Media and Information Literacy under the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint

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Media and Information

Literacy under the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint


Alice Y. L. LEE

Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University


All Internet World

• AI and Big Data Era

• Internet of Things (物聯網)


Smart Cities Initiative

• Cities around the world have benefited from the digital revolution


Building Smart Cities


Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint (2017)

• Photo source: Transport Department (


Top Ten Smart Cities

• The Smartest Cities in the World in 2018 (IESE Business School)

– New York – London – Paris – Tokyo

– Reykjavik, Iceland – Singapore

– Seoul – Toronto

– Hong Kong (9)

– Amsterdam


What is a Smart City?

To make better use of information and

communication technology to boost efficiency and quality of life in respect of security, health,

recreation, community services and government to citizens interaction.

The overarching mission of a smart city is to optimize city functions and drive economic growth while

improving quality of life for its citizens using smart technology and data analysis.


Vision of HK Smart City

• Embrace I & T to build a world-famed Smart Hong Kong characterized by a strong economy and high quality of living


Smart City Model

• By Boyd Cohen (布特.高漢)

• Six Areas:

Smart Government Smart Economy

Smart Environment Smart Mobility

Smart Living Smart People


Smart People for Smart Cities

Bob Moritz (at Mobile World Congress):

• Very often the focus of smart city development is not on “people”

• It should be people-centric

Smart cities need smart people (

智慧市民 )

– Citizens, innovators and new technologies: collaborative



Technologically Advanced Knowledge Society

• Information as means of production

• Knowledge workers – earn their living by mastering information and knowledge

• Learning how to handle media and information has become a must


New Learning Mode

• Who is illiterate?

• People have not learnt how to learn


• Don’t know how to handle information and seek knowledge

• Don’t have the skills of information search, classification and evaluation…


• Ben Williamson – Future Curriculum

– A wiki-world of learning

– Curriculum is not seen as a core canon or central body of content

– But is seen as “hyperlinked with networked digital media, popular culture and everyday interactions.”

• The future of schooling will be a network-based distributed system of learning

• A new competency is needed

– Media and information literacy (MIL) is essential for

self-learning and life-long learning


MIL Cities

• To be truly sustainable, smart cities must also be MIL Cities (media and information literacy cities)

– Competent, confident and responsible producers and users of information

– Digital innovation

– Online media connectivity

• To create such a smart community, people must

acquire the competencies necessary to navigate

the complex and permanently changing social



What is MIL?


Media and Information Literacy (MIL)

• MIL =

Media Literacy + Information Literacy + ICT skills

• 傳媒資訊素養 =

傳媒素養 +資訊素養 +資訊及傳播科技技能


• MIL is the ability to access, evaluate/

understand, and use/create media and

information in various forms in a critical and effective way (involves a set of competencies)

• Not only deal with media messages, but all kinds of information


• A media-and-information-literate person should be able to handle messages coming from different sources

• e.g., mass media, Internet, social media,

libraries, museums, archives, databases, video games


MIL Education

• Education for all

• Information for all

Digital use divide (數碼使用鴻溝)


UNESCO’s MIL Campaign

• USNESCO MIL documents

• Global Alliance for Partnerships on MIL (GAPMIL)

• Online MIL and Intercultural Dialogue Courses

• Online Multimedia MIL Teaching Resources Tool

• MIL and Intercultural Dialogue University Network

• Global MIL Week & Feature Conference (annually)

• MIL CLICKS (social media)


Be a Smart City

• Advanced technological Infrastructure


STEM talent: Science, technology, engineering &


(STEAM talent: + Art) (創科人才)

Literate citizens who can use digital technologies and wisely evaluate information – MIL literate (especially the children and young people: the pillars of future society)

(具備應用數碼科技素養的大眾市民 -- 「傳媒資訊素養」)


The Role of MIL Education


• Training innovative knowledge workers

• Helping to learn how to learn – active learning & life-long learning

• Nurturing critical, wise and responsible media-and- information-literate citizens

– Digital competence

– Critical thinking competence

– Capable of handling the impact of digital technologies – Creativity

– Ethical use of technologies

• Achieve “digital well-being ”(數碼幸福)

– work, study, living

– Well-lived in the digital world


MIL City: Hong Kong

Photo source: (March 1, 2017) cities/



• Government

• Universities and schools

• NGOs

Professional associations

Parent groups


IT companies

Research institutes

Citizens, students


Launching MIL Education



• Three Components

• Access/Retrieval of Media and Information

• Evaluation/Understanding of Media and Information

• Use/Communication/Creation of Media and Information


Table 1: MIL Component One – Access of Media and Information

Access/ Retrieval of Media and Information

Access - ICT skills: the technical skills needed to use digital technologies and social media

- Information search skills

- Aggregation and curation skills - Transmedia navigation skills

Attention Management

- Goal awareness: keep track of the goal and focus on highest priority - Mindful use of the social media:

distraction resistance and time



Table 2: MIL Component Two – Evaluation and Understanding of Media and Information

Evaluation/ Understanding of Media and Information

Understanding - Recognizes the impacts of media and information on individual and society

- Recognizes that media and information have social, economic, political and cultural implications

- Understands the format, institution and audience of media and information - Appreciates media and information content and format in an aesthetic way

Evaluation and Assessment

- Evaluates relevancy, currency, reliability, completeness, accuracy and quality of media and information

- Questions in what ways socio-cultural context, political forces, ownership, professional routines, regulations and technologies shape media and

information content - Critical thinking skill

- Transdisciplinary and systemic analytical skill: multiple perspective and ability to make connections between ideas

- Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance

- Verification and triangulation skill (particularly for rumor) - Photo and video evaluation skills

- Algorithm analysis Organization and


- Knowledge management - Art of abandonment


Table 3: MIL Component Three – Use and Create Media and Information

Use/Communication/Create Media and Information

Communication, Use

and Participation - Networked communication skills: effective communication and information sharing - Virtual community management

- Crowdsourcing techniques - Virtual partnership building

- Network smart: understand network structure and boundaries

- Online relationship enhancement and networking building - Reflective thinking skill

- Ethical use of media and information (No cyber-bullying & hate speech) - Awareness of one’s digital footprints - Privacy and security practice

- Information application in everyday life - Be aware of invisible audiences

- Impression management Creation and Problem

Solving - Media and information production skills - Creativity and design mindset

- Innovative problem solving skill

- Collaboration skill: collective knowledge construction - Spreadability intelligence

Monitoring and

Influence - Criticism and monitoring of media and information - Interacting with bodies that regulate media and

information to shape media and information policies


• Highlight 1:

Nurturing a critical mind


Critical Minds for Critical Times

• Flooded with information

• Post-truth Era

Post-truth: “ the circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

(在形成民意的過程中,訴諸情感與個人信念比客觀事實更重要。) (選資訊時,取合乎他們信念的結論。)


• Fake news

• Misinformation

• Hidden advertisements

• Alternative facts

• Propaganda

• Hate speech


• Dangerous consequences of fake news:

India: more than dozen of people were killed (child trafficking, organ harvesting ???)

Japan: Taiwan’s representative in Osaka committed suicide

Indonesia: a dam was due to collapse???

Myanmar: Rohingya people lost their lives Taiwan: misinformation affected election?

Hong Kong: rumors during Umbrella Movement


The Emergence of the False News Trend

• Everyone can produce information and publish it without any review

• Social networking sites “spreadibility” function + content farms + politician’s hiding their ads to influence public opinion

(chatbots; click farms)

Photo source: SCMP (Feb. 5, 2018)

video-click-farms-phantom-users-flood-chinas-us50- billion-online


• Netizen’s pre-existing position echo- chamber effects


• Counter measures:

Government legislation and criminalized the delivery of false news (undermine freedom of speech?)

Self-regulation of IT companies

News agencies: set up verification teams MIL education


Tips for Spotting False News

Be skeptical of headlines (標題黨)

Look closely at the URL (“https”)

Investigate the source

(beware of content farms) Watch for unusual

formatting (grammatical mistakes and poor layout) Consider the photos

Inspect the dates Check the evidence Look at other reports Is the story a joke?

Any hidden ads or political propaganda? Selling goods, service or policy?

Some stories are intentionally fal se

{Evaluate and verify before



Seeing is not Believing

• French cave rescue years ago, not Thailand cave rescue


• Source: Orange News (Dec.11, 2018)


• (Photo Source: Apple Daily)


Verifying the Photos

Online tools that help to verify the authenticity of a photo:


Google Search by Image earchbyimage.html

How to Use Google Reverse Image Search to Fact Check Images


The Use of Big Data

• Jo Morrison (Program Director, Digital Innovation) Martino Tran (Assistant Professor, UBC)

Maarit Makinen (Researcher, U of Tampere, Finland)

• A managerial/ ethical issue: information collection


• How data are collected and used? Facebook/Google


• Those issues can only be addressed by citizens who are digitally literate. Not be “receiving citizens.” The role of

“citizen’s agency”



Facial Recognition and Privacy

• Social credit system

(photo source: NYT)


• Highlight 2:

Maintain mental health while engaging with the new media


The Twin Rise of Smartphone and Social Media

• Have smartphones destroyed a generation?

Photo source: The (Sept 2017 Issue)


Social Media Use Research in HK


• Jean M. Twenge:

– Twin rise of smartphone and social media (手機及社交媒體雙劍合璧)

• Children’s Commissioner for England – Life in Likes

– Children unprepared for social

media “cliff edge” as they start

secondary school



• 94% : go online with smartphones

• 93%: engage in social media

• Enjoy the social media; but there are risks

• 68% primary and secondary students feel tired (經常在綫感疲累)

• 高小初中高中

– More negative emotion (負面情緒愈來愈多)

– More cyber-bullying (網上欺凌也愈來愈普遍)

– Less parental guidance (家長輔導愈來來愈少)

– Instagram (愈高班更多用)


• Impact on mental health:

– 精神疲累 (feel tired: constantly online)

– 缺乏睡眠 (lack of sleep – affect immune system) – 焦慮錯過訊息 (FOMO: fear of missing out)

– 網上比較 (online comparison)

– 忙碌於網上形象經營 (busy with impression management)

– 沮喪拿不夠「讚好」(not enough “likes”)


• Yuval Noah Harari (Israeli Historian)

21 Lessons for the 21 st Century

• (如何面對浩瀚信息?如何保持情緒平衡?如何擁抱未知

素?如何認識自己而不被演算法操控? )

– “How should you act when you are flooded by enormous amounts of information and there is no way you can absorb and analyze it all?”

– “You will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance.”

– “Teaching kids to embrace the unknown and to keep their mental balance – “Getting to know your operating system, who you are , and what you want

from life.”

– “If the algorithms indeed understand what’s happening within you better

than you understand it, authority will shift to them.”


MIL & Smart Healthy Next Generation

• Building HK smart city; Building HK MIL city

• Partnership: government + civic society

• Schools have a big role to play

• Goal: Digital Well-being


• Alice LEE


Thank You!




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