Friday, September 11, 2009

Media Education in Finland

The two speakers for this session came from Tikkurila Upper Secondary School (TUSS), Vantaa, Finland. The first speaker, Ms Heli Toivonen, shared about the media education in Finland while Ms Helmi Abspoel, shared about education in general for TUSS.

Media education is integrated into the education from early childhood and daycare, through to elementary and upper secondary. The scaffolding is done at three levels:
  1. Through play and discussion
  2. Communication and teaching of media skills
  3. Communication and media competence
What is perhaps interesting is how Finland deems media literacy as a citizen's skill and right. They believe that every child should be able to receive, interpret and analyse information from the media and use media as a tool to learn and communicate as forms of social and individual expression.

This is hence made visible in all their subjects. For example, in the study of their native language (Finnish), students study the power of media in the learning of read
ing and writing skills. In History, they look at media texts critically and produce media texts to represent their understanding of history. To help teachers and students use and learn about media in education in TUSS, they develop their own portal (be warned, it is in Finnish).

One learning point I gleaned from the presentation is that we have to look at media literacy at two levels:
  1. How this is to be tackled as a school to make students media literate: we have to explore what media literacy means and communicate the same understanding to the students
  2. How this is scaffolded for students in preparation for tomorrow, be them taking up Media Studies (EL) as an applied subject or as a life skill that they bring along with them

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