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Media literacy entails various aspects such as enhancing youth awareness, along with a critical understanding of the media, the purpose of the message and the intention of the content producer.Future education demands critical understanding of the media.

The knock-on effects of the Internet and the resultant emergence of social media are inevitably being felt in the education sphere. The increasing range of sources, forms of media and ways of communication undoubtedly challenge approaches to education in the 21st century. Amidst this backdrop, the development of media literacy has become an integral part of the discussion.

“Media literacy represents access to the media, to understand and have a critical approach towards different aspects of media content, and to create communications in a variety of contexts,” explains Kjersti Sjaatil from the European Commission of Education and Culture Directorate.

As a consequence, media literacy today also means taking part in the creation of content. Many tools and applications are available online to create videos, songs, blogs and games, just to name a few. The many messages from these forms of media are required to enhance youth awareness and a critical understanding of the media, the purpose of the message and the intention of the content producer.

However, it is fundamental to understand that media literacy “is not only for younger generations, but also for adults and elderly people, for parents, teachers and media professionals,” Sjaatil continues.

Professor Sirkku Kotilainen, University of Tampere, is the conference director.Hurdles to overcome

But what are the biggest challenges for achieving media literacy today? “It depends on the age group, and local circumstances,” states Professor Sirkku Kotilainen from the School of Communication at the University of Tampere. “Globally, the forms and uses of social media challenge especially teachers and schools. Also research of media education needs pushing forward.”

In the Finnish education programme, media literacy is incorporated “as a cross-curricular theme”, Kotilanen observes.

Many efforts have been made in terms of enhancing media literacy in Finland. This year the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture drew up Cultural Policy guidelines to promote media literacy for 2013-2016. Here, media education is examined in terms of inclusion, active citizenship, creativity and self-expression.

At the same time, the guidelines offered aims and measures in which media education is focused on children and adolescents.

In addition, the Finnish Society on Media Education, founded in 2005 by Finnish researchers, continuously supports and develops different practices concerning media education, creating the opportunity to share media education experiences online and offline. The association currently has over 200 members from all over Finland.

International Conference on Media
Education Futures is being held
8-9 May 2014
The full conference programme,
invited professors
and researchers is available
at:
www.uta.fi/cmt/
mediaeducationfutures/
index.html
The early bird conference
fee is €100 until March 10,
2014. After this the registration
fee is €140. Registration
fee for students is €50.

Registration from the
end of November:
www.uta.fi/cmt/
mediaeducationfutures/
registration.
html

...

LIA LEZAMA
Helsinki Times
LEHTIKUVA / ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO / UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE

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