In the digital age, media and information technology plays a key role in all learning environments. Today’s youth is more reliant on digital technology than any previous generation. Thus, the importance of media education and acquisition of media literacy cannot be overemphasized. Both Finland and South Korea have been actively developing media literacy education over the past few years, including aspects of media education in national policy papers, but the impacts of media education have been studied relatively little. The lack of research with the aim of assessing media literacy skills is understandable, since there are no established practices for assessing the skills in different media environments. When speaking of media literacy skills, it can be perceived as a question of multiliteracy relating to reading, production, analysis, critical skills and security skills. To measure and assess these skills is one of the great challenges in the media literacy education field, requiring constant reassessment and development of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
The need to learn coding skills as a part of the civic skills needed in the 21st century has been especially emphasised in the Western world. Whether coding skills should be included in the new national core curriculum is debated in Finland where IT companies have even organised coding clubs for children. However, the conclusion of the international conference Media Education Futures held at the University of Tampere, Finland, on 7 – 9 May was that coding skills alone are not enough in information societies.
The conference brought together over 140 researchers, teachers and policymakers in the field of media education from 26 countries. According to the research results presented at the conference, for young people to develop the critical awareness they increasingly need in information societies, technical skills must be supported by pedagogy. Critical thinking is also based on creativity which is one of the starting points for competitiveness in all fields, even in the creative industries. The conference also called for increasing multidisciplinary cooperation in order to develop the research in this field.
See blog for future information about the conference.
European Media Literacy Forum 2014 will be held in Paris from 27th to 28th of May at UNESCO headquarters. Jordi Torrent, from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) will be one of the speakers at the Forum and he was interviewed by Gabinete de Comunicación y Educación. Torrent said in the interview that “Media literacy will be more and more relevant to all communities in the world; from the most isolated villages to the centers of political powers as well“.