3.1 An Information and Communication Society
3.2 Education and Psychology
3.2.1 Virtual Pedagogy, Didactics and Cognitive Education
3.2.2 Cognitive Science, and Cognitive, Educational and Learning Psychology
3.3 Sociology and Philosophy
3.4 Culture and Technology
The purpose of this article is to analyse the concept of media education. The analysis is first based on some preliminary ideas already presented in Tella (1997c). In addition, this article aims to shed some light on the relationships between different domains of knowledge and disciplines on the one hand, and media education on the other. The intrinsic purpose thus is to create a classification or a general overview that can then be commented upon by all people concerned. This classification is later changed into a rhizomatic overview.
One of the main findings in this analysis is the fact that the conceptual domain of media education has widened to include a wide variety of concepts from other disciplines and domains of knowledge. At the same time, a couple of megatrends have come into light, viz. communication and mediation.
Keywords: Media Education; Communication; Mediation; Teacher Education; Virtual Pedagogy; Didactics; Cognitive Education; Cognitive Science; Cognitive Psychology; Learning Psychology; Sociology; Philosophy; Culture; Educational Technology; Information and Communication Society.
1. Ideas and Rationalisation About Theories and Classifications
Over the years, it has become clear to the writer of this article that more analysis is needed to fully understand the present scope and domain of media education. An earlier attempt to define media education was made 18 months ago (Tella 1997c). At this point, however, the general picture of media education is much more multifaceted, because so many relevant areas of knowledge and science have turned up and now have an impact on the development of media education. The general purpose of this article is an attempt to classify these recent developments in an overview. These findings will then be presented as a graph (Figure 3), which should naturally still be taken as an interim analysis of the status quo of media education.
Even if Figure 3 does not represent a theory, some of the criteria usually applied to evaluate a theory can be used, albeit cautiously. Seels (1997, 13) argues that two relevant criteria for evaluation of a theory are significance and usefulness. She continues to argue that a concept is significant only when it is related to other concepts (Seels 1997, 13). This criterion can perhaps be applied to the present interim analysis, as a number of various kinds of links can be seen between the different components to be presented. The usefulness of the ideas to be introduced below can only be validated with time. Presenting ideas to be recognised by one's peers as significant or to be rejected by one's peers is one of the criteria used in scientific communities.
Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias (1992; cited in Seels 1997, 14) distinguish four types of theories that can be constructed (Table 1).
In taxonomic structures, there are several classifications
possible (cf. Seels 1997, 15). Phenetic classification, for example,
is based on observable similarities and differences between different organisms.
As a conceptual extension, media education could be regarded as an organism,
to be analysed by contrasting its natural relationship with adjacent disciplines.
Phylogenic (or phyletic) classification, on the other
hand, reflects the evolutionary history of an organism. This kind of approach
would spontaneously lend itself to a historical analysis of media education.
Table 1. Four Types of Theories (Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias 1992; cited in Seels 1997, 14).
|(a)||ad hoc classificatory systems||arbitrary divisions into categories|
|(b)||taxonomies||categories based on empirical observation|
|(c)||conceptual frameworks||broad structures specifying relationships|
|(d)||theoretical systems||combining taxonomies and conceptual frameworks|
A third classification, called teleological (or purposive) classification, is based on that of Ridley (1986, 5; cited in Seels 1997, 15). This classification originally referred to biology but it serves my purpose well: "Teleological classification seeks to group species according to their purpose in life, which in modern Darwinian terms means the function they are adapted to perform" (Ridley 1986, 5). In the following conceptual analysis of media education--and in the three conceptual frameworks based on them (cf. Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3)--some features of all three classifications (phenetic, phylogenic and teleological) will be used, as my intention is first to compare media education and certain adjacent disciplines; second, to very briefly sketch some historical changes in the concept of media education, and, third, to analyse some of the basic functions of the components included in the three main figures of this presentation.
Taxonomies can also be used in my opinion to summarise the existing knowledge about a phenomenon even if the categorisation is not derived directly from empirical observation. This is very much the case regarding the present analysis of media education. In fact, the relationship between observation and theory is intriguing. Does theory precede observation or is it the other way round? In his seminal book on Objective Knowledge (1972/1979), Popper discusses this question by arguing that
"theory--at least some rudimentary theory or expectation--always comes first; that it always precedes observation; and that the fundamental role of observations and experimental tests is to show that some of our theories are false, and so to stimulate us to produce better ones." (Popper 1972/1979, 258)
Popper (1972/1979, 258) further argues that we always start from problems, and once we are faced with a problem, we should start to work on it. Popper concludes very firmly by stating that "the growth of knowledge proceeds from old problems to new problems, by means of conjectures and refutations [italics in original]" (Popper 1972/1979, 258). I feel this is very much the case here. Analysing the concept of media education is an old conceptual problem to me (and to most of my peers). Figure 1 and Figure 2 will present some rudimentary answers to this problem. Yet they only provide us with a partially valid explanatory "theory" of what media education is all about. Consequently, it is only natural to proceed further. In fact, between the emergence of Figures 1 and 2 on the one hand, and Figure 3 on the other, a lot of conjectures and refutations have taken place, in a period of some 18 months. In that sense, all three Figures in this article represent different stages of theorising. Yet, in the final analysis, even the latest figure, Figure 3, is just one step towards a better comprehension of the intrinsic nature of the fast developing notion of media education. Popper's (1972/1979) ideas also help in this respect. He argues that
"the growth of our knowledge is the result of a process closely resembling what Darwin called natural selection; that is, the natural selection of hypotheses [italics in original]: our knowledge consists, at every moment, of those hypotheses which have shown their (comparative) fitness by surviving so far in their struggle for existence; a competitive struggle which eliminates those hypotheses which are unfit." (Popper 1972/1979, 261)
Popper's train of thought reminds me of some of the ideas presented elsewhere in this publication (Tella et al. 1998), especially ideas connected to the communal character of a working community. This kind of community is bound to raise topics and interests of various kinds, some of which arouse more interest than others. One could argue that this emergence of new ideas later to be shared by others represents the natural selection of ideas that gradually prove more fit than others and may become rooted in the thinking of the community.
Chance steps in, certainly, but is it a negative thing, after all, in human cultural sciences, such as media education? If an interest is shared by many, it is most likely to survive in the harsh competition of ideas. This kind of chain of events may well explain some of the components in Figure 2 and especially in Figure 3 in this article. Yet it would be non-sensical to argue that these components represent some haphazard taxonomic or classificatory elements; no, they clearly and firmly belong to the holistic concept of media education, and even more if they are shared by several experts in the field and found significant and useful by the peers of the writer of this article.
The next question, inevitably, is concerned with the problem whether these figures represent scientific knowledge or whether they are arbitrary classifications. In my thinking, the primary criterion for scientific knowledge is that it is open to public discussion by the scientific community, that it is "written up" by using sufficiently precise terminology accepted and understood by others, and that it is based on something other experts in the field can share. In this sense, I believe this initiative can be interpreted to be geared towards scientific knowledge. It is apposite to finish by citing Popper once more about his idea of the emergence and growth of knowledge:
"[t]he growth of knowledge is always the same: we try to solve our problems, and to obtain, by a process of elimination, something approaching adequacy in our tentative solutions." (Popper 1972/1979, 261)
The final rationale behind my figures, especially behind Figure 3, is the effort to try to answer the fundamental questions:
What is media education?
How does it relate to adjacent disciplines?
What are its key concepts and main areas of interest at the moment?
My analysis is subjective beyond reasonable doubt. However, I have decided to include it in the present publication, as it aims to contribute to the general discussion of strategic planning in media education (cf. Tella et al. 1998). I have also been inspired by Seel's (1997, 20) words: "Theory building using taxonomic classification is important because without taxonomic structures it will be impossible to progress towards theoretical systems."
Based on the above, I argue that the following three classifications (Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3) represent rudimentary theories of media education, and, at the same time, a conscious effort at scientific knowledge. The three figures include a lot of theoretical elements that help understand the intrinsic nature of media education in a telelogically defined fashion, as explained below. On the whole, it should be borne in mind that in the systemic study of education (in educational sciences) there are very few theories that are universally valid and applicable all over the world.
2. Initial Interpretations of Media Education
In the following, some differences will be described between the traditional ("mainstream") media education and the telelogically defined media education (for a more detailed description, cf. Tella 1997c). The former focuses on mass media communication; the latter lays more emphasis on the educational applications of modern information and communication technologies (MICT), open and distance learning (ODL) and virtual pedagogy. At present, media education is experiencing a period of transition with a lot of its emphases being restructured.
"Mainstream" media education used to consist of mass media based communication and pedagogy (Figure 1). Pedagogy referred to educational sciences. The major role of media education in this framework was to provide citizens with adequate media literacy (the ability to read, analyse, assess and produce communication in a variety of media forms, such as television, print, radio, computers) and to give guidelines of how to cope with the information the mass media provide to the general public.
Figure 1. A Classical Representation of Media Education
(based on Machado 1996, 70).
Figure 2. A Telelogic View on the Relations of Media Education between Theoretical and Practical Contexts (based on Tella 1997c, 18, but slightly modified).
In media education, a shift has gradually taken place from traditional mass media towards modern information and communication technologies (MICT), distance education and open and distance learning (ODL) tools and techniques. This kind of media education is usually characterised by a telelogic point of view (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 10-12). Video, TV, and radio are not neglected as such, but the main emphasis is on modern digitised or digital media, such as e-mail, multimedia conferencing, network-based learning software, groupware. Telelogically emphasised media education is interested in the analysis of the tools and strategies facilitated by MICT as well as in pedagogical applications of these tools and software.
The telelogic interpretation of media education arises from several scientific, pragmatic and theoretical backgrounds as presented in Figure 2. Among other things, virtual pedagogy analyses the various virtual applications and "smart" products that technology has brought with it. Didactics, as a science of teaching, looks into various ways of developing teaching. Dialogic communication points to a fundamental basis for all communication, whether based on mass media or target or small group communication. MICT and ODL are two major components in this telelogic interpretation.
Media education also profits from learning and cognitive
psychology. A well balanced interaction between media education and the
two domains of psychology is most beneficial. At the same time, the autonomous
role of media education is gaining ground, as its importance is being recognised
in more and more areas of society, economy and science. Besides, an increasingly
growing role of dialogic communication is also an asset in modern media
education. All in all, media education opens new opportunities to teachers
comfortable enough with a student-centred, open-ended learning environment.
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3. An Updated Analysis of the Concept of Media Education
In this chapter, a more global analysis will be attempted, with a special view to seeing media education from a number of different yet converging perspectives (see Figure 3). The analysis is based on the following three main structures: first, media education is seen in the framework of an information and communication society. Second, the backbone of the analysis is grounded on teacher education, i.e., many of the observations are made through principles and ideas relevant to teacher education. Third, six major disciplines or areas of science have been chosen to support the analysis of media education. These six areas are education (or educational sciences, the systemic study of education), psychology, sociology, philosophy, culture, and technology. The choice of these six areas is not completely eclectic; rather, they have been chosen because of their relevance and significance to telelogically defined media education. From a communal point of view, these six areas have also been at the centre of much discussion in the Media Education Centre during the academic year 1997-1998. A number of other disciplines have been topical, such as anthropology, semiotics, linguistics, art and design, but their impact has not yet been empowering enough in my thinking, though it is easy to admit that all these, and several others, offer empowering horizons and would undoubtedly be worth pondering. Still, it is worth remembering what Hooper (1981) wrote about perceptual differences:
"One of the simplest and yet most difficult ideas to internalize is the concept of perceptual difference--the idea that everyone perceives the world differently and that members of one culture group share basic sets of perceptions which differ from the sets of perceptions shared by members of other culture groups. It is not that the idea is difficult to understand, it is that it is hard to impose upon ourselves, to internalize so that it affects our behavior." (Hooper 1981, 13)
At the moment, the chosen domains of science are the basic set of perceptions that will be used to analyse the notion of media education. Despite the limited number of domains of science I have chosen, whole universes of knowledge open up with them. It is more than difficult to pinpoint the most important components embedded in them. The categories chosen for my analysis do not necessarily try to cover all relevant areas or concepts in that particular area; rather, they are important to media education, and they will be observed from the perspective of media education. The main concepts to be introduced below will be provided with some references for the reader to follow up the discussion.
3. An Overview of Media Education with Some
of the Adjacent Disciples and Domains of Knowledge.
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3.1 An Information and Communication Society
The development of media education is closely related to the changes in the basic structures of our society. The present developmental stage of our society has been described and named in different ways. Many researchers and theorists talk about an information society (e.g., High Level Group of Experts on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society s.a.; Tella 1997b). This concept was originally related to Yonedi Masuda's (1980) ideas of the development of Japanese society in the 1970s (cf. also Tella et al. 1998, in this publication). Lievrouw (1998) has summarised the situation in a very apposite fashion as follows:
"In recent decades the term information society has become a widely used shorthand for complex social, economic, and institutional changes related to the proliferation of information and communication technologies. Researchers continue to debate whether the term stands for fundamental social change or merely the extension of the principles of industrial capitalism into new areas of society." (Lievrouw 1998, 83)
Other researchers refer to a knowledge society or a knowledge-based society (e.g., Bereiter al. 1997, 329), an interaction society, a cognitive society (e.g., Valkoinen kirja: Opettaminen ja oppiminen - Kohti kognitiivista yhteiskuntaa 1995), a network society (Castells 1996), a service society, a digital society, a learning society (e.g., White Paper on Education and Training: Teaching and Learning 1995), a virtual society (The Information Society: An International Journal 1998), etc.
Tapscott (1996) speaks of the age of networked intelligence, comparable to networked consciousness. He does not refer in the first place to information but to knowledge. To him, an information-based society is a prerequisite for the next step that is characterised by the use of knowledge. Collaboration becomes a crucial issue in a knowledge-based society.
Other terms exist as well. Castells (1998), for instance, launches the concept of informationalism, by which he means "a mode of development in which the main source of productivity is the qualitative capacity to optimize the combination and use of factors of production on the basis of knowledge and information" (Castells 1998, 7). In Castells' analysis (1998, 7-8), the rise of informationalism belongs to a new social structure, the network society, which follows after the industrial society, in the same way, as informationalism follows industrialism. -- I prefer the notion of an information and communication society, as it combines two major components of an information age, i.e., information and communication. It also gives a perfect parallel to modern information and communication technologies (MICT) that I consider as one of the basic concepts.
It has to be added, though, that terminology in the field
of telecommunications and computing technologies continues to be bewildering
and there is no real consensus about which terms should be used and in which
contexts. Another aspect, alas, is that some terms, such as the information
society, globalisation, the global village, have been adopted and are being
used uncritically and indiscriminately, as they have caught on in the popular
imagination and then stuck in public consciousness (cf. e.g., Hannerz 1996,
6; Lievrouw 1998, 83)
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3.2 Education and Psychology
Education and Psychology will be dealt with together in
this presentation, as they both concern media education very deeply indeed.
A few words will be said about cognitive education and cognitive science
3.2.1 Virtual Pedagogy, Didactics and Cognitive Education
As mentioned in connection with Figure 2, virtual pedagogy is an area that was born together with the emerging information and communication technologies. It belongs to the systemic study of education (educational sciences; kasvatustiede), but specialises in the possibilities enabled by the virtual school or virtual class and virtual university in a telematic, multimedia-based and networked learning environment (e.g., Tella 1995; Tiffin & Rajasingham 1995; Husu 1997; Kynäslahti 1997; Porter, L. R. 1997; Kynäslahti 1998b, 74-77). Kynäslahti (1998b, 78-81) has also spoken about a "cyborg" school, combining physical and virtual components in its essence, as a way to think of the futuristic virtual high-tech school. Without reiterating the discussion regarding the different meanings of "virtual", just one comment will be made here. Grenier & Metes (1995; cited in Agres, Edberg & Igbaria 1998, 72) have namely extended the meaning of "virtual" to include "significant enhanced effects or actions, physical behavior or non-physical entities, and the supporting use of telecommunications and computing technologies".
The main task of virtual pedagogy is to study and develop teaching and learning strategies and practices as well as to help understand the various functions (the salient features) of various media (cf. e.g., Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, Chapter 5). Together with didactics (= the science of teaching), virtual pedagogy is concerned with issues related to virtuality (cf. e.g., Kynäslahti 1998b, 80), immersion, possible worlds and virtual or imagined communities (e.g., Jones 1997a; Jones 1997b; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 94, 96). In its largest form, the question is of virtual societies, defined by Agres, Edberg & Igbaria (1998, 72) as "all the components that are part of cultures based on the logical rather than on the physical" [emphasis added].
Both concepts--pedagogy and didactics--are closely connected to communication and mediation (= a relation between two things or two people; cf. e.g., Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 112-118), the two megatrends in the background of my conceptual framework. Schrum & Berenfeld (1997), for instance, contend that
"[c]ommunication is an essential component of any community because members must mediate common values, interests, and goals. A group of people who live in the same geographical area but do not communicate would hardly constitute a community. Indeed, the words community and communicate are both derivatives of the same Latin word, communis, meaning 'common'. CMC, an amalgam of traditional communication media, has spawned what are called virtual communities. These share the general characteristics of traditional communities, but the locality their members share is cyberspace." (Schrum & Berenfeld 1997, 64-65)
Some central concepts in the area of education are network-based learning (NBL), media literacy, collaboration, and the teaching-learning interaction. The first two are directly linked to media education, while the latter two are of a more general character, though crucial in media education as well. Network-based learning is used here as a new paradigm, as "the present state of the art" which marks a milestone in the history of teaching with technology, now firmly rooted in the telematic applications of the Internet and the World Wide Web (Tella 1997a, 12-13; Tella 1997f).
Media literacy is one of the terms that media educators have to face in its various forms. One of the latest forms is 'digital literacy' coined by Paul Gilster (Pool 1997), by which is meant the ability to understand information and--more importantly--to evaluate and integrate information in multiple formats that the computer can deliver. Some earlier terms, such as second literacy, computer literacy, and tri-literacy, are still being used (cf. e.g., Tella 1991), but perhaps less frequently nowadays.
In the 1980s and even at the beginning of the 1990s, literacy was talked about on a regular basis in the research literature, with somewhat diverging emphases, though. A few examples might illustrate this point. The focus varied from computer literacy or information literacy as cultural capital (Emihovich 1990; Hancock 1993), to a basic skill for teachers (Besag & Levine 1984), contrasted with writing with pen and paper (Collis & Green 1984; Clark 1985; Rousseau & Tam 1989), to a general impact of computer literacy on life-long learning, especially at the adult level (Turner 1988). Braden (1996, 505) presents a logical reason for the fact that literacy as a topic now is less frequently discussed: "A natural outgrowth of the literacy metaphor has been the level of interest by teachers of reading and researchers in the field of reading in the relationship of visual literacy to the teaching of reading."
The basic meaning of literacy--the skill to read and write--is, however, crucial and appears regularly in the literature (cf. Lanham 1993 as an example of a seminal paper on this topic), with more and more examples of issues related to literacy as part of the comprehension of the WWW and the Internet, gradually leading to media literacy. Lemke (1998, 287) is of the opinion that multimedia authoring skills, multimedia critical analysis, cyberspace exploration strategies and cyberspace navigation skills will be the generic literacies in the information age. The work done at Vanderbilt University is of utmost interest in this respect (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, CTGV [in print]) as well as the research done by Bereiter & Scardamalia (1987) on the so-called high literacy. The book by Reinking et al. (1998) represents the current state of the art regarding media literacy and technology.
Collaboration and co-operation have become central concepts in didactics. Although mostly used as near synonyms, some researchers tend to distinguish between them. Co-operation may be seen to emphasise some agreements reached by the participants, although they can proceed individually towards goals they have defined themselves; in collaboration, mutual benefits are gained by all participants working together on all phases of a project (e.g., Oja & Smulyan 1989). Sometimes the concept of co-operation is preferred when teachers and students are concerned, while collaboration also refers to the relations between teachers and researchers. An exchange of ideas between researchers on a mailing list (CL versus CL a definition 1996) points to some other relevant differences. First, the Latin roots of these two words differ to some extent; collaboration stresses the process of working together, while co-operation focuses on the product of such work. Second,
"co-operative learning has largely American roots from the philosophical writings of John Dewey stressing the social nature of learning and the work on group dynamics by Kurt Lewin. Collaborative learning has British roots, based on the work of English teachers exploring ways to help students respond to literature by taking a more active role in their own learning. The co-operative learning tradition tends to use quantitative methods which look at achievement: i.e., the product of learning. The collaborative tradition takes a more qualitative approach, analyzing student talk in response to a piece of literature or a primary source in history." (CL versus CL a definition 1996)
One more difference is explicated by Rocky Rockwood on the same mailing list:
"The major difference lies in the fact that co-operative deals exclusively with traditional (canonical) knowledge while collaborative ties into the social constructivist movement, asserting that both knowledge and authority of knowledge have changed dramatically in the last century. [Rockwood then argues in line with Brufee as follows:] The result has been a transition from foundational (cognitive) understanding of knowledge, to a nonfoundational ground where we understand knowledge to be a social construct and learning a social process." (CL versus CL a definition 1996)
In its orientation towards knowledge and learning, collaborative learning approaches what I call later in this article communalism (yhteisöllisyys) and communal learning. This is the sense of collaborative learning (yhteisöllinen oppiminen) also in Lipponen's (1997) argument.
Co-operative learning is an umbrella term for a variety of approaches, methods and techniques that capitalise on the principles of co-operation and group dynamics (Johnson & Johnson 1996; cf. Vähäpassi 1998 for an analysis of four such approaches, viz. Learning Together; Structural Approach to Co-operative Learning; Complex Instruction, and Group Investigation). At the Media Education Centre, we have also started to compare co-operative learning with a more generic concept of communalism (yhteisöllisyys) (cf. e.g., Passi & Vahtivuori 1998 in this publication). A subtle distinction, perhaps, can also be mentioned, i.e., while co-operative learning clearly belongs to education, communalism includes more sociological implications, which is why I have put it under the title of Sociology in Figure 3.
The teaching-learning interaction is in the very core of the didactic process. This point would necessarily include things like the changing roles of the teacher (cf. e.g., Tella 1997d; Niemi 1998), the teaching-studying-learning (TSL) paradigm (e.g., Uljens 1997), and changes taking place in classroom teaching because of the increasing use of modern technology (e.g., Tella 1997f, 55-58).
This question is directly linked to the issue of learning environments (opiskeluympäristöt or oppimisympäristöt), a theme widely discussed during the past few years (cf. e.g., Tella 1997f, 50-55; Mononen-Aaltonen 1998 in this publication; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 99-103). Ashman & Conway (1997), two representatives of a new emerging domain of science, i.e., cognitive education, define a learning environment as follows:
"Every setting in which learning takes place involves a learner, a teacher, a setting, and information to be learned. ... Learning, therefore, occurs in an ecosystem [Doyle & Ponder 1975] in which there is a series of inputs, a series of teaching and learning processes, and a series of outputs." (Ashman & Conway 1997, 2)
Tella has argued on several occasions (e.g., Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 99-100) that in Finnish a distinction should be made between opiskeluympäristö (literally: a studying environment) and oppimisympäristö (a learning environment). Uljens' (1997) model of school didactics is also based on the teaching-studying-learning process (TSL), in which studying refers to the active study process of the learner.
In Loarer's opinion (1998, 121), cognitive education is probably the most important attempt of pedagogical development during the past few years ("Probablement la plus importante tentative de renouvellement pédagogique de ces dernières années"). In her view, the central task of cognitive education is an attempt to ameliorate the intellectual functionality of people through training and education (par la mise en oeuvre d'une démarche de formation), so that their learning capacity and their adaptation skills are augmented. One of the targets should be cognitive educability. (Loarer 1998)
Both didactics and educational psychology deal with conceptions
of learning. A rather extensively adopted conception at the moment is constructivism
(as opposed to a more traditional behaviourism or objectivism). Modern constructivism
underlines the learner's role in constructing his or her own knowledge.
In addition to constructivism, I refer to co-construction or appropriation
of knowledge, which underlines the importance of constructing one's knowledge
in social interaction through collaborative efforts, not only between the
adult and the learner but also between the learners themselves (Tella &
Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 62). The process of co-construction may lead to
a beneficial enculturation if we take adequately into account the fact that
we always belong to a certain culture and to a certain time and space with
its specific value systems and that information is processed between different
persons by using the tools and artifacts created and provided by that particular
culture (e.g., Mowlana 1997, 241).
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3.2.2 Cognitive Science, and Cognitive, Educational and Learning Psychology
Learning psychology has always given a lot to education and to teaching. Educational sciences have traditionally focused on an individual and his or her learning abilities, very much in the same way as in psychology the focus has been on the individual. Recent educational psychology is also likely to build new bridges between psychology and education. (In this chapter, no special distinctions will be made between various brands of psychology, even if three of them, viz. cognitive, learning and educational, are mentioned.)
Recently, cognitive psychology and cognitive science (cf. Winn & Snyder 1996) have moved towards centre stage, bringing with them new concepts and new focuses. Cognitive science is particularly interested in issues of the human/machine interface and in building theoretical models of cognitive activity and theories around computational mechanisms (Winn & Snyder 1996, 116). In Finland, Saariluoma (1990) has researched thinking as a cognitive skill and expert knowledge as evidenced in expert chess players. Cognition ("knowing"), one of the key words, is no longer thought to exist solely in a person's head but rather distributed among different people. Distributed cognitions, distributed expertise, conceptual change, situated learning, situated cognition, anchored learning, cultivating different domains of expertise, etc. are some of the key concepts that have influenced media education as well (for a deeper discussion of these terms, see e.g., Eisner 1985; Chi, Glaser & Farr 1988; Nix & Spiro 1990; Brown et al. 1993; Pea 1993; Salomon 1993; Bereiter et al. 1997; The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt [in print]; also see Ramberg & Karlgren 1998, 126-128 for a summary of the anchored instruction model principles).
Very much thanks to cognitive psychology, educators and educationalists too have become better cognisant of metacognition (= awareness of one's own thinking; knowledge about knowledge; second-order cognitions; thoughts about thoughts; the ability to monitor, evaluate and make plans for one's learning) and metaskills (or metacognitive knowledge, i.e., knowledge of when and how to use, co-ordinate and monitor various skills in problem solving) (cf. e.g., Hartman 1998). On the whole, educational technology has for some time been influenced by developments in cognitive psychology, as Winn & Snyder (1996, 131) also argue (cf. also Jonassen & Reeves 1996). Perhaps the biggest impact learning and cognitive psychologies have had on teaching and learning is the shift in emphasis from objectivist theories of learning to constructivist theories (e.g., Rauste-von Wright & von Wright 1995; Lehtinen 1997, 13ó21; Rauste-von Wright 1997). Likewise, psychologists, often together with instructional designers (e.g., Duffy & Jonassen 1992; de Corte 1995; Jonassen 1995) have designed criteria for good learning, while, in education and in didactics, the focus used to be on criteria for good teaching.
Constructivism is an area that is shared by several disciplines. In this context I will not deal with the initial problem whether, ab initio, constructivism is derived from philosophy or from cognitivism and cognitive psychology. Suffice it to say that its importance to media education--as well as to education in general--has been, and still continues to be, exceedingly powerful. And as Duffy & Cunningham (1996, 173) argue, "[p]hilosophy is only one discipline that has relevance to constructivism in its application to instruction. There are views from a wide range of other disciplines that reflect the epistemological and methodological stances that are compatible with constructivism (e.g., semiotics, biology, structuralism, and postmodernism". (For some technologically focused viewpoints of constructivism, cf. e.g., Bagley & Hunter 1992; Cole 1992; Duffy & Jonassen 1992; Cooper 1993; Marra & Jonassen 1993; Dede 1995; Jonassen et al. 1995; Morrison & Collins 1995; Duffy & Cunningham 1996).
Constructivism is, again, an umbrella term, which embraces a wide variety of emphases and approaches. These will not be dealt with here (cf., however, Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 175 about differences between cognitive constructivism and sociocultural constructivism; cf. also Tella); only one comment will be made on social constructivism, which Burton, Moore & Magliaro (1996, 48) call a more current view of constructivism. Social constructivism, in Burton, Moore & Magliaro's (1996, 48) definition, focuses on the making of meaning through social interaction. It seems that at least in the practical activities of the Media Education Centre, the principles of social constructivism have been followed to some extent. In practice it means, among other things, that the community plays an important role in an individual's life and work as well. Sariola writes about this kind of focus as follows:
"At the same time, attempts have been made to activate students in their learning and study activities to ensure the high quality of learning. The Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki has during recent years carried out applications based on co-operative learning in, for instance, teaching practice and media education studies. Forms of study have thus included pair practice and team work, for example. For the teacher this kind of socio-constructivist approach increases communality and the integration of the whole learning environment in the planning of teaching. For the learner the construction of knowledge becomes part of social interaction and the surrounding reality. This can also be seen as tending to bring the school and society closer to each other, as the school attempts to create social networks between itself and the surrounding reality." (Sariola 1998, 24)
As media education belongs to educational sciences, some
of its terminology follows that of educational sciences, whereas in the
area of psychology, slightly differing terms might be used. For example,
in media education, purposeful or purposive studying (tavoitteellinen
opiskelu) is one of the key concepts, while intentional learning
(intentionaalinen oppiminen) is more common in psychology.
Differences in terminology are of secondary importance, although it is important
to recognise that different sciences employ special terminologies of their
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3.3 Sociology and Philosophy
In the following, a few concepts related to sociology and philosophy will be introduced. Once again it is necessary to mention that these concepts are of interest to educators and to media educators in particular and do not necessarily reflect the main emphases in these disciplines. The following concepts will be referred to: communalism; public sphere; virtual togetherness; social presence, and intellectualisation. (Informationalism was mentioned earlier.) As for philosophy, individualism as a megatrend will be brought up. Another central topic in philosophy, that of knowledge, will be discussed in more detail in Tella et al. (1998, in this publication).
One primary assertion in sociology is that social phenomena cannot be adequately explained if only individuals are looked at (Kerr 1996, 143). Kerr (1996, 144ó145) also points out one sociological difference between the United States and Europe. In his opinion, writing about education in the US has had a distinctly psychological tone, while in Europe and, especially in the UK, education has also been considered as a general social phenomenon.
The shift of co-operation (yhteistoiminta) to communalism (yhteisöllisyys) reflects, in my opinion, an approach, in which these kinds of social factors are inherently embedded. As communalism--or rather, communal learning--is analysed elsewhere in this publication (Passi & Vahtivuori 1998), only a few references will be made. First, communalism is not intrinsically opposite to individualism; rather, it implies that individual (or even individualistic) features coexist with community-focused features. Castells (1997), in fact, speaks about "the culture of communal hyper-individualism", and, referring to his thesis of an identity becoming one of the crucial sociological entities in the network society, goes on to contend that "[c]ommunalism ... to be socialized as value ... needs a milieu of appreciation and reciprocal support: a commune ..." (Castells 1997, 64). In my interpretation, communalism and dialogism clearly support each other, as each of them helps create an empowering working environment. If they coexist, the synergetic effect will be even more tangible. In addition to this, individualism and communalism are interrelated. If a human being has gained that level of autonomous existence that could be called individualism, he or she is then fully capable of creating networks and relations with other people. The step to communalism is then very short indeed. (Cf. also Tella et al. 1998, Chapter 2.3)
Communalism does not mean that sociological threats, viz. habitualisation, institutionalisation and reification should necessarily come true. These three represent different degrees of objectification of knowledge, its meaning and constitutive rules (cf. Nurminen 1986, 15-16). When action becomes habit, it changes into habitualisation ('There we go again!'). From the viewpoint of teaching, this stage is related to socially negotiated knowledge and could subsequently be discussed in teacher education in connection with objectivism rather than constructivism. Collective habitualisation is institutionalisation ('This is how these things are done'), which gives the members of the work community a feeling of knowing how things should be done. The threat embedded in institutionalisation lies in the fact that it may result in routine-like action, with no real aim at innovative action. Reification is institutionalisation that has gone very far and in which the human element (the human "touch") is jeopardised or even vitiated, as the representation of reality by the institution has been thoroughly objectified. This stage is harmful to the principles of communalism and constructivist ideas, as the structures are too rigid to be changed.
The concept of a public sphere (or public space) works in favour of communalism. This concept is based on Habermas' (1962/1989) idea of the public sphere as a realm in which rational public debate helps to shape participatory democracy. In an information and communication society, the Internet, the World Wide Web and computer-mediated communication (CMC), for instance, can serve as a public sphere. (For a more detailed analysis, cf. Fernback 1997; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 94-96)
In my thinking, communalism, public sphere and virtual togetherness belong together. Virtual togetherness is a novel notion constructed on Bauman's (1995, 44-49) original concept of togetherness. Bauman's categories of togetherness include mobile, stationary, tempered, manifest, postulated and meta-togetherness. Mobile togetherness as a Baumanian metaphor refers, among other things, to human encounters in a busy street or in a shopping centre; people are aside each other, usually trying not to be with each other. Stationary togetherness is related to spaces like a railway carriage, an aircraft cabin or a waiting room. This kind of togetherness is in Bauman's words "totally fortuitous, accidental and redundant" (Bauman 1995, 45). Tempered togetherness, taking place in an office building or on a factory floor, is more purposeful, but the "continuity which the office-type togetherness can hardly do without tends also to transform the matrix intended for structured encounters only into a matrix for unintended, spontaneously and rhyzomically growing solidarities" (Bauman 1995, 46). Manifest togetherness is illustrated by a protest march, which embraces the idea of being together in large numbers. Postulated togetherness, on the other hand, consists of the brotherhoods and sisterhoods of nations, races, classes, genders and other communities. Meta-togetherness is a scene for encounters, such as a pub, a holiday beach, a dance-hall, a land of endless experiments, of trials and errors. (Bauman 1995, 46-49)
Virtual togetherness is used in this article to refer to the shared feeling of belonging to the same virtual community and being able to fully capitalise on its resources. Virtual togetherness illustrates the feeling of being "present" on the Web, despite time and space distanciation. In Figure 3, the construct of presence is divided into social presence and telepresence. Telepresence is associated with distance education and educational technology, though it could be presented under Sociology as well. Tammelin (1998) argues that telepresence first referred to industrial remote control systems but that it now also implies virtual reality and interaction among geographically separated members of a group. Tiffin & Rajasingham's telepresence (1995) is also connected to televirtual realities, i.e., to teleconferencing systems that use virtual reality. They also refer to persons present in a conference only via telecommunications: "[A prototype of virtual reality teleconference] allows a person to sit at a table in front of a curved screen, put on a glove and a pair of glasses and find themselves in a virtual conference situation with other people with whom they can talk, shake hands and interact. The other people are not physically present any more than they would be if they were in a conventional teleconference. They are telepresences." (Tiffin & Rajasingham 1995, 139) Schrum & Berenfeld (1997, 46) define telepresence as the ability to use telecommunications technologies to interactively explore and experience events at a remote site. In their view, CMC is powerful enough to give its users the sensation of telepresence. Some synonyms for telepresence are also being used. Balle (1991), for instance, speaks of "remote presence"; Terashima of "telesensation" (1993, 455; cited in Tiffin & Rajasingham 1995, 139). -- Social presence, in Tammelin's analysis (1998), is concerned with a larger social context, including motivation and social interaction.
Intellectualisation and individualism are two phenomena that seem to belong together at conceptual level. I have argued elsewhere (Tella 1997a; 1997e; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 78) that the shift from computer-based education (CBE) to network-based learning (NBL) has brought about the emergence of groupware, theoretically grounded in shared expertise, which aims to cultivate different kinds of expert knowledge, helping individuals get more empowered in the spirit of growing individualism. Eraut (1991) predicted a certain kind of intellectualisation process, which affects individuals especially because of the quantity and rate of distribution of information by all the media with the emphasis on its diffuseness and rapid obsolescence:
"In a more intellectual milieu, the concept of information society implies an awareness that there is a process of intellectualization in modern societies which requires increasing numbers of persons to possess a stock of knowledge enabling them to make creative use of the enormous potential of information. This is being made possible by computing being introduced into all walks of life and by the media playing an ever greater role in the social and cultural environment." (Eraut 1991, 4)
The process of intellectualisation is concerned with the fact that information is becoming more and more abstract, losing its roots in shared experiences. In earlier times, when something was experienced together, the information embedded in that event was concrete and shared between the persons involved. Now, information is often digital and transferred by an electronic or telematic medium, which compels the end user to decipher the message in a different way from a concrete experience. Another factor that makes information more abstract is the fact, mentioned by Eraut (1991, 4) that information is classified, used and analysed more and more frequently by the new computer technologies, with the emphasis on the theoretical potential of the information and the need for making it more accessible.
Communalism and individualism are two sides of the same
coin. One cannot exist without the other. Individualism has for some time
been a megatrend in education. Communalism is a newer phenomenon. Both will
be needed in technology-enhanced learning environments, which are geared
towards social-constructivistically understood co-construction of knowledge.
The age of networked intelligence (Tapscott 1996) is le mot juste
to describe this synergy.
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3.4 Culture and Technology
The last big group of disciplines consists of culture and technology. Both are concerned with communication and mediation and will be considered here from the perspective of media education. These two concepts are intertwined in many ways, some of which will be referred to in this chapter. I have already argued that media education belongs not only to educational sciences but also to cultural sciences. Undoubtedly, media education is also related to technology, especially to educational technology. The concept of technology, admittedly, is enigmatic and would necessarily call for further analysis. In this context, I will only refer to Paul Goodman's cryptic words from his New Reformation: "Whether or not it draws on new scientific research, technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science" (cited in Postman 1993 as the motto of the book).
It is also imperative to remember the relations between culture, learning and education. Mowlana (1997, 239) has defined these relations in a most elegant way by saying that "education is the mainstay of culture, for how one learns is culturally determined, but flexibility and creativity are the keys to positive change and growth".
Another key to a culturally and educationally valuable change is offered by dialogic communication culture. It is based on dialogic communication, or dialogism, and on the concept and comprehension of culture. As these concepts, including artifacts and addressivity, have been discussed widely elsewhere (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1997; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a), only a few additional comments will be made here. An important point is suggested by Arnett (1992, 6) when he contends that "[d]ialogic education assumes that the development of human character and commitment to lifelong learning needs to be part of a quality education [emphasis added]." Indeed, dialogism might be one humanistic way to increase quality in education.
Arnett (1992, 4) also stresses that dialogue is an invitation, not a demand, nourished by patience, and that it is a form of character education, shaped by, among other things, the ethos of an institution. He contrasts home and ethos in an interesting and altruistic way:
"The entire sense of home, is greater than the sum of the individual parts. .. The notion of home may be one of the most important characteristics for dialogic education. Dialogue begins with our having a ground or home to begin a conversation. An academic home offers an ethos suggesting reasons for keeping an institution strong for the next generation of users and workers. In a transient world, it is no small educational gift to witness commitment and loyalty to a philosophical and practical home." (Arnett 1992, 47)
Interestingly, Simola (1998, 17) also pinpoints the significance of ethos as one of the most influential factors as far as effective school reforms are concerned. -- In the activities of the Media Education Centre, it has been our intention to ameliorate the ethos of the Centre especially by means of commonly shared communalism. Dialogism, I argue, appears to have a mental potential for achieving this challenging aim. In order to do so, the principles of dialogism need to be accepted by the members of the work community.
Arnett (1992) argues that we need three basic attitudes
to promote dialogic education. First, we need a willingness to enter conversation
about ideas, taking a position in openness that can still be altered given
additional information. Second, we need a commitment to keep relationships
affirming, even as disagreements over theory occur. "[T]he true test
of dialogue is in disagreement, not in mutual understanding" (Arnett
1992, 27). And third, we need a willingness to ask value questions about
information application. (Arnett 1992, 10) These attitudes enable us to
respect the seven ingredients needed for human dialogue (Table 2).
Table 2. The Seven Ingredients Needed for Human Dialogue (Arnett 1992, 11; based on Anderson, R. 1991).
Dialogue requires willingness to follow the conversation as it leads in "unrehearsed" directions.
2 Unanticipated consequences
Dialogue cannot be predicted to assure an outcome known a priori to an exchange.
The mystery and uniqueness of the other is accepted.
Willingness to engage in some risk when knowing the outcome of an exchange is not apparent at the outset of a conversation.
5 Mutual implication
We discover in message interpretation something about our communicative partner and much about ourselves in the unique way we hear the message.
6 Temporal flow
Dialogue presumes some historical continuity of communicative partners and a sensitivity to the time of the address-past, present, and future anticipations enter the conversation.
A presumption of honesty, until proven otherwise, is offered to the other.
Huttunen (1995) summarises three different perspectives
around dialogism (Table 3) and recommends that teaching situations should
always be geared towards the "I--you" relationship, toward the
dialogic dimension and towards communicative action. In this effort, both
teachers and students should strive for the same goal, because if only teachers
try to initiate the "I--you" relationship, it will most surely
turn into an "I--it" relationship.
Table 3. Three Perspectives Around Dialogism (based on Huttunen 1995).
Huttunen (1995) gives five rules about how to proceed towards
the "I--you" relation(Table 4).
Table 4. Five Rules About Proceeding Towards the "I--you" Relation (Huttunen 1995).
1. The Rule of Participation; participation based on voluntary action; everybody can participate.
2. The Rule of Involvement
3. The Rule of Reciprocity
4. The Rule of Sincerity and Honesty
5. The Rule of Reflexivity.
Huttunen also argues that "in the future, nobody can talk about the theory of teaching or the philosophy of teaching without the notion of dialogue" (Huttunen 1995, 5). It is obvious that dialogism always embraces profound dimensions of human-to-human communication and that it should never be understood as a didactic gimmick only. McKendree et al. (1998, 113) stress the possibilities of dialogue being supported effectively by asynchronous discussions on bulletin boards or synchronous video conferencing for distance learners.
Dialogism is conceptually associated with the notion of psychologically beneficial learning environments. Walberg (1987), for instance, speaks about three components that have been found to be consistently associated with student learning: affect, task, and organisation. L. W. Anderson (1991, 39) concludes that "effective teachers are able to create classrooms that students perceive to be inviting, task-oriented, and well organised. Inviting classrooms are those in which students perceive there is mutual respect between teachers and students, positive and co-operative relationships among students, and a sense of satisfaction experienced by the students." This kind of learning situation is undoubtedly dialogic as well.
Mediation (cf. e.g., Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 112-118) is one of the two megatrends, or flows of ideas, which form the background of this article. Mediatisation, on the other hand, is used to refer to the effect different media have on the message they transfer. It is a current belief that all media (or mediational tools) have an influence on the message and therefore the "enlightened consumer" should be aware of the threats included in using media and modern technology. This is obviously a task for media education as well (cf. Tella 1994). Basically, the question is of how language changes owing to the impact of the media. Mediatisation implies that each medium has a language of its own; the medium shapes the messages into its own idealised format of language. Broms (1993, 19) warns us about the dangers connected to language "mediatised" by TV, i.e., one-liners become the model and, especially on US television, people often have no more than 30 seconds to express themselves, no matter how extensively they would like to answer. Noam Chomsky is reported to have stopped giving interviews on TV, as he never felt he was given enough time to reflect upon the questions asked by the reporters. Pierre Bourdieu has also expressed views of not wanting to be a "fast thinker", i.e., a person who has a ready-made opinion of everything and who is always willing to say it aloud on TV (Bener 1998).
A few more examples of the influence of the media might illustrate the notion of mediatisation. In email communication, messages are interpreted either too negatively or too positively. Neutral messages often look slightly impolite or rude, for example. Even if most email users know this, they still interpret messages wrongly, often leading to flaming or hurt feelings. In videoconferencing, subtle nuances in non-verbal communication are lost. Slight nods or any twinkles of an eye are not transmitted at all electronically, as the screen is usually updated only after major changes in the incoming picture. If this is the situation in high-quality ISDN-based videoconferences, it is easy to imagine how much information is lost in technically less advanced desktop videoconferencing. Short messages, one of the services accessible through the GSM telephony, again, have an impact on the way people write. The present limitation in the length of the messages (only 160 characters) has started to train people to be brief. Many have noticed, however, that quite a lot can be expressed with 160 characters! The real communicative purpose of short messages is probably in their affiliative function; short messages can be delivered to dozens of countries in only a few seconds' time, so they help keep people in contact despite the distances (the phatic function of technology). It is probable that while email communication created a new kind of style between spoken and written language, an emulated spoken language in writing, short messages are likely to meet other rationales for fast human-to-human communication. Technically, short messages are turning into a smart messagerie, which will form the gateway between telephony and the Internet.
The latest world championships in football offer a good example of one kind of vitiated mediatisation of reality caused by TV. Most people think that what is seen on TV during a football match, for instance, is what happens in real life, in other words that TV reflects reality to a high degree. This, alas, is not the case. In a match on June 23, 1998, in Norway's unexpected win against Brazil, American referee Esfandiar Baharmast whistled for an "imaginary" penalty two minutes from time when Norwegian forward Tore Andre Flo was sent sprawling by what seemed the slightest nudge from Brazil's Junior Baiano. Millions of people, who were watching the match, could have sworn that Flo fell all on his own, without anybody even touching him. The referee was harshly criticised for his decision. However, it turned out to be quite correct when two days later a tape from a camera shooting from behind the Brazil net caught Baiano clearly grabbing Flo's jersey and pulling him to the ground. The Norwegians put the photo on the web (www.nrk.no/vm98), increasing the volume of the clamour for videotape replays to help decide controversial calls. (Ref's Eyes and Videotape 1998). The Finnish daily "Helsingin Sanomat" analysed the situation (June 26, 1998) with a title "Amerikkalainen erotuomari lahjoitti palan todellisuutta [The American Referee Donated a Piece of Reality]".
Conclusion? Media educators as well as teachers and teacher educators should be fully aware of the threats hidden in new media and technologies. This is even more important in cross-cultural communication, which is made more complicated by different concepts of time, politeness, etc. (cf. e.g., Heinonen 1998; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, Chapter 5.6).
The previous paragraph already touched on the delicate question of human-to-human communication (HHC). From the point of view of media education, computer-mediated human communication (CMHC) and video-mediated human communication (VMHC) are equally important areas for research. (For an analysis of HHC and CMHC, cf. Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, Chapter 5.7.1.)
Modern information and communication technologies (MICT; also called ICT or NICT, new information and communication technologies) are a major component in telelogically defined media education. As the area has already been analysed and researched fairly extensively, only a few references are given here to help the reader locate some of the main contents. See Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a for general discussion (e.g., p. 7) and for a more elaborate analysis (p. 70); also Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998b. Tella (1996a; 1996b; 1996c) and Rönkä (1998) give an overview of MICT in Finnish teacher education and in Finnish foreign language education (cf. also Tella 1996d for the situation in all Finnish departments of teacher education). Tella (1997a) classifies some technological levels of media education, with the intention to provide teachers with a categorisation they can use to compare their schools. In Tella (1997d), MICT is connected to the changing roles of the teacher.
One of the assets of MICT is undoubtedly its asynchronous character (e.g., email, computer conferencing, newsgroups), which supposedly makes people independent of distance, time and location (e.g., Giddens 1991, 20; Negroponte 1995; Gell & Cochrane 1996; cf. also Kynäslahti 1998a for a discussion about time and space distanciation and deterritorialisation). Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen (1998a, 64-65), however, point out that human beings are still physically tied to time and place, even though communication becomes more independent of temporal limitations.
The area of mobile telecommunications may serve as an example of latest developments in synchronous technology. In the LIVE project, for instance, (Nummi 1998; Nummi, Rönkä & Sariola 1998; Ristola & Rönkä 1998), a wide variety of mobile communication technologies are used, e.g., ISDN-based videoconferencing, GMS-based telephony with the aid of portable communicators. The motivation to use different technologies lies in the idea of creating mobile, flexible learning situations in which students have more chances to choose between the school and other places where they study with the help of MICT. The LIVE model of work expands a local learning network to close interaction with the reality outside school. Isaacs' idea (1996, 27) of iconoclasticity ("a continuous invitation to people to live from present experience, not from memory"), usually related to dialogism, also holds true regarding mobile telecommunications, which help students integrate real life events in the present tense to their learning experiences.
One of the major areas of media education is distance education (DE), distance teaching (DT), distance learning (DL), open and distance learning (ODL), open learning (OL), flexible learning (FL), and fleximode learning. See e.g., Tella (1997a; 1998) for an analysis of these terms and their use; Husu et al. (1994), Meisalo (1996), Falck et al. (1997), Kynäslahti (1997), Kynäslahti & Tella (1997), Salminen (1997), Tella & Kynäslahti (1997) and Tella & Kynäslahti (1998) for an analysis of school nets as concrete implementations of distance education, and Sariola (1997) for connections to teacher education. See e.g., Bates (1995), Edwards (1995), Evans (1995), Jonassen et al. (1995), Marshen (1996), Stevens (1996), Stevens (1997), Rowan, Bartlett & Evans (1997) for a more general discussion of distance education.
The notion of mobility is one of the key concepts in the field of technology. Some researchers, like Jones (1997a), argue that the Internet represents social mobility as a cyberspatial frontier. Portable telecommunicators can be seen as enabling physical mobility as well. What is important in the use of these tools is the notion of mental mobility, i.e., the added value of technologies in enhancing and amplifying the capabilities of humans (Tella 1997a, 62-63). At the same time, the words of Craig O. McCaw, chairman of McCaw Cellular Communications, may prove prophetic: "Man started out as nomadic, it may be the most natural state for human beings" (cited in Naisbitt 1994, 62).
Telephony is old technology, yet most of the current technologies of telecommunications are based on it. In addition to telephony, telematics is another term used in Europe in particular. According to Balle (1991, 93ó94), telematics (télématique) was coined by French researchers Alain Minc and Simon Nora in 1978, referring to that part of teleinformatics which concerns uses for private individuals rather than organisations. Telematics and the corresponding adjective "telematic" are currently used by European educators and educational technologists, though the use of these terms is less common in the UK and in the United States.
Deterritorialisation (Appadurai 1992) is one of the concepts that media education has borrowed from anthropology. Deterritorialisation refers to people's migration and moving from one place to another. At the same time, it is also concerned with financial flows and the trade of various commodities between transnational corporations, irrespective of national boundaries. Figuratively speaking, deterritorialisation is in perfect harmony with cross-cultural communication, transnational exchanges of experiences on the Internet, and channels and types of international flow of information (Mowlana 1997, 24; Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, 8). (For a more detailed analysis of deterritorialisation, cf. Kynäslahti 1998a in this publication.)
Deterritorialisation is directly linked to the issue of globalisation, which Wallerstein (1996; cited in Axford 1998, 3) so aptly describes as just one more iteration of a world-historical process that now wraps the entire world within its geography. Axford (1998), basing his definition on Hannerz (1996, 6), suggests that transnational networks, designating all sorts of connections between individuals, groups, business enterprises, formal organisations and movements across national borders, should now be seen as "part of a restructuration of space and as at least a metaphor for new, though often incipient kinds of social organisation and identities" (Axford 1998, 2). Two of Axford's main arguments (1998, 4) are that "transnational networks increasingly populate a global cultural and political economy where territoriality as the most powerful constitutive rule is in retreat" and that "at the very least [transnational] networks are contributing to a process of growing interconnection and exchange between individuals, groups, businesses and movements across the borders".
Tapscott (1996) compares globalisation with both the chicken and the egg. It is driven by and driving the new technology that enables global action. Globalisation has a lot to do with international commerce, competition and production. Naisbitt's (1994) prophecies have become well-known. One of them states that the world's trends point overwhelmingly toward political independence and self-rule on the one hand, and the formation of economic alliances on the other (Naisbitt 1994, 11). Surprisingly perhaps, subsidiarity also belongs to the discussion of globalisation, as it illustrates the exact opposite, i.e., the principle that power should belong to the lowest possible point in the organisation.
What is interesting educationally, is the tension between globalisation and localisation, between global and local levels (cf. e.g., Robertson 1992; Rowan, Bartlett & Evans 1997; Väyrynen 1998; see also Kynäslahti 1998a in this publication). Naisbitt (1994) speaks of the desire for a balance between the tribal and the universal. He argues that "democracy and the revolution in telecommunication (which spreads word about democracy and gives it urgency) have brought this need for a balance between tribal and universal to a new level" (Naisbitt 1994, 22). To Naisbitt, email communication is a tribe-maker, because, paradoxically, electronics makes people more tribal, but at the same time it globalises them as it gives them access to enormous amounts of information. Axford's (1998, 5) argument is that "globalization has relativized the world and identities in it by penetrating and dissolving the boundaries of previously closed systems, sometimes of a communal or ethnic variety, creating inter-societal and supra-territorial discursive spaces and networks of relationships along the time-space edges of existence".
Globalisation also means a different concept of work. In Tapscott's terms (1996), the office is no longer a place, it is a global system. Technology is eliminating the place in workplace. Home may be where the heart is, but increasingly the office is anywhere the head can be connected. (Tapscott 1996, 65) From standalone computers people have moved to networked computers and global albeit ubiquitous computing. A renewed paradigm of work also stands for groupware and special software to be used by the members of a team. Some speak of intellectual teamwork (e.g., Egido 1990; Galegher & Kraut 1990) as a form of co-operative work. Globalisation also includes ample opportunity for telework, as global telecommunications systems allow people to work in their homes, in their cars or in remote cottages in the middle of nowhere (cf. e.g., Sproull & Kiesler 1991; Mikulecky & Kirkley 1998). But as Agres, Edberg & Igbaria (1998, 80) say, telework is not a panacea and there are indications of marital and family tensions emanating from merging home and office.
Some of the most intriguing forms of groupware are the so-called IDLEs, i.e., Integrated Distributed Learning Environments. McGreal (1998, 25) analyses IDLEs as follows: "They are primarily based on a collaborative learning instructional paradigm rather than the self-instructional model of multimedia authoring systems. As such, they make extensive use of the asynchronous and synchronous collaborative tools available via the Internet." McGreal (1998) enumerates eight IDLEs (FORUM, Virtual-U, LearningSpace, Learning Server, Symposium, Web-CT, First Class/Learn Link and TopClass) but also mentions 15 others and admits that new integrated distributed learning environments appear regularly. McGreal (1998) also gives web addresses of both the IDLEs themselves and some institutions that have done comparison studies about these environments. -- In Finland, research has also been done, for instance, on CSILE (Computer-Supported Intentional Learning Environments; e.g., Hakkarainen 1997a; 1997b).
Two other concepts connected to both IDLEs and groupware-based
work are CSCW (Computer-Supported Collaborative Working) and CSCL. (Computer-Supported
Co-operative Learning). CSCW relates to those whose prime goal is work undertaken
in a community with shared goals. CSCL relates to those for whom
learning is a prime intention, usually in a formal institution but at least
with a specific curriculum of study, with individual personal goals"
(Lewis 1997, 210).
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This article has had four main objectives. First, a very important task has been to create a classification or a general overview of the areas currently covered by media education. Second, it has been my intention to highlight some of the key terms and concepts that appear regularly in the research literature. Third, references to Finnish and foreign research publications have been given, in order to help the readers locate some of the literature in the field. The fourth objective has been to reflect upon the concept of media education, by analysing some disciplines and domains of knowledge that are more or less directly related to the emerging interpretation of the concept of media education. For this purpose, six major areas, viz. Education, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, Culture and Technology, were chosen as cornerstones for this analysis. These reflections will help, hopefully, elaborate on the interpretation of media education and see some of the links and relations between the phenomena discussed. Likewise, these reflections may facilitate the identification of new areas which might provide replicable models from which media educators can learn and benefit.
Some of the conclusions drawn from the reflections and observations in this article and from the reflections as analysed in Tella et al. (1998). include the following points of view:
Media education is grounded in the theoretical basis of the systemic study of education (educational sciences) and didactics. Therefore, those who work with media education should also know and be interested in knowing what teaching, studying and learning are. Media education is expected to study the global flows of education and to ponder upon their relevance and influence on the Finnish educational system.
Media education is directly linked to initial and in-service teacher education. It should also try to promote the ideals of continuing education and lifelong learning. Media education is concerned with teachers' changing roles, status, and professional image, especially in an information and communication society.
Media education represents educational sciences as well as new cultural sciences. Educational technology--but not technological determinism--plays a major role in the implementation of media education.
Media education has lately been conceptually reoriented towards modern technology, especially MICT and ODL. A fair command of digital tools and software is needed to incorporate media education adequately into curricula at different levels.
Media education is concerned with a wide variety of disciplines and domains of knowledge, therefore its character is, from the very outset, multidisciplinary. Cognisance of some of their salient qualities greatly helps integrate these disciplines and media education. A concrete task for media education is thus to decrease fragmentation in science and to create more harmony between different disciplines.
The emergence of knowledge of media education is related to the synergy between science, culture, art and technology.
Media education has every possibility to combine media and education, communication and mediation. To achieve this goal, media education needs elements that help bridge these different areas of human action.
Media education is likely to greatly benefit from the principles of dialogism and dialogic communication culture, if they can be applied to all its activities in the spirit of true communalism.
These viewpoints serve as aims and goals that media education
should try to achieve if they are to be regarded significant and useful
enough by the working community of media educators. If they generate further
discussion, then their usefulness will be tested, and their focus will become
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5. A Rhizomatic Afterthought
Telelogically defined media education has a lot to do with rapidly evolving modern technology. It would seem appropriate to try to integrate education, media and technology in a network that would benefit from the various elements as depicted in this article. Several metaphors come to mind in this respect. Figure 3 could be seen as a net, extending in several dimensions and directions but yet making up a whole. Instead of a net, however, I would like to refer to a rhizome and argue that it can be thought of as a basis of all activities of media education. A rhizome (for a more specific description, cf. Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 177; Tella et al. 1998) is more appropriate as a metaphor, as it then suggests a learning organisation around it.
Furthermore, a rhizome is more open than a net, which, if thought of as a ball or a globe, is restricted. The world of media education, as depicted in Figure 3, consists of an innumerable number of rhizomatic connections. A rhizome as a metaphor strongly rejects all ideas of good order, perfect hierarchy or splendid structure. Learning in the rhizome represents "an inconceivable globality" (Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 194), which makes you assume a lot of responsibility for organising your own learning environment in a very constructivist spirit. Duffy & Cunningham's example (1996, 194) of a rhizome is the library in Umberto Eco's famous novel "The Name of the Rose", in which Brother William gropes his way through the library and thus constructs connections for himself, in order, as Duffy & Cunningham argue (1996, 194), "to move from legitimate peripheral to centripetal participation".
If the world of media education is thought of as a rhizome, as a library à la Eco, then we need to construct our own connections through this space in order to appropriate it. However, instead of that solitary groping made by Brother William, we see as our goal the co-construction of those secret connections as a collaborative effort. In this effort, teachers and adults can help younger people, in the very spirit of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) (cf. Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998a, Chapter 3.4.1).
Deleuze & Guattari (1987, 7), the creators of the notion of rhizome, write that according to its first and second principles, viz., connection and heterogeneity, any point of a rhizome can and must be connected to anything other. In my analysis of media education, these kinds of connections are abundantly made. It would still be misleading to suppose that these connections are arbitrary and without any internal logic. On the contrary, the different concepts presented in Figure 3 are clearly, and sometimes surprisingly strongly, interlinked, interconnected and intertwined. For example, social presence is obviously connected to telepresence, both enabled in virtual learning environments by modern information and communication technologies, profiting from independence of distance, time and location, at once strengthened by and facilitating the feeling of shared expertise and virtual togetherness, gearing up towards communalism on the one hand and individualism on the other, all, perhaps, merging into deterritorialised telework by means of telephony, telematics and mobile telecommunications, building up our culture in a dialogic way! A rhizome is not arbitrary, though it is difficult to predict the path an individual would take if given full freedom to choose. This is probably also the inner strength of the metaphor of a rhizome. It transmits the idea of something growing, something developing, yet it gives ample scope for individual action and decision-making. Deleuze & Guattari (1987, 7) suggest that a rhizome "ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles". To me, this also suggests that media educators should actively try to identify new domains and sources of knowledge that are not yet in Figure 3.
To me, a rhizome is a personal thing, it is a subjective perspective to something that is, but which cannot--and perhaps should not--be defined, categorised and classified once and for all. Yet it does not reject a shared effort, it does not prevent many from acting at the same time, even for the common good. Once again, the metaphor of a library is illustrative. It enables many people to take advantage of its resources. The "library" of media education is a digitised one, with full connectivity to the information and knowledge databases all over the world. Some of its connections are rooted in the traditions of different subjects, disciplines and domains of knowledge.
Importantly, my analysis started with an idea of finding
a good starting point for a taxonomy or classification which would neatly
accommodate the different categories of media education. Yet I ended up
with a less systematic and more creative analysis that would seem to serve
my purpose better. Therefore, a rhizome is a rhizome is a rhizome...
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6. Some Acronyms and Abbreviations
The following list of some acronyms and abbreviations is
neither exhaustive nor is it intended to be normative. It only attempts
to give a brief résumé of the somewhat "cryptic"
abbreviations that occur in the research literature. The Finnish language
equivalents are not necessarily the only ones one could use. In most cases,
learning has been translated into Finnish as opiskelu, instead of
Table 5. Some Acronyms and Abbreviations Related to Media Education.
|CAI||Computer-Assisted Instruction, cf. CAL||Tietokoneavusteinen opetus (TAO)|
|CAL||Computer-Assisted Learning, cf. CAI||Tietokoneavusteinen opiskelu (oppiminen)|
|CALL||Computer-Assisted Language Learning||Tietokoneavusteinen kieltenopiskelu (TAKO)|
|CBE||Computer-Based Education||Tietokoneperustainen opetus|
|CL||Collaborative Learning; Co-operative Learning||Yhteisöllinen opiskelu; yhteistoiminnallinen opiskelu (oppiminen)|
|CMC||Computer-Mediated Communication, cf. CMHC||Tietokonevälitteinen viestintä|
|CMHC||Computer-Mediated Human Communication, cf. CMC||Tietokonevälitteinen, ihmistenkeskeinen viestintä|
|CSCL||Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning||Tietokoneavusteinen yhteisöllinen opiskelu|
|CSCW||Computer-Supported Collaborative Working||Tietokoneavusteinen yhteisöllinen työ|
|CSILE||Computer-Supported Intentional Learning Environments||Tietokoneavusteiset intentionaaliset oppimisympäristöt (tietokoneohjelman nimi)|
|CTGV||The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt||Vanderbiltin yliopiston kognitiotieteen ja tekniikan tutkimusryhmän lyhenne|
|FL||Flexible Learning||Joustava opiskelu|
|HHC||Human-to-Human Communication||Ihmisten välinen viestintä|
|ICT||Information and Communication Technologies,
cf. MICT, NICT
|Tieto- ja viestintätekniikka|
|IDLE||Integrated Distributed Learning Environments||Integroidut hajautetut opiskeluympäristöt|
|ISDN||Integrated Service Digital Network||Integroitu digitaalinen verkkopalvelu (videoneuvottelu)|
|MICT||Modern Information and Communication Technologies, cf. NICT, ICT||Moderni tieto- ja viestintätekniikka|
|NBL||Network-Based Learning||Verkostopohjainen opiskelu|
|NICT||New Information and Communication Technologies,
cf. MICT, ICT
|Uusi tieto- ja viestintätekniikka|
|ODL||Open and Distance Learning||Avoin ja etäopiskelu|
|OL||Open Learning||Avoin opiskelu|
|TSL Paradigm||Teaching/Studying/Learning Paradigm||Opetus-, opiskelu- ja oppimisparadigma|
|VMHC||Video-Mediated Human Communication||Videovälitteinen ihmistenkeskeinen viestintä|
|WWW||World Wide Web||Maailmanverkko|
|ZPD||Zone of Proximal Development||Lähikehityksen vyöhyke (Vygotsky)|
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Some articles have references to URL addresses, followed by the date when the information was viewed.
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