Blended Learning and New Literacies: An Experience at the University of Barcelona (Spain), 2003-2005

By Cilia Willem, Martín Aiello and Antonio Bartolomé.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The general use of ICT in higher education is currently facing a new challenge. Blended learning is not only about the promotion of on-line activities or computer enhanced learning: the challenge is to guarantee that these and other educational actions promote, through the use of digital technology, critical thinking skills in the learner.

On one hand, learners, future citizens in a permanently changing society, are facing the need for new literacies, digital and media literacy. These concepts are both different and complementary: whereas digital literacy deals with mastering new tools, media literacy emphasises the sensible and responsible use of these tools, as they become increasingly available throughout society and in all walks of life. Media literacy is a higher order concept as it addresses various issues raised by the pervading influence of images and information, to which new technologies have given an unprecedented power of influence.

On the other hand, the university and higher education in general has encountered a paradigm shift, in which the focus of attention has moved from the teaching process to the learning process, and where the student has become central. Therefore, digital technology must be accompanied by strategies that promote, among other aspects, self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning involves the emotional, motivational and meta-cognitive aspects of learning, and allows learners to design their own learning process.

This article analyses an experience at the University of Barcelona, Spain, in the field of Audiovisual Communication, where in a project involving 80 students audiovisual messages were analysed and produced around the topic of racism in the media. Digital technologies were used in the project and were central to it.

It exemplifies the challenge to educate with digital technology in a blended model, to promote certain aspects of self-regulated learning, and to enhance critical thinking in relation to media.

Keywords: Blended Learning, Self-regulated Learning, Digital Literacy, Media Literacy, Media Education, Digital Video, Digital Technology, Ethnic Minorities, Xenophobia, Critical Thinking

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 2, Issue 8, pp.107-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.082MB).

Cilia Willem

Lecturer, Department of Audio-Visual Education, Interactive Media Lab, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Cilia Willem is a lecturer of audiovisual communication at the Audio-Visual Education Department at the University of Barcelona. She has an MA in History for the University of Ghent (Belgium) and in Audiovisual Communication for the UB (Catalonia, Spain). Currently she is working on a PhD in the field of Media Literacy and Etno-cultural minorities. As a researcher she has been involved at the Interactive Media Lab (LMI) of the University Barcelona since 1999, where she manages several European and national projects on eLearning, ICT in Education and Media Literacy. At the moment, she is coordinating, an action-research and networking project in the frame of the eLearning initiative (European Commission) about the portrayal and the participation of ethnic and cultural minorities in the media.

Martín Aiello

Researcher, academic coordinator, UNESCO chair "History and Future of the University", Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Martin Aiello is academic coordinator of the Master and Ph.D. programme on Higher Education, in the frame of the UNESCO Chair "History and Future of the University", at the University of Palermo (Argentina). He is also a researcher at the National University of Tres de Febrero (Argentina). He has a degree on Sociology for the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and a Ph.D. in the field of Quality Assessment for the University of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). As a researcher he was involved at the Interactive Media Lab (LMI) of the University Barcelona from 2002 to 2005, also as academic coordinator. He coordinated and participated in several national and European projects in the field of e-learning and innovative use of the ICT for teaching and learning at the university level.

Dr. Antonio Bartolomé

Full lecturer, Audio-visual Education Department (Departament de Didàctica de l'Educació Visual i Plàstica i Comunicació Audiovisual), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

As a PhD for University of Barcelona, specialist in Educational Technology, Antonio Bartolomé has worked in Multimedia design and development since 1988, first with Laserdisc-based systems, later CD-ROM and Web, and lately with digital video solutions. His current work in Educational field is centred on Blended Learning solutions and on new and innovative designs for virtual learning environments. He is author of 20 books and more than one hundred articles. He has participated with papers or as keynote speaker at around 200 events since 1983. He has coordinated European projects in funding schemes like Comett, Eurotecnet, Telematics, Socrates and eLearning since 1990, as well as other national and local research work. Antonio Bartolomé is currently full professor in Audiovisual Communication at the University of Barcelona.


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