Digital skills, multiliteracy, fake news... Many of today’s children and adolescents get immersed in various media and media-related phenomena already in toddlerhood. They master different platforms and technologies surprisingly well, but there is much more to media skills than just the technical side.
“Media education also covers the contexts of upbringing and education. In addition to digital skills, today’s teachers must also know how to teach critical media literacy and ethical media behaviour,” University Lecturer Jukka Mäkisalo from the School of Humanities says.
The School of Humanities and the School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education have now teamed up to plan and implement a completely new study module in media education. Launched this autumn, the study module is available to Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students as a minor subject, and as a continuing education module for teachers already in the profession.
Last autumn, around 20 people started the studies, half of them UEF’s students completing a minor subject, and the other half teachers taking the study module as continuing education.
“The goal of this new and multidisciplinary study module is to offer students knowledge and tools that can help them to understand the changes, phenomena, threats and opportunities of our digitising world especially from a pedagogical perspective,” Professor of Education Ritva Kantelinen says.
New ideas for work
For some years now, media education has been an overarching theme in Finland’s national core curricula, meaning that there is an immense need to train teachers.
“This is a typical example of how the world of schools changes, and how these changes then translate back to teacher education, which needs to be updated accordingly. Media education has been part of teacher education already before, but our new study module seeks not only to disseminate information, but also to be a source of inspiration, new ideas and excitement for teachers in their efforts to deliver diverse media education,” Kantelinen says.
According to Mäkisalo, it is wonderful and important that both student teachers and teachers with years of professional experience participate in the same training.
“This makes it possible for the two groups to exchange valuable experiences during their studies.”