Background: Almost three decades have passed since the Grunwald Declaration on Media Education was issued by the representatives of 19 nations at UNESCO’s International Symposium on Media Education in Germany (UNESCO 1982). Cycles of information revolution and education reform over this period have led to significant changes in the sectors of media and education. The new media environment has seen the rise of “prosumers” who contribute to the proliferation of “user-generated content”. In the education sector, policy makers have proposed various reforms to address the ills of the present schooling system, and learning theories have developed from behaviorism and cognitivism to social constructionism. Communication technologies now provide a more enabling environment for audiences to engage in media prosumption, and the shift in focus toward knowledge construction highlights the importance of learning motivation. With such dramatic changes on both sides, it is pertinent to examine how media education practices will be affected.
Aims: Armed with the same goal and a belief in the potential of a pedagogy of inquiry, this study started with the basic “ingredient” in any inquiry: the question. The aim was to determine what questions learners would most want to ask when assigned to conduct an independent inquiry study about a media issue.
Method: A self-administered semi-structured questionnaire on media use was distributed to 649 sixth-formers in 11 secondary schools in Hong Kong between December 2008 and February 2009.
Results: The findings identified a general concern about media ethics among young people, but also their inadequacy in the ability to formulate inquiry questions.
Conclusion: These findings have significant implications for both the media and education sectors. For the media sector, the credibility crisis has become an issue that requires substantial and serious attention; whilst educators must carefully consider the limits of inquiry learning