“Digital natives only tells us the context, not the ability of children to deal with media”

“Digital natives only tells us the context, not the ability of children to deal with media”

Pablo Andrada Sola will be until the 30th of June 2017 in CECS as part of his PhD research project, held in the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona – Spain). Following the title “Teacher Training in Media Education in Chile”, Pablo is also interested in the initiative “Seven Days with Media”.

Why did you choose University of Minho and CECS to proceed in your research?

The prestige of your university and research centre is important. Here I found plenty research about Media Education, so I am interested to get involved in what you have been studying in this regard and in the initiative “Seven Days with Media”. I have read the work of Sara Pereira through the advice of my supervisor, Joan Ferrés. In CECS there is also an ongoing research project called “Transliteracy”, which I am also very interested in.

Why did you choose to work with children?

In Chile, I worked in the communication department of Fundación Integra, a state company with almost 1000 kinder garden schools all over the country. Back then, I realise the role of education in these spaces and the importance of the media for the children.

Are these children real ‘digital natives’?

There are different labels to characterize children who have born after the dissemination of Internet, like Generation Z or Generation Google. I believe that every children is a ‘digital native’, especially those who have born after 2000. The digital era was already a reality in that time. But that label defines only the context, rather than the abilities to handle with technology. For sure they know how to work with technology, but that does not mean that they are more prepared to be immersed in this environment, facing the decisive issues of this time, such as the dependence of mobile phones, for instance.

What kind of problems are you able to find with this research object?

My research focus mainly in the teachers, I have chosen not to work directly with children. In the future maybe I will, but right now I would like to understand the ethical dimension of the training processes.

A 3-year old, or even a 6 one, can understand the concept of ‘Media Education’?

Primary education, and before that the one within kinder garden schools, was always regarded as a minimal territory for teaching processes. Unfortunately we live in a world where teaching must always conduct to some visible results. Nevertheless, since the 1990’s that neuroscience has shown that the first six years of a child is decisive for the language and the social-emotional skills. I really don’t know if they get the concept. But it is crucial to learn their emotions and discourses about the media.

Interviewed by Ricardina Magalhães
Photo credits: Vítor Sousa