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  1. APPROACHES TO MEDIA LITERACY AND eLEARNING Professor Tapio Varis, Finland European Commission Workshop ”Image Education and Media Literacy” November 16th, 2000, Brussels Tapio Varis, November2000

  2. European perspectives • Media literacy is a perspective from which we expose ourselves to the media and interpret the meaning of the messages we encounter. We build our perspective from knowledge structures • Europe: 500 million Eurocitizen-democracy with more than 20 different cultures and languages Tapio Varis, November2000

  3. American ”media literacy” • ”The ability to communicate competently in all media, print and electronic, as well as to access, analyze and evaluate the powerful images, words and sounds that make up our contemporary mass media culture. These skills of media literacy are essential for our future as individuals and as members of a democratic society” (Center for Media Literacy) Tapio Varis, November2000

  4. The media as a European cultural tool • Awareness: culture as a mental dimension which embraces ideas, knowledge, concepts, values, etc. • Communicative dimension: give these components an external form in which they make them accessible to one or more of the human senses Tapio Varis, November2000

  5. Visual literacy as an example • ”A democractic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of image into a stimulus for ctitical reflection, not an invitation to hypnosis” (Umberto Eco) • We construct the world we see: seeing is believing - visual experiences are tied to our intellectual and emotional ones Tapio Varis, November2000

  6. THEORETICAL ISSUES • What is a ”medium” and should we concentrate on particular media? • Is media literacy a perspective to the media culture, writing and reading skills, or knowledge about the media Tapio Varis, November2000

  7. Multidimensional Media Literacy(James Potter) • Continuum • Needs to be developed • Multidimensional: cognitive, emotional, aesthetic, moral • Purpose: more control over interpretations • Effects & influence Tapio Varis, November2000

  8. Some basic elements of media literacy • All media are constructions of reality but not the same as ”real” • Media language is unique to each form of communication • Audiences negotiate meaning • Media have commercial and value bias • Media critique is essential Tapio Varis, November2000

  9. Media critique and skills • Media literacy is about understanding the sources and technologies of communication, the codes that are used, the messages that are produced, and the selection, interpretation, and impact of those messages Tapio Varis, November2000

  10. Practical questions • Can we teach media literacy? • What would be the discipline and contents? • What are the elements of media literacy and competence? • How to evaluate them? Tapio Varis, November2000

  11. What is the goal? • To prepare people to communicate with the traditional and new media, especially multimedia using the combination of human senses • The analysis, critique and skills are not limited to the mass media but include the Internet, computers and networks • Media competence Tapio Varis, November2000

  12. Applications: the curriculum • Curriculum (K-12): The objective? Integration to other programmes? What principles and elements should be taught? • Should we give special skills (expected by the working life) or general preparedness for society? Tapio Varis, November2000

  13. Applications: teaching • Democratic and non-hierarchial teaching approach • Diverse ways of learning, collaborative learning Tapio Varis, November2000

  14. Applications: evaluation • Who evaluates? • How to decide when the learner is media literate? • What to evaluate? Knowledge? Skills? Behaviour? Attitudes? Values? Tapio Varis, November2000

  15. Some controversial issues • Protect the youth? Popular culture? • Political & ideological issues? • The role of home, school, media? • Own subject (discipline) or integrated element to other subjects? • Disappearing childhood? Tapio Varis, November2000

  16. Towards European eLearning • Global network economy • Information and communication technology: from distance to eLearning • Identities, culture, media, learning and education • National and European strategies Tapio Varis, November2000

  17. Some general objects • Competency in communication with the new information infrastuctures on a Pan-European level • Competency in using modes of thought characteristic of the major areas of thought and knowledge • A knowledge or our basic cultural heritage Tapio Varis, November2000

  18. Scepticism of educationists • Concepts like ”collaboration” or ”asynchronous education” reflect the necessities of the evolution of society than purely educational argumentation • Digital literacy, learning environments, network pedagogy etc. • New approach to teaching needed Tapio Varis, November2000

  19. Common European and American characteristics • Liberally educated people listen and they hear • They read and they understand • They can talk with anyone • They can write clearly and persuasively and movingly • They can solve a wide variety of puzzles and problems Tapio Varis, November2000

  20. They respect rigor not so much for its own sake but as a way of seeking truth • They practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism • They understand how to get things done in the world • They nurture and empower the people around them • They are able to see connections Tapio Varis, November2000

  21. CONTENTS, METHODS, RESOURCES • Risk of the hegemony of one single language to the detriment of multilingualism • Risk of the hegemony of one single culture to the detriment of plurality • Future lecture rooms: the challenge of digital sites, virtual seats of learning • Teacher becomes the mediator of knowledge Tapio Varis, November2000

  22. Communication gaps • Communication between different disciplines (inter- and transdisiplinary) and two cultures (natural science and humanities), new renaissance • Communication between diferent social institutions (universities, media, church) • Communication between different generations Tapio Varis, November2000

  23. COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE • Jürgen Habermas: ”In a sense we are talking about universal skills of communication. We are born with the potential to use them to create a better society. • Communicative competence = several means of using language to create concensus and agreement between two or more speaking and acting subjects. • Cognitive, performative, temporal and spatial skills Tapio Varis, November2000

  24. More of the author • Http://www.uta.fi/~titava • e-mail: tapio.varis@uta.fi • University of Tampere, Media culture and communication education, P.O.Box 607, 33101 Tampere, Finland Tapio Varis, November2000