How does EMELS relate to other media literacy frameworks?

EMELS is not the first and only attempt to organise a broad field of media literacy competencies. At the beginning of the project in 2017 we carefully looked at other documents of this type, such as Digital Competence Framework or UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teachers. We found that none of them covered all areas of competencies required to successfully conduct media education in the specific context of youth work. In the meantime, the European Commission published Digital Competence Framework for Educators and Developing digital youth work expert group report. We believe that in comparison to these documents EMELS can be easier to use for youth workers. It provides practical, easy to understand examples for each competence and links directly to educational resources and best practices. It promotes active and positive responses to challenges presented by digital media. It focuses on creativity as well as risks.What is more, EMELS was made by practitioners for practitioners. Youth workers from 6 countries were involved in the consultation process during its development. It will also be available in 6 languages, which makes it more accessible and it easier to promote locally.

How do I go about using EMELS?

EMELS can help you:

  • assess your level of media literacy competencies (Which competencies do I already have?)
  • plan professional development (Which competencies I would like to work on?)
  • increase your knowledge and skills (Which resources can be useful for me?)
  • assess competencies of young people (What do they know about the world of digital media?)
  • get inspired by what’s out there in terms of resources and best practices (What have others done in their media literacy work with young people?)
  • plan youth work activities and projects (Which topics I already incorporate in my work with young people? Which ones I would like to introduce? How do they link with other activities?)
  • plan training for other youth workers (Which topics will be most important for them? Which will be most useful?)
  • apply for project funding (Referring to EMELS can help you structure your ideas)

Do I have to have knowledge and skills in all the areas of EMELS?

Feeling a little overwhelmed when you see the Standard? Try to think about EMELS as a restaurant menu: it’s good to be aware of the whole, but you can only choose one or two items at a time. On the other hand, it’s nice to experience variety and try dishes from different sections, even if it’s not something you would normally go for. Still, some youth workers can make a conscious choice to stick to their favourites and that’s also ok, as long as you know what you’re missing!

How can I link EMELS to other youth work activities?

Media tools are very often used in youth work to provide means of self-expression for young people and to raise attractiveness of activities. We believe that EMELS can help youth workers to see links between their current activities and broader context of media literacy. In other words: media related activities aren’t separate from others. As media is so embedded in young people’s lives, youth works should take on an embedded approach too. For example: a group of teenagers is working on the topic of cultural identity by creating videos. This can be an opportunity to teach them about copyright, creative process of film making or best ways to communicate with their audience. Working with digital media doesn’t have to be the main topic of a given activity. However, understanding the importance of media literacy and being aware of different competencies you can teach young people, will help you develop the full potential of activities related to digital media.

In which contexts can I use the standard?

Any context you’re used to working in! What do we mean by this? Of course slightly more formal settings such as digital media workshops held in libraries and community centres are suitable. But EMELS is not limited to this. Media permeates everywhere, and so does youth work. Including a small creative photography challenge during a city walk, knowing when to tag young people in photos of your activities, even just talking about young people’s media use. It’s all in the Standard. As explained – it’s a menu, and you might want to tailor your choice based on your daily experience as a youth worker.

Need some inspiration? Have a look at our best practices, to find more ideas about implementing media education in youth work: Cybersense, Hit the city, In my own view.