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February 2013 M-Passioned Member: Damiano Felini

[ 0 ] February 12, 2013 |

44334_1597531501416_3224311_n1)     What do you do?

I’m assistant professor at the University of Parma, Italy, the town of the prosciutto di Parma and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I teach Media Pedagogy to both undergraduate and graduate students in programs for out-of-school educators. I teach them what MLE is and how to use it in their future work with children, youth, handicapped or disadvantaged people, adults, and even with seniors. I also make research in the MLE field: I participated to the development of a national curriculum of MLE for elementary schools in the years 2003-2006, and later to a series of action-research projects on MLE about video games, which took us to the publication of the first Italian book on this issue.



2)     Tell me about your latest work or project in media literacy.

During last Christmas, I began preparing a new course for graduate students I will teach in the spring semester. I’m now studying old books on MLE and making archive research, and I’m discovering very interesting pages of our history, in Italy and abroad. For example, I found many different ways to produce school magazines, with different aims. I found the first Italian short movies produced in school around 1965 by a group of teachers near the Como Lake, with the help of Bruno Munari, the great industrial designer and illustrator. I’m studying the first theories on MLE, which separated the use of media for teaching the different disciplines from the aim of teaching about the media. I think that this knowledge is important for today’s educators: it gives us a greater awareness of what we do, and why.

I’ve also just finished another project on the quality of MLE in elementary schools. The questions from which I began were: what is a good practice in MLE? What are its ingredients? To reply to these, I surveyed the literature, in search of what it says about the quality of MLE. Then, I prepared a list of criteria and indicators, which I submitted to a group of eight experts: three scholars and five elementary teachers with a long experience in our field. In this way, I developed a final version of the grid, which is composed by 35 indicators, grouped in five areas. I think it would be helpful to teachers, as a tool for self-evaluation and professional improvement. I also hope to be able to present this work in English for the international audience.


3)     Why is media literacy important to you?

It is important because I think that today’s children and youth need to be aware about the media. I don’t fear them – I love surfing the internet; but I think we need stronger skills to understand the digital world and build relationships in it.


4)     What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

It’s the field where I generally find the most interesting and passionate people! I firstly met MLE in 1998, because of Roberto Giannatelli, Pier Cesare Rivoltella, Angela Castelli, Cesare Scurati, and later thanks to Renee Hobbs, with whom I studied for some months at Babson College, and to the teachers of the Norrback Ave. School in Worcester, Mass. I met talented scholars and outstanding educators, and all were able to collaborate, to learn from each other.


5)     Why did you become a NAMLE member – what benefits do you see to membership and how will it support your work?

I became a NAMLE member because I wanted to stay in touch with the American movement of MLE, but of course I’m not very active in the association, because I live on the other shore of the ocean. I would participate at some of NAMLE’s conferences: sooner or later, it will be possible.

In Italy, there is a sister association, whose name is MED ( I’m also member of this organization as well as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Media Literacy Education. What I love most is the possibility to meet colleagues from all over the country, to share ideas and projects with them, to have their support when I need advice for my job: it’s a helpful network.

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Category: M-Passioned Members

About Jaclyn Kahn: I am a History and Focus teacher at a private school for students (grades 4-12) with Learning Disabilities in New York City. I have hosted numerous after school activities related to media, and have used various media literacy techniques within the classroom. Prior to Winston, I graduated from the Reading Specialist master's program and Teacher's College, Columbia University, and earned by BA from SUNY Oswego. View author profile.

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