Canada’s first video conference workshop for National Media Education Week

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the Media Awareness Network and the Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) program partnered to launch and promote Canada’s first ever video conference workshop as the finale to National Media Education Week, Nov. 19 to 24.

National Media Education Week was created to promote media literacy as a key component in the education of young people, and to encourage the integration and the practice of media education in Canadian homes, schools and communities.

Learning activities to raise awareness of the importance of media education took place across the country leading up to and during the week, and included; launch events, parent workshops, student contests, media fairs, public forums, professional development presentations and conference sessions.

The week was capped off by the national video conference workshop. The live video conference was hosted by the ABEL program at York University. Through ABEL’s collaborative technologies, teachers, faculty and students from all across Canada participated in the video conference by presenting and sharing their strategies and practices for media teaching and awareness. The formal and informal presentations produced plenty of lively discussion on the role of media literacy in education.

The video conference workshop allowed participants to actively participate in the sessions. It was transmitted nationwide on Nov. 24, from the ABEL office at the TEL Building, and ran from 10am to 4pm. Its keynote presenter was Neil Andersen, teacher, author and consultant on new media literacy and a board member of the Association for Media Literacy.

Right: Neil Andersen (left) chats with one of the video conference participants

This was the first time Andersen used video conferencing technology to bring media educators together from across Canada. He describes the experience as “a powerful learning opportunity for everybody”. He said that this type of practice should be happening in schools everywhere, where one classroom could connect to another one, no matter the distance. The activity was so successful that Andersen and his media associated partners are already planning next year’s workshop.

The archive of the video conference combined with documented preparations will provide classes with a useful curriculum and effective practice kit that supports media studies. Teachers will be able to download the kit and use it in their own media study classrooms.

The ABEL program at York University is a research-based service that uses instructional design expertise, and collaborative applications to provide opportunities for interaction and sharing regardless of location and time. Outreach, information dissemination and knowledge building, coaching, mentoring, training and teaching activities are supported by the ABEL program.

For more information visit the ABEL Web site.