Media Literacy. José Manuel Pérez Tornero Tapio Varis - PDF

Media Literacy and New Humanism José Manuel Pérez Tornero Tapio Varis UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education Authors: J. M. Pérez Tornero (Director of the Center of Communication and

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Media Literacy and New Humanism José Manuel Pérez Tornero Tapio Varis UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education Authors: J. M. Pérez Tornero (Director of the Center of Communication and Education in the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Tapio Varis (UNESCO Chair and Professor of Vocational Education in the University of Tampere, Finland; Opinions expressed in this book are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNESCO. Published by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education 8 Kedrova St., Bldg. 3, Moscow, , Russian Federation Tel.: Fax: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, 2010 ISBN Printed in the Russian Federation Table of Contents Foreword 4 Chapter 1 TECHNOLOGICAL CIVILISATION AND MEDIA CULTURE 7 Chapter 2 A NEW MEDIA AWARENESS 17 Chapter 3 THE EVOLUTION IN LITERACY 29 Chapter 4 THE MEDIA LITERACY MOVEMENT 39 Chapter 5 THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF MEDIA LITERACY 55 Chapter 6 THE NEW MEDIA LITERACY CURRICULUM: PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTIVES 85 Chapter 7 TEACHER TRAINING 103 Chapter 8 NEW CITIZENS, INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE AND MEDIA LITERACY: AN EDUCATION FOR PEACE 119 REFERENCES 128 4 Media Literacy and New Humanism Foreword UNESCO was designed to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law and the human rights. The first Director-General of UNESCO Sir Julian Sorell Huxley coined the human-centred philosophy of the newly created international organisation as evolutionary humanism 1. UNESCO was established sixty-five years ago, but this humanistic framework still remains relevant. However, recent political, economical and social processes necessitated an update of the concept for the age of globalization. According to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, new context demands that the conditions necessary for mutual understanding and peace-building be rethought. Changes in the world call for the development of a new humanism that is not only theoretical but practical, that is not only focused on the search for values which it must also be but oriented towards the implementation of concrete programmes that have tangible results 2. The idea of new humanism has become a new credo for UNESCO. Being applied to education, it suggests the creation of a more inclusive society in which all humans have a chance to access knowledge and quality education and every voice is heard in the universal dialogue. New humanism in the global society must prioritise a new sense of respect for multiplicity and cultural diversity and must support media development with the goal of consolidating the new culture of peace. 1 Huxley, Julian S. (1946). UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy. 2 Bokova, Irina (2010). A New Humanism for the 21st Century. UNESCO. P. 2. Education is strongly influenced by the processes emerging within the society, by intellectual, philosophical and political movements. In the past the humanists approach had the most lasting impact on education, initiated innovation in school curriculum and pedagogical methods. Current advances in information technologies and propagation of new digital media and learning environments stipulate the increasing importance of media literacy, which is today recognized almost universally as one of the key competences in the educational system. The main objective of the study commissioned by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education to Tapio Varis (University of Tampere, Finland) and José Manuel Pérez Tornero (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain) was to investigate digital and media literacy in the context of educommunication and new humanism that is committed to the goal of counteracting the depersonalising effects of mass technology. The study was initiated to provide a deeper insight into the recent trends in the development of media culture and media literacy movement, and to provide conceptual framework for media literacy, new media literacy curriculum and teacher training. The monograph combines educational philosophy discourse and educational research approaches. The authors adhere to the definition of the media literacy as the process of assimilating and using the codes involved in the contemporary media system as well as the operative skills needed to properly use the technological systems on which these codes are based and as the capacity to access, analyse and evaluate the power of the images, sounds and messages with which we are faced every day and which play an important role in contemporary culture. It includes the individual capacity to communicate using the media competently. Media literacy concerns all media, including television, film, radio and recorded music, the press, the Internet and any other digital communication Foreword 5 6 Media Literacy and New Humanism technology... They share the idea that media literacy is a basic skill, one that supports many others and that it therefore should not solely be taught as a specific field of knowledge, nor simply as a skill, nor as a collective practice. Considering media literacy from intercultural perspective, the authors describe its role in the world where the notion of the uniqueness of each civilization as an isolated, selfsufficient entity is no longer valid: Humanity must force the media system as a whole to shoulder the obligation to stimulate this intense intercultural relation that the global world demands of us. We must force it to act as an interpreter and translator cultural translation among all of humanity s diverse codes: between our codes and the codes of the Other. In other words, the goal is to align the entire media system with the obligation to make a systematic effort at mutual understanding among all the collectives, peoples, societies and communities in this global world. On the basis of the analysis of the recent UNESCO, EC and other initiatives in media literacy, Varis and Pérez Tornero formulated basic principles of an agenda intended to strengthen the contribution of media literacy to intercultural dialogue. The book Media Literacy and New Humanism informing educators, researchers, policy-makers, the media and civil society about the opportunities that media literacy opens up in the world of global communication and education and how the potential born by the ICTs can improve access and quality of education appears at a very opportune moment. Dendev Badarch UNESCO IITE Director a.i. Chapter 1 TECHNOLOGICAL CIVILISATION AND MEDIA CULTURE Understanding our civilisation We understand civilisation as a specific state of technical development that corresponds to a specific evolution in the manmade environment in which humanity operates and is supported by a given set of knowledge, codes, languages, skills and intellectual capacities related precisely to this manmade environment. These intellectual capacities are known in their broad sense as culture 1 and we will call the shift from one state of civilisation to another evolution in the civilising process. So, if we had to define our age right at the threshold of the 21 st century based on these concepts, we would have to say that it is: a) a technological civilisation based on the digitalisation of information, b) a media culture organised around the media and its convergence, and that it is subjected to c) an extremely rapid process of civilising evolution that is only gaining momentum. The key to this state of affairs must be sought in the fact that, during the last few years of the 20 th century and the early years of the 21 st century, digital technologies and the new 1 We understand culture to include any development of knowledge: scientific, philosophical, everyday, religious, etc. Chapter 1. Technological Civilisation and Media Culture 7 8 Media Literacy and New Humanism media (ICT) 2 have come to occupy the epicentre of our lives. They are thus a key factor in this specific civilising stage. They are responsible for having constructed the hypertechnological manmade environment in which almost all people and objects have been endowed with a kind of digital interface, so we work, live and interact in a digitally enriched environment, in a kind of digital bubble. They are what have imposed many of the languages, codes, conventions and interactive systems among people. And they are what are triggering the emergence of a media culture in which all kinds of knowledge both scientific and everyday, both languages and conventions seem to be either directly or indirectly influenced by the constant flow of messages and signs that the media put into circulation. They are ultimately what have imposed such a rapid pace of transformation and an unstable condition on all of the systems making up our civilising stage that accelerated and constant change has become the dominant climate in all spheres of life. For centuries, the shift from one stage of civilisation to another happened constantly yet gradually and in an unhurried, almost imperceptible way, but in recent centuries this change seems to have accelerated suddenly. Some experts claim that today a single generation has to handle more changes in manmade environments in their lifetime and consequently more changes in knowledge systems and capacities, that is, changes in culture, than many previous generations combined. It is thus that we have come to talk about the shock of change 3 to describe the force of its 2 The two summits on the Information Society held by UNESCO (Geneva, 2003 and Tunis, 2005) confirmed that the Information Society was on the agenda of almost all of the countries in the world. 3 Toffler (1995). impact, the liquid life 4 to highlight the instability it produces and the corrosion of character 5 to refer to the consequences of this change on the human psyche. Therefore, the most characteristic feature of our specific, current civilising stage seems to be instability, change and the risk associated with this change. How has this new technical mediation come about and what consequences is it having? What do this technological civilisation and this media culture consist of? If we want to understand our situation and take control of it, we have to try to find proper answers to these questions. Let us use an image. In recent years, the digitalisation of information and the proliferation of remote media have generated a kind of nuclear chain reaction with an unheard of impact all over the planet. This explosion has profoundly altered our system of life. It is an explosion of information, communication and interaction among people. This explosion is reaching exponential growth in both size and complexity and has had a forceful impact on all human structures that have survived until today, subjecting them to an inexorable mutation. This chain reaction in the amount of information and communication has had a direct impact on three essential dimensions of human life: communicative energy, time and space. And it has transformed them in a profound, irreversible way. 6 With it, humanity s current culture, that is, its communication system, has changed decisively. The result is a light system of 4 Bauman (2006). 5 Sennett (1999). 6 Except for the event of a civilising collapse, which should in no way be discounted. Cf. Rees (1969). Chapter 1. Technological Civilisation and Media Culture 9 10 Media Literacy and New Humanism communication capable of overcoming the limitations that used to be imposed by the use of energy; an instantaneous system equipped to overcome the restrictions of time; and a global system that is determined to overcome the previous spatial limitations. In this way, the concept and reality of communication has changed profoundly. We are faced with a new kind of communication. We call it light communication because, although for many centuries communication was a complex, costly process that required an exceptional expenditure of energy, at the dawn of the 21 st century communicating and moving began to be easier, less costly 7 and much more efficient. We say instantaneous communication because communication time has ceased to involve waiting and delay to become a kind of Borgian Aleph point 8 where what prevails is simultaneity. While for centuries communication time was inflexible and slow, now in contrast it is rushed and malleable (flexible), so much so that it tends towards instantaneity at the will of the user. And finally, we use the term global communication because, while the space of communication used to be a limited local day, today it is becoming infinite and global. Here are several examples: today it costs much less to publish a message universally via the Web (Internet) than it used to 7 One of the main effects of these new technologies has been a drastic reduction in the cost and time needed to store, process and transmit infor mation. These impressive changes in price relations have had a pro - found effect on how we organise the production and distribution of goods and services and ultimately on work itself. This evolution is trans forming work, the structures of qualifications and the organisation of companies, ushering in a fundamental shift in the labour market and in society as a whole (Commission of the European Communities, 1996, p. 9). 8 One of the points in space that contains all other points. (Borges, 1945). cost to send a letter via post in the 16 th century. A mediaeval monastic manuscript was much heavier than today s external memory drive (USB), even despite the fact that the latter contains infinitely more information than the former. A peasant in the Middle Ages would only ever venture a few hundred kilometres from home in his entire lifetime, whereas the 19 th century citizen could travel thousands; the 20 th century citizen multiplied this amount by thirty, and the 21 st century citizen will do so by an even larger exponent (Zumthor, 1984, p. 164). The stages of communicative change In history there have been three major phases of change in communication and this change affected the three dimensions mentioned above: energy, time and space. The first phase, which took place over the course of centuries and dovetailed with the expansion of the ancient empires, was grounded upon certain transportation techniques, namely animals and the wheel, but it culminated in the discovery of new intellectual technologies: writing and arithmetic. 9 This gave rise to major invasions and migrations from the lands of ancient China to Rome. It opened up major routes that plied the lands from East to West. Along the way, the communicative energy improved, communication time was stepped up and space was somehow reduced. However, from today s perspective, the movements appear very tentative. 9 Carts and animals made exploration, trade and migration possible. Through arithmetic, the process of exchange among communities and accounting improved immensely. Likewise, writing either ideographic or phonetic contributed to the memorisation of experiences, enriched humans historical awareness and enabled some of individuals mental faculties to be expanded. Chapter 1. Technological Civilisation and Media Culture 11 12 Media Literacy and New Humanism The second phase, starting around 1400, particularly dovetailed with the expansion in maritime transport, namely the discovery of new navigation and cartography instruments and techniques, 10 and with the development of the book and the consequent spread of printing in Europe, which in turn fostered an expansion in the tales that intellectually promoted the adventure of discoveries and new worlds. 11 These transformations proliferated; the cultural climate generated vast successive critical movements in the West, including the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. The world began to resemble what it is today. But the vast compression of energy, time and space of our age had not yet taken place. The third phase became explosive and it has been taking place since World War II until today. It dovetails with the information explosion and the communications revolution electricity, digitalisation, information technology and telecommunications. New languages and codes are emerging, as are new instruments for processing and spreading information, and a considerable step has been made toward mobility and flexibility in transport and the circulation of goods, people and information. This process, which we can 10 Which led the Portuguese to expand their trade routes along the coasts of Africa and the Spaniards (and Portuguese) to discover America and establish new maritime routes with the East. The printing press helped expansion into these new worlds. 11 In this way, awareness of the world was expanded and at the same time there was greater cognizance of the diversity of this world. This period was called the Modern Age in Europe because it brought about innovations in traditional ways of living. It began with the Renaissance, which promoted a cultural revamping through a critical revival of Greco- Latin values, often with the concurrence of Arabic and Hebrew culture. Humanity thus seemed to foster its capacity to expand itself and acquire a new awareness of universality. In fact, it was the recovery of an energy that led it to overcome barriers and boundaries, which had also taken place in the early phase of globalisation with the expansion of vast empires. encapsulate with the name digital revolution, has radically transformed the way humanity establishes relationships among its members: from now on, these relationships will be universal. A key factor in this is the exploitation of fossil fuels and nuclear energy in both automotives and aviation and the digitalisation of information and its application to all walks of life. Through these phases, we have arrived at our current technological civilisation and our own media culture. New cultural chemistry, new humanity This new hypertechnological environment, this deepening of communicative globalisation, has not only altered the way we perceive and use time and space, it has also changed the chemistry of our everyday life and our culture. As was said above, it has generated a kind of multiple chain reaction that has affected our entire way of living. If everyday life used to consist of routine and tradition forged by customs, today, in the era of global communication, everyday life has become transitory and provisional. It is undergoing a constant process of change and adaptation. This ever-changing life is accepted not only by individuals but also by large publics that, in perpetual connection, have already become the real social subjects. 12 As a result, the culture has felt the pull of change. It has stopped being a fixed, structured reference and instead become unstable and moving, with a consequent impact on the processes of constructing personal identities. Likewise, it has stopped corresponding to a local, community worldview to morph into navigating in a global world. Thus, it tends to become a 12 The appearance of social networks and the roles that individuals are beginning to adopt within them seem to prove this. Chapter 1. Technological Civilisation and Media Culture 13 14 Media Literacy and New Humanism kind of disorderly, mobile collage, 13 a kind of ever-changing mosaic with hardly any internal coherence, bereft of firmness, wandering around a global world. As Bauman has written, our (everyday) life has abandoned the solidity of the past and become liquid. 14 The global communication society seems to correspond to a rushed life of nomadism. And this liquid life seems to come with the obligatory wrapping of a mosaic, disorderly, incoherent and mobile culture. Perhaps as a result of this, new subjects and new social personalities are emerging that are direct derivations of the media weaving and unr
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