education) and their target groups, so-called ‘learning workshops’ were founded. The interconnection of these educational sectors leads to synergetic effects permitting experience and conceptions from one area to be adapted for others. General training schemes applicable to various sectors are not available up to now and are therefore an important developmental field for systematic media-education qualification of teachers and teachers-to-be. In this context, m+b.com could offer support, for example by initiating practical training of external interns within the workgroups at full-day schools.

Seen overall, adequate responses to the challenges of the digital world can only be found through open-ended search processes. To provide options toward meeting these challenges and as a complement to other educational structures in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the LMK has instituted the educational agency m+b.com with its highly qualified team.

Ludwigshafen, December 2009
Katja Friedrich, CEO