Reference: Tella, S., Mononen-Aaltonen, M. & Kynäslahti, H. in collaboration with Nummi, T., Passi, A., Ristola, R., Sariola, J., Vahtivuori, S. & Wager, P. 1998. Towards a Communal Curriculum: Strategic Planning and the Emerging Knowledge of Media Education. Media Education Centre. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Media Education Publications 8, 1–83.

Towards a Communal Curriculum: Strategic Planning and the Emerging Knowledge of Media Education

By Seppo Tella, Marja Mononen-Aaltonen & Heikki Kynäslahti (1998)

in collaboration with Tomi Nummi, Anu Passi, Riikka Ristola, Janne Sariola, Sanna Vahtivuori and Petra Wager


Table of Contents

Abstract
1. Background
2. Scapes of Media Education

2.1 The Milieu of Our Time
2.2 We Live and Learn
2.3 Towards Communalism

2.3.1 Philosophical Background of Communalism
2.3.2 Communalism as an Opportunity

2.4 Teachers' New Roles

3. What are Knowledge Strategies?

3.1 Definitions and Outlines of Knowledge Strategies
3.2 Different Interpretations of Knowledge Strategies

3.2.1 Background Idea and Thought of Action
3.2.2 Mode of Action
3.2.3 Vision
3.2.4 Strategy

4. Knowledge and Dialogue

4.1 Concepts of Knowledge
4.2 Quantitative and Qualitative Information
4.3 Knowledge of Three Worlds
4.4 Thinking as a Skill
4.5 Expertise as Subjective Knowledge
4.6 The Third World of Media Education
4.7 The Power of the Knowledge Metaphor

5. Knowledge Strategy as a Mode of Practice, or How is Knowledge Strategy Made?

5.1 Literature Review
5.2 Discussion About Values
5.3 Basic Values
5.4 Developmental Aspects

6. Criteria for a Good Community

6.1 Starting Points
6.2 An Analysis of the Knowledge Strategy Models of the Media Education Centre
6.3 The Ideal Media Education Centre–Three Visions

6.3.1 Vision 1: Developing Work Community
6.3.2 Vision 2: Success
6.3.3 Vision 3: An Ideal Media Education Centre

7. Conclusion: Key Aspects of the Knowledge Strategy of the Media Education Centre

8. References | References II


Abstract

The Chair of Media Education was established in the Department of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Helsinki on 1 August 1996. A month later, the Media Education Centre began operating as a unit providing teaching in media education and investigating it as a discipline. This article discusses the knowledge strategic thinking of media education as a science and the Media Education Centre as a functional community. The reflections are based on the current rapidly developing and changing milieu which gave rise to media education. Life-long learning and a new communalism are educational phenomena connected with these aspects. On a theoretical level the article provides a survey of the starting points of the communal curriculum.

The article also foresees a new role for teachers and changes in the role of the teacher in an information and communication society and discusses the new challenges faced by teacher education, particularly from the point of view of media education. The main focus lies on knowledge and the emergence of knowledge, which are analysed through Popper's theory of three worlds. Knowledge strategy and its implementation are approached from various directions and practical instructions for establishing a knowledge strategy are provided. Finally we shall outline and envision the Media Education Centre as the best possible learning and teaching community.

Keywords: Media education; knowledge; strategy; knowledge strategies; communalism; teacher education; learning; teaching.

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1. Background

Knowledge strategies are being discussed more than ever. It is easy to say that they are just a fad which will soon pass if we have the patience to wait a little while. However, instead of considering it just as a temporary phenomenon or passing whim, the writers of this article see the discussion on knowledge strategies as an important working method with regard to one's own future and development. During its early days and in 1998 in particular, the staff of the Media Education Centre reflected extensively on what knowledge strategies really are and how their analysis can facilitate the development of media education as a discipline associated with education and pedagogy. Knowledge strategic thinking also constitutes the strategic planning of the operations of the Media Education Centre. The processing of knowledge strategies is also part of our own personal development. The writers of this article all participated in the discussion on knowledge strategies in late autumn 1997 and spring 1998.

This article constitutes the first phase of a long-term strategic development, whose aim is to establish principles for future action, to see past everyday toil, and to ascertain the limits of media education and the skills and facilities needed by a future-oriented researcher and teacher of media education. The main components of this thinking are shown in Figure 1. The main objective is to outline a knowledge strategy for media education as a separate discipline. At the same time, the strategy will be consolidated for the Media Education Centre so that it can serve as a basis for a communal curriculum (yhteisöllinen opetussuunnitelma). A parallel objective is to consolidate a knowledge strategy for parties closely connected with our own community, teacher education in particular; after all, the Media Education Centre is part of the Department of Teacher Education.

Our thinking is based on the idea that the development of a community which is significant and meaningful for the people operating in it is connected with a deeper understanding of its operational principles. People determine the meaning themselves and add a personal significance to it.

Figure 1. Elements of Knowledge Strategic Thinking.

(NB. The seven figures of this article are accessible as PDF files.
The introductory page
gives access to all of them.)

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2. Scapes of Media Education
2. 1 The Milieu of Our Time

The intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is often linked to the umbrella-like concept used to describe our era, that is, post-modernism. The roots of post-modernism are now searched for in architecture, now in the social changes which took place at the turn of the 1960s. In terms of media education, the matter can be approached from the point of view of the development of the social theory studied by Kumar (1995), following the path marked by Bell (1973) and Toffler (1970; 1981). The writers see the economic crises of the early 1970s as another turning point: we are moving from industrialism to post-industrialism. Kumar (1995) derives from this turning point three interconnected theoretical developments: post-modernism, post-Fordism, and the information and communication society. We shall first look at post-modernism and its train of thought, proceeding to a discussion on the effect changes in industrial production have on education. Finally, we shall analyse the concept of information and communication society and some of its synonyms.

Post-modernism is not a straightforward or simplistic view of our time; rather, it is characterised by eclecticism and fragmentedness. Thus, post-modernism provides media education with different viewpoints for observing our world. Information and communication technologies have been expected to increase democracy. Another approach is the post-modernist view practised in particular in critical pedagogies (e.g. Aronowitz & Giroux 1991; Giroux 1992; McLaren 1995). As implied by Lyotard's famous statement on the death of great narratives, small narratives now take the place of great ones. The emphasis post-modernists give to minorities and the powerless evokes a response by the above-mentioned representatives of critical pedagogies, who speak for the voiceless people, for example. In the field of dialogism (see Chapter 4 of this article) parallel views are presented elegantly under the concept of polyphony i.e. the dialogue of many voices (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998).

Were ethnic majorities or post-colonialist overtones not as central issues in Finnish society as in the writings of post-modern critical pedagogies, a similar point of view of the common people is still present in media education research. This is most apparent in the wide interest in projects whose aim is to develop educational conditions in the rural areas and to secure the existence of small schools by utilising the opportunities offered by modern information and communication technologies. Those media educators also speak for the common people who, using its own weapons, attempt to fight the danger of marginalisation which is also connected with the development of the Finnish information and communication society. Such weapons include offering people opportunities for use of extensive information, and improved opportunities for communications and control over their own learning or work.

Post-modern trains of thought are also manifest in our relationship towards knowledge and reality. Knowledge is the result of production (Lyotard 1985; Finnish edition), a product in the same way as the products of industrial manufacturing. Castells (1996) regards production through the conceptual framework of informationalism and, like Lyotard, sees production as a knowledge-producing phenomenon.

Media education lives in a world characterised by loss of context. We can also term it decontextualisation. The definition of knowledge may also be based on this starting point, in which case knowledge without a context is termed information. Fundamental issues also include the relationship between the real world and a world created through simulation, which has brought with it the problems involved in virtual environments. This relationship, as simulations in general, has been studied by Baudrilliard (e.g. 1988), whose ideas of the endless simulation circles of the simulacra constitute a description of post-modern phenomena. These views have also been employed in the field of media education in the study of virtuality. On the other hand, many theoretical approaches also find free flows amidst the context-dependence of our world, in the fields of culture, economics, communications, and other walks of life. These flows have been analysed under the concepts of space of flows (Castells 1996) and scapes (Appadurai 1990). These phenomena are international, so in addition to decontextualisation they include a global aspect. Within the limits of a national education system we are not used to paying much attention to the effects of globalisation on education. With regard to media education, however, globalisation is a key phenomenon whose importance to the knowledge strategy of the discipline is crucial. One of the tasks of media education is to study the global flows of education and to analyse their relevance and effects on education in Finland. This brings us close to the study of globalisation in distance education whose key aspects include the analysis of the relationship between globality and locality (e.g. Evans 1995; Edwards 1995; Evans & Rowan 1997; Bartlett et al. s.a.).

Of various theoretical approaches to globalisation, those most useful in terms of media education are the ones which regard globalisation as an activity between individuals and groups which overcome national and cultural boundaries (see Robertson 1992; Spybey 1996). This approach can be applied to the study of an individual school as a user of global flows, for example. On the other hand, globalisation does not happen equally in all parts of the world; so far, globalisation has only taken place in developed countries. The several global flows and the changes they effect lead to speculation on the emergence of an international community instead of individual national states. (Lash & Urry 1994) Globalisation creates several social groups which spread outside the borders of an individual independent national state. Traditional democracy gives way to a new, cosmopolitan democracy. Its main components are communities which have been established through various power networks. Today, communities are established around time, not space. The media open new opportunities and bring distant events closer. Correspondingly, people find they can create imagined worlds where culture and meaning are based on global communication. (Lash & Urry 1994)

The post-industrial society has also given rise to a trend called post-Fordism. Several analyses suggest flexible specialisation as its key aspect (Kumar 1995; Jencks 1996). The change in production from a Fordist production line to other forms of production enabling flexible response to demand sets new requirements for the skills and know-how of the workers. The changing tasks call for continuing education, which is one of the factors underlying the educational thinking called life-long learning. Naturally it is also a question of correspondence between education and productional needs in a novel situation (Brown & Lauder 1992; Arnold 1996). On the other hand, educational organisations themselves can be analysed through post-Fordist organisation. Carter (1997) calls this approach the school as flexible firm approach. In media education, a corresponding theoretical framework has been applied to the study of school networks and the teacher's job description (Kynäslahti & Husu 1997; Tella & Kynäslahti 1997, 1998). This has continued the recent theoretical discourse on distance education and open learning conducted in the magazines Open Learning and Distance Education, for instance, and based on the theoretical trend of distance education founded on Otto Peters' theory of industrialisation.

In our fin de siècle, the discussion, of interest with regard to the entire society, has focused on the information and communication society. The concept of the information society derives from Yonedi Masuda's ideas of the development of Japanese society in the early 1970s. His concept was translated into English as ‘information society’. This translation in itself was problematic, and the same problems are found in Finnish between ‘information society’ (informaatioyhteiskunta) and ‘knowledge society’ (tietoyhteiskunta). Ilkka Niiniluoto considered this question in the late 1980s without arriving at "any recommendations or requirements of the ‘correct’ use of language" (Niiniluoto 1988, 8).

Finnish societal discussion has largely adopted the latter term, which is also used in the programme called "Finland Towards an Information Society". Although part of the operations of the Media Education Centre fall under this heading, we—as the reader may have noticed by now—prefer the term ‘information and communication society’. This emphasises the communicative component of the term as communication is becoming an increasingly important part of our society. This term is also referred to by the key concept of information and communication technologies (ICT), now used instead of the earlier term ‘information technology’ (IT). Thus the existence of an information and communication society is indicated by the prevalence of the relevant technologies in various contexts such as education. Another element is an increase in knowledge-based work, as indicated by use of the term knowledge worker (e.g. Kumar 1995). This is further connected with the question of the importance of knowledge in production discussed above. Finnish information and communication society and its future are a subject of ongoing discussion. The present article is connected with this discussion.

Living in a period of social change must take us back to values. We must think about what kind of development is desirable as we construct the Finnish information and communication society. In our opinion we must set out to establish a society which caters for all the citizens and where no-one is marginalised. For example, each citizen must be given an opportunity and a right for equal education and for acquiring the media competence required by the information and communication society. All quarters of the society must commit themselves to supporting and contributing to the information and communication society. Networking facilitates a novel innovativity and productive learning. Individualism is not without importance, either. As individuals control their own lives, it is easy to establish networks and relationships between various partners. Individualism and communalism (yhteisöllisyys) are allowed to walk hand in hand supporting each other.

The information and communication society is currently referred to with several terms which underline different characteristics of the post-industrial society. For example, Tulevaisuuden sivistysbarometri (the Barometre of Future Trends in Education 1996) refers to an ‘understanding and wisdom society’. This we can aspire to by combining humane and technological viewpoints in accordance with socio-cultural concept of learning. Communalism and communal learning will increase, while in education the emphasis will increasingly lie on interaction, learning together, and working together.

Himanen (1995) talks about a ‘society of encounters’ (kohtaamisyhteiskunta). His definition emphasises the opportunity offered by the network-oriented society for diverse interaction where individual lifestyles are shaped by various social communities. Such communities may emerge irrespective of time and place, in which cases we talk about virtual communities. In a society of encounters interactive know-how and skills are not an opportunity but a requirement. Global encounters also require adopting new attitudes (Himanen 1995, 183).

The concept of a society of encounters includes an idea of technological changes in communications and new communication methods, which are reflected in the societal reality and the forms of communalism. The development of information and communication technologies has led to changes in the tools which now support social action (Lipponen 1997; Tella 1994). Information and communication technologies may promote a new kind of sociability.

The ability to learn to communicate in different communities and to learn to use new tools is essential for operating in modern society. Communication and media skills alone are not enough. In the new multimedia-based study environments the ability to work together is indispensable. No-one manages on their own. In addition to media skills, learners should be taught teamwork and interactive skills (cf. e.g. Johnson & Johnson 1996, 1017—1018). These skills should be learned in as early a stage as possible. Educational institutions and individuals have answered the challenge of the development of information and communication technologies and seek new, alternative forms of study and modes of action. Now we must consider the role of technology in learning, and how communication is affected by information and communication technologies.

If school in the wider sense of the word is to be developed towards a greater openness, the first step is to improve communication in general. In future educational institutions individuals will have opportunities for multidimensional communication and studying throughout life. The importance of general education will increase and it can be regarded as an ability to challenge authorities. An open and creative learning environment is based on aspects arising from the needs and interests of the learner, and it also provides an opportunity for co-operation and social interaction (Tella 1994, 53—55).

The recent process of societal changes is becoming a permanent state. There is not just one correct theory about the future, nor one clear vision. What is on offer are alternative theories and interpretations. Thus, living at this moment in time and setting out from it cannot be realised by looking backwards. We must face the future by evaluating various developmental trends, various scenarios. Permanent changes and a range of options present new claims on an individual which were unknown in previous societies. We are continuously facing a novel situation which requires new kinds of studying skills, learning, and renewed qualifications.

2.2 We Live and Learn

A human being is always an embryo, a novice capable of development, who daily hears, sees, reads, or experiences something he/she has never encountered before. In a rapidly changing society people are never all-capable, all-knowing or all-competent. To be able to operate as a fully qualified member of society people must keep abreast of the times, study, and learn new things. While studying continuously a person also remains capable of development. In the information and communication society, work and studying have formed an eternal alliance. When work and study overlap so that work feels like studying, we have reached a situation where one of the main areas of life corresponds to the ideal of continuous, life-long learning.

Although the adoption and internalisation of the idea of life-long learning depends on the individual and although it is a result of internal insight, continuous learning must be supported in all environments and phases of life. To be able to continuously learn new things people must nevertheless have sufficient basic skills and knowledge to build on. In Finland, the foundation of learning is laid in a comprehensive school system which provides high-quality general education for the entire age group. Those with only basic-level education need special support for raising their level of attainment. Moving towards life-long learning an individual needs, in addition to a solid basic education, skills for studying both alone and in a group, and the ability to evaluate his/her own learning. Society also has its obligations: among other things, it must create opportunities for life-long learning. We shall first look at issues related to the individual.

The idea of life-long learning is best adopted when individual learning styles and needs are supported from the very beginning of education. Each individual has a special talent which should be developed. Education should develop facilities to support learning techniques and attitudes with an eye to the future. This will emphasise the cross-curricular knowledge and skills (Kaivo-oja et al. 1996). In expert cultures everyone knows something, but no-one knows everything. Communal social action results in a learning and creative community where the acquired skills and knowledge are used for the common good. In communal thinking specialist knowledge is not productive when isolated; instead, the aim is to establish such operational communities where different abilities complement each other. The objectives of life-long learning are necessarily ambiguous. What is important is the process where several people work together and study for the future. It is also of crucial importance to continuously evaluate the said process and thus the progress of learning. Continuous assessment of one's own actions and self-development based on it are part of a human being's target-oriented behaviour. In life-long learning it is essential to recognise the need for change in oneself and in society and to evaluate the learning process in a holistic manner. (Markkula & Suurla 1997)

Life-long learning also sets certain obligations on society. To achieve extensive life-long learning people must have a number of opportunities for learning new things; the range of options must be extended further (Committee Report 1997:14). Current educational institutions do not yet provide the best possible framework for the realisation of the principles and ideals of life-long learning. This brings us to the concepts of open learning environments and networking. They further underline the importance of co-operation between communities and meta-level interactive skills. Open and flexible learning includes access to studying environments irrespective of time and place and the provision of equal opportunities for everyone willing to study (cf. also Tella 1998). Openness and flexibility guarantee that each individual can in any phase of life study and learn. In accordance with the idea of life-long learning, studying and learning are linked with individual experiences and thus constitute a part of one's personality.

Modern information and communication technologies (MICT) enable the implementation of new open and flexible environments. The opportunities provided by telematic communications are studied in several projects at different school levels. For example, the National Board of Education is currently developing methods, applications, and practices in a distance education project where adults study the courses of the senior secondary school (lycée) in accordance with the principles of open and flexible learning. The networking of various educational institutions, homes, and workplaces may help to prevent the inequality hidden in the information and communication society.

To be able to establish new paths of study, an individual needs information and outside support offered by experts on learning and studying. The importance of the role of the teacher, tutor, mentor, and adviser is underlined in the open study environments with an emphasis on information and communication technologies. Life-long learning means independence and development, but most of all assuming responsibilities. A target-oriented attitude is also included in the main objectives of life-long learning, where the targets are largely set by the student him/herself. However, proper tutoring supports learning and helps the learner to better analyse his/her goals, which leads to the motivation remaining high.

The expertise and attitude of the teachers and other mentors is of crucial importance regarding the attainment of these goals. Inservice education is particularly important in new fields which support the development of the information and communication society, such as media education.

At the Media Education Centre we make an attempt to follow the principles of life-long learning: learning is an opportunity, self-development almost a duty, life-long learning an attitude. We aim to awaken in our students an interest in self-development also after attaining formal qualifications and in adopting a continuously learning attitude. The value of know-how becomes as important as the value of formal education. The teachers' inservice education programme "Finland Towards an Information Society" is a functional example of our teaching activities where adults already in employment are supported and encouraged to continuously develop themselves and their existing skills. Our task is to provide expert support, help, and consultation, while our community maintains interactive relationships between initial and inservice education. Thus our community becomes more closely involved in networking between various educational sectors. These aspects are also paid attention to in our strategic plan which thus supports our own operations and goal-setting and helps us see our major objectives and goals from the point of view of teacher education.

2.3 Towards Communalism

2.3.1 Philosophical Background of Communalism

The idea of the role of communalism (yhteisöllisyys) as a social pillar derives from the roots of Western civilisation, the philosophers of ancient Rome and Greece. Regarded as the philosophers of individualism and communalism, Aristotle and Hegel maintain that people can only realise themselves as members of communities. The community is of fundamental importance with regard to the development of an individual's identity and development. According to Hegel, individualism and communalism go together and the truth is found in the overall context. The fundamental question is, how can individuals realise themselves in communities. For example, Kotkavirta (1998, 101—121) has observed that authentic individualism and genuine communalism can only emerge when individually free and equal people co-operate.

According to Kopper (1988), Solomon (1993) and Taylor (1995) also emphasise the importance of communalism in society. Solomon, for example, sets out from a good life, happiness, and prosperity. The good life depends on the communal and cultural milieu in which the individual operates. The individual must take into account the values and methods of the community and the part his/her own task or role plays in it. Co-operation, solidarity, loyalty, and commitment are the concepts Solomon associates with community (Kopperi 1998, 149—163).

Taylor (1995) addresses the major problems of our time, such as the loss of the meaning of life and the egoism typical of our age. Taylor offers a solution by emphasising the community as a resource for human beings’ survival. The central challenge is to find other solutions to societal problems than just legislation and social norms. Problem-solving requires co-operation, joint responsibility, and the renunciation of self-interest.

Solutions to the challenges presented by current societal changes may be sought in the social theory of Habermas (1982) and Frankfurt, which is based on the critical school thinking. Habermas sees education as a process aiming at mutual understanding. A human being is self-directed and active. Education is an interactive dialogue between equal operators. According to Habermas, critical theory seeks to reflect the communal developmental process which has resulted in the current societal situation (Habermas 1982, 17; Latomaa 1994, 66—71).

The aim of Habermas' (1982) critical theory is the enlightenment and the social emancipation it brings about. Critical theory aims to determine a target group which could serve as the bearer of this enlightening process. Media education as an interdisciplinary social science provides the opportunity to serve as the active initiator of this process. In the light of Habermas' (1982, 9-10) thinking, it is in the interests of media education to seek liberation from the obstacles to mutual understanding and equal dialogue.

2.3.2 Communalism as an Opportunity

We live in an age which requires people to act communally both when planning their actions and when acting (e.g. Johnson & Johnson 1996, 1017—1018). Teamwork skills are a prerequisite for success at work and work management. Cooperation, communal studying, and communalism are possible and functional working modes in telematic environments (see Passi & Vahtivuori 1998). In cooperative groups, it is equally important to give and to receive help. Learners understand that they can only reach their goal if the group, the community, reaches its goal (e.g. Johnson & Johnson 1996).

A human being has an innate need to belong, to be accepted and loved, and to act as a member of a social community. Understanding learning and studying as an interactive process is an old idea, but it is central to both constructivist and socio-cultural concepts of learning. The conscious desire to communicate becomes the major element of learning. A social situation gives an individual the chance to externalise his/her thinking to others and thus to create his/her personal interpretation. Interpretation is an important step when information is processed into knowledge. Language has a crucial role in the development of understanding (e.g. Sharan & Sharan 1992; Rauste-von Wright & von Wright 1995, 128; Sharan & Rickett 1996). According to various theorists of co-operative and communal learning, most learning takes place when the learner's own thinking is analysed either orally or in writing and information is produced interactively. From the point of view of the Media Education Centre, the present strategy document represents this kind of integrated thinking and joint writing.

In communal learning the learners discuss, externalise, and interpret information. Dialogic communication and interaction are associated with trust and sharing. Dialogue is a tool of communal learning and thus of genuine communalism. When aiming at communal learning, the teacher's role and ability to initiate dialogue in the group are crucial. The teacher's task is to teach co-operative and collaborative skills and to support the group processes of the learners, whether at school, university, or their virtual equivalents, such as virtual school or the Internet (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998).

Learning is a matter of changing concepts in a communal learning situation. This means that information per se changes, not only increases. Genuine knowledge results from the processing of pieces of information in a social situation. A change in the perspectives and roles of the group deepens individual thinking. Technology may promote new communalism and, on an emotional level, convey touching experiences which form components of effective learning (cf. Passi, Ristola & Vahtivuori 1996). With the help of technology, individuals may act as catalysts for each other's thoughts. Genuine communalism includes a desire and an ability to understand otherness. Another human being, another philosophy and culture should be met with open arms (Sivistyksen tulevaisuusbarometri 1996; Varis 1995, 6—9).

Know-how and the importance of networks only emerges with a better understanding of each other and of communication. Communal action and learning are linked with the concept of shared expertise. Socially shared expertise means that people complement each other and that the group should be more intelligent that the individuals together. We find it valuable that these thoughts have found a place in documents outlining the future of our nation (cf. e.g. Tulevaisuuden sivistysbarometri 1996). Communal thinking is emphasised, since information produced by specialists is not productive when separate. Action is successful when different skills complement each other.

Communalism is not easily established by authoritarian instructions. Change begins in the people themselves. The need for communal action arises with the recognition of its benefits and opportunities for growth. Teachers have a grave responsibility ("Opettajat on pantu paljon vartijoiksi" Simola 1995). They hold key positions when future generations are educated towards active participation in an information society. Without a change in them there will be no change in the work culture of the school.

2.4 Teachers’ New Roles

Teachers’ status and roles in the information and communication society are closely connected with the strategic patterns of thought at the Media Education Centre. According to Tella & Kynäslahti (1998), the development of teachers’ status is subject to at least two simultaneous and important changes. First, teachers are now confronting pedagogical issues similar to those long considered by distance teachers, since distance teaching and distance learning have become familiar through the application of sophisticated technologies in contact teaching. On the other hand, network-based learning (NBL) is becoming increasingly popular, as the use of the Internet becomes more widespread on different school levels (e.g. Tella 1997). A change in the communication and type of interaction in a teaching and learning situation towards partial or complete use of information and communication equipment gives raise to a question on the role of the teacher. Does it differ from the roles of the teacher in the traditional class-based system? If so, how?

In the future the teachers' task is to teach new generations to learn more quickly, to teach them to independently create new kinds of information systems and the ability to abandon old beliefs and the ability to tolerate various belief systems. Teaching a dialogue between various belief systems will probably be crucial, as will the ability to fashion new things based on otherness. Socialising new generations to the existing culture at a younger age and inspiring them towards life-long learning are also considered part of the teacher's tasks. Above all, Niemi (1996) argues that the teacher must convey an active understanding of information to his/her students. The teacher becomes a tutor for spontaneous and responsible i.e. active learning.

Active learning includes asking questions, determining problems, questioning, independent thinking, finding new information by investigation, experimentation, and discussion (Helakorpi et al. 1996). Metacognitive skills and skills of learning to learn also become crucial. The teacher directs the different learning processes of individual learners and the development of their competence for learning. This requires high and varied expertise of the teacher, so that he/she can serve as a learning manager and to carry the overall responsibility for education at a local level.

Niemi (1996) maintains that the emphasis of the teacher's duties lie on the planning of learning and of one's own work, analysis, self-evaluation, and co-operation, and on co-operative and interactive skills in particular. The teacher is an active partner promoting opportunities for education, growth, and learning, but also an active seeker of such opportunities. He/she must thus be capable of dialogue with both students and the more extensive school community, and possess an ability for collegial co-operation. The teacher is a professional who possesses an inquiring mind, processes cognitive information and aims to increase self-understanding, who develops and studies the teaching and learning process and the curriculum. In other words, teaching as a profession is seen as a forum for the development of the teaching and learning process and the curriculum. Thus we could define another task for the teacher, also in accordance with the principle of life-long learning, that of being a student.

Current teacher studies maintain the importance of the teacher's communicative and interactive skills (e.g. Niemi 1996; Niemi 1998). These do not only refer to oral communication, but more generally the ability to listen, pay attention, combine, negotiate, and participate in the discussion on education. In addition, a teacher naturally needs the ability to utilise the information and communication technologies in his/her work and in the development of the students' studying and learning environment. The tools already exist, and if the teacher masters their use for teaching purposes, his/her work emphasises mediated interaction (cf. e.g., Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998). These skills were previously not needed to the same extent as today.

Many researchers are content to refer to the teacher's status in an information and communication technology-oriented studying and learning environment simply by remarking on the shift in the teacher's role from traditional distributor of information towards the role of a tutor and co-learner. Sometimes the role and even the presence of the teacher in a learning situation is called into question. According to Husu (1997) and Sariola (1997), however, the status of the teacher in an information and communication technology-oriented studying and learning environment is crucial. Kynäslahti (1997) also finds that more attention should be paid to the teacher when discussing the use of technology in teaching. The importance of the teacher is also emphasised in a dialogic communication culture (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998). The uniformity and action of the class rely heavily on the teacher, whose teaching is the very reason why the members of the virtual class have gathered together. The teacher is responsible for the entire interactive network and he/she must master both contact and virtual teaching situations. The teacher is behind everything.

Emphasising the teacher's role does not necessarily have to lead to a teacher-centred approach. According to Husu (1997), the task of the teacher, in both standard and virtual classroom, is to "add to and reinforce that which is deemed valuable, to create added value [to the student] so that he/she could be something more to him/herself and the community". According to Husu, the purpose of technology is to support the achievement of the objectives mentioned above. Compared with contact teaching, Rönkä (1997) also underlines the role of the teacher in a virtual classroom particularly as a conveyor and controller of interaction and as a motivator and mentor.

According to Sariola (1997) the work model of a virtual teacher is close to research in character; indeed, the teacher utilises previous research data in establishing and analysing an open and flexible learning environment. The work of the virtual teacher takes place largely at the planning stage, as compared with traditional classroom education. Distance education requires more careful advance planning and more flexibility at the working stage. New components of the work include the selection of the media, and image, sound, and graphic design. The teaching situation itself focuses on group learning, teamwork, network thinking, and reliance on the self-directedness of the student. For instance, videoconferencing does not allow the teacher to see and hear everything. The teacher's role as an evaluator also changes: his/her task is to direct the students towards self-assessment and at the same time to internalise the importance of process evaluation compared with traditional product evaluation.

As providers of initial and in-service education for teachers, it is our task to direct them towards continuous creative and innovative action and to encourage independent thinking. We do not regard teachers as opposers of communication and its new equipment but as active experimenters and appliers of information and communication technologies, as testers of various models, and as creators of a new user culture,

Indeed, every teacher should acquire basic skills in media education, which in our opinion provides the foundation for the work of a modern, future-oriented teacher. This approach has nothing to do with technological determinism, even though a media educator can undoubtedly increase the interest the learners feel towards technology. We see modern information and communication technologies both as a tool, a new context, and as an element of the learning environment contributing to deep and extensive development of thought (cf. e.g. Tella 1997, 42—46). However, the main objective of teacher education and our action is to develop pedagogical and scientific thinking of the teacher and to encourage the independent analysis and development of one's own work and actions. Every teacher is a media educator.

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3. What Are Knowledge Strategies?

3.1 Definitions and Outlines of Knowledge Strategies

What does ‘knowledge strategy’ mean? How do we understand it? Is knowledge strategy a strategy or strategic thinking about knowledge? How should knowledge be understood in this context and what should it include? If knowledge strategy is a concept on the organisational level, what is its equivalent on the level of individuals? In this article knowledge strategy refers to long-term, methodical reflection on the essential nature of the Media Education Centre and its future action, which finds concrete expression as operational procedures or tactical measures, slogans, goals, forms of operation, working methods arising from discussion about values, and evaluation measures connected with them. Knowledge strategy is also connected with our thoughts on what kind of theoretical material the telelogically defined media education in particular can be approached with. Knowledge strategy may also be described as a meta-level systemic process through which the community, in this case the Media Education Centre, selects, implements, and adapts various modes of work, action, decision-making, and problem-solving. Seen from this macro- or meso-perspective, knowledge strategy can be compared with cognitive strategies on the micro-level, the level of individuals, which people use to select and modify their learning, remembering, and thinking functions (e.g. Gagné, Briggs & Wager 1988). In this context knowledge is understood as mental information structures modified by the individual on the basis of thinking and earlier knowledge, resulting in versatile knowledge.

Knowledge strategy can be approached from various starting points and directions. In Finland a considerable amount of national knowledge strategy has been produced since 1993 when the Government drafted the first strategic documents. The 1993 Government decision regarding measures for the reformation of central and local administration in principle is considered significant for the Finnish information community policy as the decisions made included a decision on the outlining of a knowledge management strategy (completed in 1993) and information society strategy (completed in 1994; "Finland Towards an Information Society—National Guidelines"). The strategies described in the following paragraph are largely based on these two documents (e.g. Lilius 1997, 2).

The "National Strategy on Education, Training and Research", advocated by the Finnish Ministry of Education in 1995, set up some goals to provide every student with the basic skills in acquiring, managing, and communicating information, necessary in the information society if interpreted as an interactive network between people and information systems. The strategy was supplemented in 1996 by another document "Towards a Culture-Oriented Information Society". Both strategic documents aimed at guaranteeing all citizens equal opportunities in the new information environment. Some of the key elements included high-quality education, training, research, and culture, with opportunities for lifelong learning available to everyone. One of the key development projects aims to have all senior secondary schools and vocational institutions networked by 1998, and all comprehensive schools by the year 2000 (The Development of Education 1994—1996). In 1997, 65 % of all schools were already networked. More than 1,000 primary and secondary level schools (out of 4,800) had a home page on the Web in 1997, and new pages appear with increasing speed. This network would open up new opportunities for students to receive high quality teaching regardless of their geographic location. The telematic infrastructure is exceptionally well developed in Finland, so networking schools via telematics and with the aid of various technological tools is not that far-fetched. Sceptics might still ask whether simple physical networking between schools is enough; what would really count is the collaboration between the schools (cf. Nummi & Ristola 1998, in this publication about pedagogical networking). Networking of schools calls for collaboration likely to lead to organisational integration in which it is difficult to distinguish any geographical, educational or administrative boundaries between schools. At the Media Education Centre, we have already found some new sociologically interesting phenomena taking place when schools get networked, viz. decentralisation, integration, and fragmentation (e.g., Tella & Kynäslahti 1997). Networks of schools are likely to become a constitutive element in the development of schooling in the Finnish information and communication society. We are convinced that networking is one of the ways that help facilitate the uneasy alliance between technology, culture, and communication.

As regards these national strategic documents and documents prepared by the different Ministries in particular, it can be said that technological development has in some cases progressed more rapidly than envisioned by the various committees. For example, the Internet and use of global networks and different levels of networking have progressed more quickly than expected. Different universities and their faculties may also have their own strategic plans and documents. Probably some of the most important strategic documents prepared by the Department of Teacher Education are by Meisalo & Lavonen (1995) and Tella (1996). Indeed, we hold the opinion that the planning of knowledge strategy should be included in the important operations at each school and institution. Instead of simply reforming their curriculum, we think schools and municipalities should progress towards developing their knowledge strategic thinking. One of the aims of this article and the entire publication is to provide viewpoints for such thinking.

This article emphasises the view adopted by the Media Education Centre towards knowledge strategic thinking. The aim is not to create a general knowledge strategy for the Faculty of Education or the Department of Teacher Education but to consider the matter from the point of view of our own Centre. However, corresponding trains of thought are also likely to emerge on other organisational levels. The ideas would probably be related to the development of organisations and the basic nature of a learning organisation in particular.

3.2 Different Interpretations of Knowledge Strategy

Knowledge strategy can be understood as different interpretations, for instance the background idea of a community or the thought of action, mode of action, vision, strategy, and also as information on or information structure of what is done and why. These viewpoints are discussed briefly in the following.

Figure 2. Different Interpretations of Knowledge Strategy.

3.2.1 Background Idea and Thought of Action

Knowledge strategy can be seen as the background idea of a community or an idea of what the community does, what it should do, and how the community's actions, structure, and tasks are placed among those of other communities. Knowledge strategy can thus be understood as the functional philosophy of the community or practical philosophy.

3.2.2 Mode of Action

Understood as the mode of action or operational idea of a community, knowledge strategy is associated with structural or systemic claims through which it is possible for those outside the community to perceive the target-oriented dimension of the community's action. The basic structure of the mode of action may be more concrete and practical that that of the background idea or thought or action, which include a larger amount of philosophical reflection on values, goals, and objectives. The finality of the mode of action (rationale) is more pragmatic, and it often leads more naturally to a continuous reform and analysis of communal action. The mode of action may be regarded as a theory on communal practice.

3.2.3 Vision

The interpretation of knowledge strategy as a vision arises from the idea that the development of a community requires withdrawal from everyday routines and facing the future. The importance of visions is reflected in many sayings, for example, "Don’t do what's most important, do what's most urgent." Unfortunately, the just in time principle, typical of our times, often leads to a deviation of such principles. However, the importance of visions to the development of the community and for an individual's mental growth is undeniable. In his book on the great leaders of the world, Gardner (1997) describes a phenomenon which focuses on people who make important decisions. He considers how several successful leaders have every now and then almost forcibly attempted and managed brief respites from the ‘rat-race’ to be able to think about various issues and the future policies of the communities they direct.

An analysis of the work of teachers and teacher educators easily leads to the impression that their work is so hectic and exhausting that it leaves no time for visions. The most important thing is to do one's job well, often only a day at a time. Should not attention be paid to the planning of the future, however, to what we want our work community to move towards? In this respect visions as part of knowledge strategic thinking are connected with the idea of development, the attempt to work for the realisation of one's vision. Vision has connotations of looking ahead, of anticipating. An English dictionary defines vision as power of seeing or imagining, looking ahead, grasping the truth that underlies facts. A French dictionary contains the following definition: << perception du monde extérieur par les organes de la vue; action de voir; façon de voir; conception >>. This definition is based on seeing as a concrete action and proceeds towards a more personal seeing, a view of something. It has sometimes been said (e.g. Tella 1993) that in the school world vision has been less evident than revision, division, and supervision. The importance of visions in education has not been overly emphasised; for instance, the famous handbook by Wittrock (1986) does not list vision as an entry (nor strategy). Having studied the development of the school community in Finland, Leppilampi (1991, 149) maintains that visions have been more common in the business community where the operations of a successful enterprise must be guided by a vision accepted and internalised by as many members of the work community as possible. If the vision is integrated as part of the knowledge strategy, it may be said that it serves as a developmental idea of the community, a state-of-the-art ideal on which the community is developed like any thinking, collegial community which reflects its actions and opportunities.

Like strategies in general, vision is also directed towards the future. It is a future-oriented view, an abstraction which can be made concrete through goals and targets and tactical measures. Leppilampi (1991, 150) defines vision (according to Bennis, Nanus & Berman 1985) as simple, easily understandable, clearly desirable, desired, and energetic, while a target is concrete, measurable and scheduled so that it can be achieved by a given time. Visions should take into account the different strata of the community. A vision must be made known to and internalised by all key operators. If this is done, visions also promote democracy in the work community. It may be claimed that a shared vision increases shared communalism and partnership in the community. A more closer analysis of how visions are compared with beliefs, [pre]conceptions, and knowledge (see e.g. Tella 1993) is not possible in this context. Let us note briefly that Pajares (1992), for instance, makes references to researchers who maintain that beliefs may finally prove to be the most valuable psychological constructs in teacher education. Little research has been done on the understanding of beliefs, however. Another problem is where to draw the line between knowledge and belief (e.g. Pajares (1992). However, according to a generally accepted definition, knowledge equals a justifiable, true belief. We are thus justified in concluding that knowledge is based on belief. What is more difficult is to define what is a true (and what a false) belief. This reasoning leads to the assumption that vision is not only based on beliefs, but also on knowledge to some extent, since knowledge is by definition included in the area of beliefs.

3.2.4 Strategy

The etymology of strategy conveys an idea of action directed towards a common target. According to Webster's Dictionary, strategy is the science and art of using all the forces of a nation to execute plans as effectively as possible during peace or war. On a more concrete level the same source defines it as a plan of action resulting from strategy or intended to accomplish a specific goal. It is a question of a deep, far-reaching goal, the achievement of which calls for the harnessing of a considerable amount of common resources. As indicated by this etymology, strategy also involves conscious reflection on the practical measures needed to reach the goals.

The potential goals created through visions are achieved through strategy. It is a tool for determining the issues which must be taken into account in order to reach the desired goals. Strategy provides a framework for the plan of action, which concerns the acts carried out within the strategic framework. Not only are one's own actions taken into account, but the importance of other, closely connected areas are also calculated. Thus knowledge strategic planning in media education also includes reflection on the importance of closely related disciplines, such as education as a major science, other disciplines, and the various aspects of society which affect media education (for a closer analysis, cf. Tella 1998, in this publication).

Strategy involves an analysis of one's own strengths and areas requiring development. Attention is also paid to the corresponding factors on the above-mentioned related areas. For the strategy to succeed, potential threats which may hinder the achievement of goals must also be evaluated. For the evaluation of the strategy to succeed, the achievement of goals must be measurable, for example, on the basis of a temporal dimension or effectiveness. Such measurability must be taken into account at the planning stage. It is of primary importance that those involved in the outlining of a common strategy are unanimous enough on and committed to its methods and goals. This requires strategic design to take place through dialogue which leads to a common discourse between all partners.

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4. Knowledge and Dialogue

4.1 Concepts of Knowledge

Media education and the Media Education Centre are products of the post-modern cultural milieu we live in, whose current stage of development may be called the information and communication society. It survives on knowledge and knowledge-based work: knowledge is manifest everywhere in production, work, products, and services. Information is both a product, productional power, and a tool, and it can be transmitted from one corner of the world to another in the blink of an eye. At the same time, post-modern criticism shows a strong tendency towards science and scientific information, particularly its truth value. If the search for truth is an illusion, science is of no use and there is no reason to prefer one theory to another any more than distinguish between the working method of scientists from other work: hypothetical-deductive thinking is practised in all walks of life (Bereiter, Scardamalia, Cassells & Hewitt 1997, 330—333).

Closely associated with post-modernism, the intensive use of information and communication technology has brought forth new concepts to supplement the concept of knowledge, of which concepts ‘information’ and ‘data’ are used as synonyms for knowledge in everyday language. What knowledge are we basing our strategy on? Knowledge as a product, or as something that is dead like history, great narratives, and literary characters? Everyday thought or binary sequences which are transmitted around information networks and, reaching the screen of our computer, turn into images, words, sound, movement? Data is hardly enough to base our knowledge strategy on, but what is our attitude towards information?

4.2 Quantitative and Qualitative Information

Theories on information society use the term ‘information’ as an overall concept for all written text, images, and sounds, and for numerical data which can be processed and transmitted either physically or electronically using a given medium (Hautamäki 1998, 60). However, a distinction between information and data can also be made using the term ‘data’ to refer to something ‘given’ (cf. Latin do, dedi, datum, dare: datum = given, data = the given), to unprocessed information lacking an interpretation. Data becomes information when people give it a meaning or interpretation. Information is external and its associations emphasise the role of the human being as a recipient, as is evident in the original meaning of the Latin term: in-formare = to form into. In other words, information is something that has been given from the outside (Venkula 1987, 4). Niiniluoto (1988) also bases his analysis of the concept of information on Latin, but in our opinion his analysis of the etymology remains half-finished when compared to that of Venkula’s, since he only emphasises aspects to do with form (forma; see Niiniluoto 1988).

Consequently, data and information refer to quantitative information which exist physically in equipment used in knowledge-based work, computer’s memory, or data networks and is often transferred by media. Such information is easy and simple to process, it can be referred to quantitatively, either in general or in a given medium, and it can be transferred like any other physical entity. In addition to quantitative (physical) information, we talk about qualitative (semantic) information, which also has a pragmatic dimension, or knowledge (Hautamäki 1998, 60—61; see also Niiniluoto 1988).

Knowledge differs from data and information in that it is connected to a human being, a subject who knows, who has knowledge. Information is interpreted to be transformed into knowledge only when it is integrated with larger contexts or information structures (contextualised). In other words, knowledge refers to a construct based on information and processed in the human mind, which can include value statements: true, correct, justified (Meisalo & Tella 1988, 22) These statements connect Meisalo and Tella to the classical definition of knowledge, according to which knowledge refers to a justifiable, true belief. However, data and information can also be well-founded or unfounded, or correct or incorrect. However, excepting trivial issues, we cannot know for sure whether a statement is true or false, which is why it has been proposed that the classical definition of knowledge should be relaxed and the more extensive definition of ‘knowing’ accepted. Knowing would be justifiable, but instead of true only relevant or important (Hautamäki 1998, 60). Like a philosopher, Hautamäki associates truth with propositions and their truth value. The idea of knowledge associated with propositions does not say anything about how knowledge is born, which is the key question with regard to learning.

4.3 Knowledge of Three Worlds

Definitions of the concept of knowledge often rely on Popper's famous theory on three worlds (e.g. Hautamäki 1998, 60), but the theory has also been applied to the fundamental questions of learning and teaching, particularly to the analysis of the constructivist concept of learning (e.g. Yrjönsuuri 1993, 52—56). Popper himself describes the worlds as follows: "… [f]irst, the world of physical objects or of physical states; secondly, the world of states of consciousness, or of mental states, or perhaps of behavioural dispositions to act; thirdly, the world of objective contents of thought, especially of scientific and poetic thoughts and of works of art" (Popper 1979, 106).

According to Popper, traditional epistemology belongs to the second world, since it is interested in knowledge and thought in the subjective sense of the word: "…[k]nowledge or thought in a subjective sense—in the sense of the ordinary usage of the words 'I know' or 'I am thinking'" (Popper 1979, 108). Scientific information belongs to the third world, "…[t]o the world of objective theories, objective problems, and objective arguments" (Popper 1979, 108).

From our viewpoint Popper's third world is important because, in addition to theories, it also includes their origin—discussion and arguments. According to Popper, the third world is populated in particular by "[t]heoretical systems; but inmates just as important are problems and problem situations. And I will argue that the most important inmates of this world are critical arguments, and what may be called—in analogy to a physical state or to a state of consciousness—the state of a discussion or the state of a critical argument; and, of course, the contents of journals, books, and libraries" (Popper 1979, 107). Popper further argues that the third world exists more or less independently (1979, 107).

Popper's ideas provide a direct link to dialogism, which has been a central theme of discussion during the entire existence of the Media Education Centre. Dialogue in its Bakhtinian and Vygotskyan sense is the undivided origin of all knowledge, thought, and thus also learning. Knowledge becomes "a social, communicative, and discursive process, inexorably grounded in talk" (Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 181). Since dialogism has been discussed in a previous publication in greater detail, we recommend the reader familiarise him/herself with our thoughts in volume 7 of the Media Education Publications series (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998).

Popper's categorisation clarifies the discussion on information society and knowledge strategy. We understand that data, information, and knowledge can be entered in Popper's worlds as follows: as physical objects, data and information belong to the first world, knowledge as a subjective construct to the second world, and objective or scientific information to the third world. This basic idea gives rise to four statements regarding the information and communication society.

First, the commonly heard slogan ‘Information society in on its way!’ cannot become reality simply through global implementation of information and communication technologies, since such technologies can only process objects inhabiting the first world, that is, data and information. Second, knowledge strategy cannot be based on the skills of processing and transferring physical information inhabiting the first world. Third, it should be noted that the information-based economy of the information and communication society requires a search for information on the one hand, and the establishment of new knowledge and understanding on the other hand. Fourth, since the work done by top researchers and its results increasingly take a digital form parallel with other data and information, the separation of scientific information from everyday non-scientific nonsensical information requires extensive subjective knowledge as well as knowledge and understanding of the origin and criteria of scientific information, in other words knowledge in the sense of Popper's second and third worlds. We find it extremely important that such interpretations be taken into account in knowledge strategic thinking, since they help us to understand the fundamental differences between data, information, knowledge and knowing, and understanding, which must be considered in the teaching—learning process. From the point of view of the currently popular constructivist view of learning, knowledge of Popper's worlds helps both the teacher and the student to improve their understanding of the aspects connected with information and its processing.

4.4 Thinking as a Skill

Scientific activity has often been considered the superior form of human action and as an ideal field for action: "It should be and it is possible to transfer to other areas of human action those skills and intellectual habits used in the scientific gathering of information" (Venkula 1989, 25). In the information and communication society, the majority are involved in the immaterial production of information as a commodity which increasingly requires the ability to use the highest forms of mental action, particularly abstract thought (Kaivo-oja, Malaska, Jokinen & Rubin 1996, 41).

Pragmatism sees human action and experience as the main source of information. The significant aspect of the pragmatist view of knowledge that thinking is understood as a skill which can be developed through action. (Venkula 1989, 25) According to Venkula (1987), attention paid to action and skills is justified since "in unpredictable situations people apply habits and skills. When analysing new problems the skill they need most is the skill of thought, the ability to find what is essential in the situation and their own modes of thought. This skill, the most sophisticated and special one possessed by human beings, can apparently be trained only by experimental action" (Venkula 1987, 8).

Modern psychology of thought (e.g. Saariluoma 1990) also sees thinking as a cognitive skill. A skill is a learned form of behaviour and it is achieved through purposeful and methodical training. Differences in skill attainment between individuals result from this aspect, not so much from permanent, inherent characteristics (Saariluoma 1990, 16—18). Thinking and mental development always take place within the framework of a culture. Thinking is always dialogic. Duffy & Cunningham (1996, 177) argue that thinking "is always connected to another, either directly as in some communicative action or indirectly via some form of semiotic mediation: signs and/or tools appropriated from the sociocultural context". Different ways of life promote different skills and the concept systems underlying them (Saariluoma 1990, 185—186). According to Hakkarainen (1997, 14), current knowledge of thinking and learning leads to the well-founded claim that the skills required for survival in an information-based society can be achieved by the majority of the population.

Skills of thought develop on the very fringes of human skills, in an area Vygotsky calls the zone of proximal development, as a result of dialogue and communal action. Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is closely connected with Bakhtin's dialogism. For this reason it was not possible to ignore the zone of proximal development in our analysis of the relationship between dialogism and technology included in "Media Education Publications 7" (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998) of the Media Education Centre.

The way children learn is commonly used as an example when discussing the zone of proximal development. Griffin & Cole (1984) also use it to illustrate their interpretation of the Vygotskyan concept. If the zone of proximal development is included in teaching, it must be planned so as "to support the dialogue between the child and his or her future; not a dialogue between the child and the adult's history" (Griffin & Cole 1984; cited in Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 170). However, the developmental potential of an individual, i.e. the zone of proximal development, does not wither away with age. It plays a crucial role in an individual's development throughout his/her life. Goals, aspirations, and ideals are part of this potential (Kitajgorodskaja 1992, 43). The idea of life-long learning is also evident in the view presented by the Russian psychologist S. L. Rubinstein of a human being whose "personality is not described only by what he/she is, but also by what he/she wants to become, what he/she actively strives for. In other words, we are not characterised only by what has already been shaped and what functions in our personality, but also by what forms the area of developmental possibilities" (Rubinstein, cited in Kitajgorodskaja 1992, 43). In knowledge strategic thinking, the development of the skill of thought is at least as important as the mastering of tools and media used in knowledge-based work.

4.5 Expertise as Subjective Knowledge

Our post-modern world relies heavily on technology, which is why reality is considered to have become more complicated (Etzioni 1968; Lash 1995; cited in Räsänen & Erola 1998, 34). Many researchers find that in such a world the good life is achieved through expertise and special skills (Kaivo-oja, Malaska & Rubin 1997, 26).

As we understand it, the subjective knowledge inhabiting Popper's second world represents the said expertise needed in the information and communication society. Expertise is the in-depth knowledge of an individual, his/her knowing. The expertise possessed by the Media Education Centre depends on the individuals who conduct research, teach, and act in our community. Our ideal objective can be compared to the objective of the players of The Glass Bead Game, the famous futuristic novel by Herman Hesse, which objective the main character Josef Knecht describes as follows:

"Jedes kastalische Institut und jeder Kastalier sollte nur zwei Ziele und Ideale kennen: in seinem Fache das möglichst Vollkommene zu leisten und sein Fach und sich selbst dadurch lebendig und elastisch zu verhalten, daß er es beständig mit allen anderen Disziplinen verbunden und allen innig befreundet weiß." (Hesse 1967/1943, 255)

Human abilities and knowing are also an excellent source for our community, since, as Kaivo-oja (1995, 26) points out, in the information society they provide a link between work, capital, and natural resources. Expertise is associated with in-depth knowledge in one or more areas, virtuosity, top-class abilities. The necessary prerequisite for acquiring top-class abilities is, as Hakkarainen argues (1997, 13), contact with a specialist culture, since the emergence of top-class abilities depends on the accumulation of cultural knowledge in the area where top-class achievements are made, the nature of the abilities, technologies, and how they are taught.

Thanks to communalism, our expertise becomes the possession of the entire Media Education Centre. Shared expertise, which forms our common knowledge resources and power in the sense used by the 17th-century thinker Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes defines power as human beings’ current means for acquiring a future good. The Finnish language cannot express the connotations of the word 'power' with a single word. Power is strength and power, but also prestige, persuasion, and various resources (Thomas Hobbes 1651/1985, 150—151; cited in Pursiainen 1997, 14).

Our resources and persuasive power naturally include the ability to use the tools and media related to information and communication technologies, but above all of in-depth processing and communication skills, the ability to co-ordinate different viewpoints, and reciprocal understanding.

Again, we refer to Bakhtin and his concept of ventriloquation: as individuals, we speak with the language or voice of our social community. Duffy & Cunningham (1996, 181) give a concrete example: "… [t]he way in which a student comes to manifest the effective behaviour of a community (e.g., the community of scientists) is to speak with the voice of that community (e.g., to talk like a scientist)."

Nevertheless, ventriloquation does not mean that the speakers of one language should say the same things, that in our community we should all agree exactly on every issue related to media education or our Centre. For us, the existence of different viewpoints is "a cause of celebration and optimism, not a fear that we will sink into some kind of utter subjectivism" (Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 179). This is why we must emulate Rorty and express the matter the other way round: "Knowledge is not a matter of getting it right but rather acquiring habits of action for coping with reality" (Rorty 1991, 1; cited in Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 172). Duffy & Cunningham develop Rorty's idea further:

"We are always seeking to increase the viability of our understanding, both by improving our account of specific events or experiences and by interweaving our explanations, thus weaving a web of understanding […] viability is established through obtaining unforced agreement within the community" (Duffy & Cunninham 1996, 172).

What is important is a dialogue which continuously aspires to improve our understanding. Our resources are founded on objective knowledge of media education in the Popperian sense.

4.6 The Third World of Media Education

Popper's scientific knowledge does not conform to the classical concept of knowledge, in other words, knowledge is not "… [j]ustifiable belief, such as belief based upon perception" (Popper 1979, 122). And Popper continues:

"As a consequence, this kind of belief philosophy cannot explain (and does not even try to explain) the decisive phenomenon that scientists criticize their theories and so kill them. Scientists try to eliminate their false theories, they try to let them die in their stead. The believer—whether animal or man—perishes with his false beliefs." (Popper 1972/1979, 122)

What is accepted as true knowledge changes with the times. This is why Pihlström (1997) has also proposed the classical definition of knowledge be left ‘on the yellowing pages of history’, but for different reasons: we cannot talk about knowledge, but only about "theories accepted at some stage of the development of science and how these theories analyse the world. The expression ‘scientific knowledge’ has no other meaning" (Pihlström 1997, 7).

The objective knowledge of media education differs from the knowledge in other pedagogical disciplines, in that it is essentially and inherently interdisciplinary. Through interdisciplinary dialogue we might acquire a better understanding of the current reality of school, teaching, learning, and teacher education and the range of their potential futures: "Future is made through different choices of future options and through adaptation" (Kaivo-oja 1995, 22). Since media education is discussed elsewhere in this publication in greater detail (Tella 1998), we bring up here only one idea: as an interdisciplinary field, media education is an integrating and unifying science. Again, we quote Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game and Josef Knecht:

"Mag vielleicht für den Physiker oder Musikhistoriker oder irgendeinen anderen Gelehrten ein strenges und asketisches Beharren bei seinem Fache zuzeiten geboten und ein Verzicht auf den Gedanken der Universalbildung der momentanen, speziellen Höchstleistung förderlich sein — wir jedenfals, wir Glasperlenspieler, dürfen diese Beschränkung und Selbstgenügsamkeit niemals gutheißen und üben […]" (Hesse 1967/1943, 255)

Media education does not integrate knowledge from different branches of science only. Increasingly oriented towards knowledge and utilising modern information and communication technologies, our world and work have acquired characteristics typical of the arts. We are all expected to express "a new artistic quality, a flexible, interactive, and improvising jazz mentality" (Koski 1997, 42). Koski refers to Peter Druckner, who sees any future organisation, even tomorrow's organisation, as a "jazz band who write music while playing it" and continues: "And a good jazz band must not be too big, since when improvising jazz the entire group must be able to adapt to the continuously changing conditions" (Koski 1997, 42).

We return to Popper's definition of his third world where scientific thinking is accompanied by "poetic thoughts and … works of art" (Popper 1979, 106). The world of media is largely a world of signs and symbols, naturally a world of language in the first place, but in addition it is also the world of images, sound, and movement. The knowledge of media education emerges through a dialogue between science and art; however, technology is also included. Thus it realises the idea of the integration of scientific knowledge, art, and technology expressed in Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a cult novel of the 1980s. According to Pirsig this should have happened a long time ago (Pirsig 1988, 320).

When creating a knowledge strategy for media education it is necessary to include levels other than technology alone. Natural and synergetic levels are presented by crossovers of art, science, and technology, and of cultural, social, and human sciences. In this manner, media education can best utilise the integrating dimension based on its interdisciplinary basis.

4.7 The Power of the Knowledge Metaphor

In our discussions on knowledge strategies we have sought empowering metaphors to describe the basis of media education created through dialogue between sciences, arts, and technology. Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game seems to structure our thinking to a certain extent and to help us create a world of media education. We are of the opinion that the task of media education and the researchers and teacher educators at the Media Education Centre was aptly expressed by Josef Knecht::

"Und wie können wir den Archäologen, den Pädagogen, den Astronomen und so weiter zwingen, auf ein selbstgenügsames Fachgelehrtentum zu verzichten und immer wieder ihre Fenster gegen alle anderen Disziplinen zu öffen? Wir können es nicht durch Zwangsvorschriften, indem wir etwa das Glasperlenspiel schon in den Schulen zum offiziellen Lehrfach machen, und wir können es auch nicht durch die bloße Erinnerung an das, was unsere Vorgänger mit diesem Spiel gemeint haben. Wir können unser Spiel und uns selbst nur dadurch als unentbehrlich ausweisen, daß wir es stets auf der Höhe des gesamten geistigen Lebens halten, daß wir jede neue Errungenschaft, jede neue Blickrichtung und Fragenstellung der Wissenschaften uns wachsam aneignen und daß wir unsre Universalität, unser edles und auch gefährliches Spiel mit dem Gedanken der Einheit immer neu und immer wieder so hold, so überzeugend, so verlockend und reizvoll gestalten und betreiben, daß auch der ernsteste Forscher und fleißigste Fachmann immer wieder seinen Mahnruf, seine Verführung und Lockung empfinden muß." (Hesse 1967/1943, 255—256)

We also feel we need a metaphor for knowledge to help us better determine our deep, long-term objectives and knowledge strategy. The familiar tree of knowledge does not correspond to our current view of the emergence of knowledge or knowledge as a changing concept divided into social, cultural, historical, and institutional contexts. Tella (1995) has previously demonstrated the network-oriented nature of the information society with a net metaphor:

"The network adapts to the needs of the user as a flexible texture, which is a counterpart image to the constructivist view of learning. There are no clear starting or ending points in a network. Everyone can start in their own net node and progress in whatever direction, as far as they please. In the infinite nodes of the net surface the information potential they contain is multiplied. The form of the net, its nodes, are not, however, as important as the content that net users offer to each other. The individual, the human being, the learner is more often than not in a situation where he is part of many social nets, which give him, a user of telematics, a possibility to make more and more connections to support his learning and studies" (Tella 1995, 5—6).

Here we shall advance a step and describe the basic characteristics of the human mind and the knowledge it produces, the fragmented nature of knowledge and knowing and a human being’s inseparability from other people "individually but also collectively" with the rhizome metaphor based on constructivism:

"A rhizome is a root crop, a prostrate or underground system of stems, roots, and fibers whose fruits are tibers, bulbs, and leaves. A tulip is a rhizome as is rice grass, even the familiar crab grass. The metaphor specifically rejects the inevitability of such notions as hierarchy, order, node, kernel, or structure." (Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 177)

The rhizome metaphor was probably introduced by Deleuze and Guattar (1980; cf. also Eco 1984). These French philosophers’ presentation of the concept of rhizome is rhizomatic to such an extent that the reader becomes convinced of the accuracy of the metaphor: the rhizome metaphor is as difficult to visualise as the object it describes. i.e. the human mind, its structure, or the knowledge it generates. What this metaphor expresses about our time and mankind is deeply dialogic. Indeed, referring to Vygotskyan and Bakhtinian thinking through Wertsch (1991) Duffy & Cunningham state that:

"We are connected to the sociocultural milieu in which we operate, a milieu characterized by the tools (computers, cars, television, and so forth) and signs (language, mathematics, drawing, etc.), which we may appropriate for our thinking. Thus thinking is not an action that takes place within a mind within a body, but rather at the connections, in the iteractions. But it is worth saying again that this thinking is always ‘local’, always a limited subset of the potential (unlimited) rhizomous connections." (Duffy & Cunningham 1996, 177)

The leitmotiv or ‘big idea’ of media education is that instead of reagarding science as fragmented it aims at integration and unification through dialogue (cf. Figure 7). The development of a dialogic communication culture through the integration of dialogism and technology into a rhizomatic whole would seem to lie at the heart of media education and the knowledge strategy of the Media Education Centre. We emphasise dialogism as the raison d'être of our community. Basically, dialogism is the way to be, but it also provides us with empowering tools for research and teaching.

This is why we have described dialogism as a cloud whose refreshing rainfall fosters our discipline and makes it grow like a mushroom whose colour is the yellow colour of hope. A mushroom whose rhizomes are deeply embedded in global changes which are also relevant to Finnish society, and in international communication. Growth is preceded by birth. Thus it is understandable that our forefathers respected seers, those who knew the origin of knowledge. Knowledge emerges and grows, as Popper (1978, 258) says, "from old problems to new problems"; this is why it has both roots and wings. The tools for the growth of knowledge are "conjectures and refutations" (Popper 1978, 258), which is why dialogue is the tool of the growth of knowledge in media education.

One of the goals of teacher education is to educate teachers capable of critical thought and reflection. However, it must be realised that reflection alone is not enough. Action is also needed, a level of performance. This idea again links knowledge strategies with pragmatism and its view of human action and experience as a key source of knowledge. At its moment of emergence, knowledge promotes human action. Venkula is probably right claiming that (1989, 22) "the only knowledge is what people accept as instruction for their actions in a real situation, for-problem-solving". The criterion for knowledge is action, and knowledge strategy is the target-oriented initiator of this action.

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5. Knowledge Strategy as a Mode of Practice, or How is Knowledge Strategy Made?

The outlining of knowledge strategy requires continuous evaluation of both the contents and form of the strategy and the directions and tactical methods it requires. We are aware here of the difficulties related to the validation of the evaluation of knowledge strategic thinking. Actually, the most important validation criteria must be time. The validity of the strategic and tactical decisions we make now is only visible when their concrete effects are observable, which in some cases may take years. On the other hand, this brings a long-term dimension to the action both vertically and horizontally. For this reason, the evaluation of strategic thinking is connected with the effectiveness of the action and its analysis.

Figure 3. Knowledge Strategy as a Mode of Action.

This chapter contains a preliminary discussion on the phases needed when a school or another community sets out to establish its own knowledge strategy. At the same time the chapter reflects the mode of analysis the writers of this article used in particular in spring 1998 when knowledge strategy was analysed together as an object of joint thinking and co-authoring.

Knowledge strategy may be developed as follows:

5.1 Literature Review

Knowledge strategic thinking can be seen to arise from the knowledge of existing literature. In this respect, literature includes a variety of sources, for example the national strategic documents commissioned by the Government, European Union documents and action plans, and other more general literature connected with strategic thinking. The viewpoints of the learning organisation and life-long learning should also be borne in mind. A fairly new yet important source are the digital strategic documents found on the World Wide Web. (Cf. References II at the end of this article)

5.2 Discussion About Values

Knowledge strategic thinking is in reality a discussion about values between the various members of the work community on what kind of future should be valued and which direction taken. We must start from the fact that the future can be influenced and future solutions be considered. Various think tanks and modes of synectic ideation are also needed in discussion about values. It can also be enlivened by inviting ‘outside’ experts to the community to add zest to the thinking. Accordingly, it is possible to study the future scenarios presented by various experts concerning their own fields of expertise (for instance, the articles Top Ten Futures II in the Futura magazine, issue 4/1997).

One of the key requirements of successful discussion about values is adherence to the principles of dialogism, in particular, attention to and respect of other people's opinions (Tella & Mononen-Aaltonen 1998). The discussion must never turn into a debate or aggressive arguing about what should be condemned or called into question. A genuine dialogue involves listening skills, addressivity, and recognition of the fact that dialogic discussion about values requires time. Knowledge strategic thinking is a topic particularly suited to a discussion about values, since on a conceptual level it already involves the contents of two complicated constructs and the claims they give rise to. At the Media Education Centre, a discussion was initiated in December 1997, which evaluated the work done during the past autumn and considered the plan for spring 1998. This is when the first versions of many of the ideas included in our articles first saw light. An organised discussion began towards the beginning of the spring term 1998 and has continued unabated. From the beginning, it was clear that this is a challenging topic which cannot and must not be limited in advance. On the contrary, we found it important that the discussion could be conducted in the constructive spirit of communalism and that the existing modes of thinking could be modified further.

5.3 Basic Values

Discussion about values can, at its best, lead to common basic values (arvopohja), which the members of the community can commit themselves to. Basic values constitute a kind of ‘agreement’ on the key values future action is directed towards. Indirectly, it also implies limitations placed on the values which the community as a whole is not committed to. However, it is not a question of denying or condemning individual values. It is more a question of raising implicit, possibly unconscious values as a subject of conscious thought. Values are always linked with choices and subjectivity. A search for common basic values may actually reinforce the collective subject in the community; at the very least it helps to reinforce a sense of communalism.

5.4 Developmental Aspects

Naturally, knowledge strategic thinking must find concrete expression as action and not remain solely a theoretical structure. By way of comparison it can be noted that the phases defined above from the discussion about values to determining basic values are largely constructivist in nature. Both individuals and the community they comprise construct their own views and organise their own knowledge of the concept ‘knowledge strategy’. Another point of comparison would be provided by reflective action which studies the justification of the action.

Nevertheless, just like constructivism or reflection face the danger of remaining "without spirit" unless made concrete or taken to the level of performance or constructionism (e.g. Papert's comparison of the differences between constructivism and constructionism; also Tella 1994a, 33), knowledge strategic thinking and discussion about values and the basic values themselves as parts of the strategy require a concrete expression. Indeed, it is part of our strategy to see this phase as dynamic research, development and experimental action which can be characterised as a cyclic, self-correcting process mode. This phase can include slogans, visions, consolidation of goals, forms of action, working methods, as well as the planning and implementation of evaluation.

To summarise, there are three questions, the answers to which make the mode concrete. The key questions are:

1) What is the current situation?
2) What is the ideal?
3) How can the ideal be reached?

The first question is connected with the analysis of the current situation, the status quo. The second question is connected with a state-of-the-art kind of approach, which outlines the future ideal situation. Usually it is natural to consider several alternative visions. The third question requires thinking about how this new ideal can be reached or how we should move towards it. The questions are simple, yet recurrent. They must be asked time and again as the action continues.

One aspect of the consolidation of action is initiated through the central research and operational principles of the Media Education Centre. Plans and strategies are based on the analysis of the semantic fields of the different components of the operational principles, and the ideas for development and research derived therefrom.

* On a strategic level, planning is based on the synergy and multidimensional benefits acquired through both national and international projects and research co-operation. The planning is based on a pedagogically and didactically meaningful and appropriate development of national and international knowledge resources, based mainly on telematics and telematic solutions, systematic research, and evaluation of its achievements.

* On a tactical level the planning is based on projects carried out both within the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of Education and between different faculties and disciplines. The starting point is the synergetic, interdisciplinary research project planning. In the Department of Teacher Education, long-term and medium-term planning arises from the continuous development of virtual-pedagogical ideas which have been under development for years or are currently researched.

As mentioned earlier, this article describes the current phase of our knowledge strategic thinking, mostly theoretical reflection thereon. In the next phase the aim is to find new concrete modes of action, experimentation with which is also part of the implementation of the strategic thinking.

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6. Criteria for a Good Community

6.1 Starting Points

The writers of this article had two main objectives which complement each other. The first objective concerned media education as a discipline. It was understood that strategic visions could clarify the theoretical basis of media education. The second objective was more concretely connected with the development of the Media Education Centre—or, more generally, any community—into an ‘ideal working unit’. This chapter provides an analysis of the latter viewpoint in particular.

Such thinking starts from the post-modern concept of learning organisations which are characterised by the existence of a collectively accepted vision, extensive goals, and a conscious attempt to facilitate co-ordination and action within the organisation. They are further characterised by a distributed but empowered staff, tailor-made products, and targeted services. Post-modern learning organisations network with their clients and react quickly to their needs. They also actively seek strategic alliances with different organisation systems, for example with business enterprises and trade. The Media Education Centre has perceived that its work and actions, both research and development, help to create favourable conditions for the transformation of the entire Department of Teacher Education into a post-modern learning organisation.

There are several definitions of high-quality learning. De Corte (1995) and Jonassen (1995) present paralleling classifications of high-quality and meaningful learning. Both start from the constructivist view of learning: the learner is not a passive recipient of knowledge but he/she actively acquires and modifies knowledge and generates new meanings on the basis of the existing information. De Corte emphasises the importance of accumulation for constructivist learning. Both researchers introduce an element of intentionality and context-dependence. Learning is interaction in a social and cultural context. According to Jonassen, situations can also be simulated by establishing problem-centred learning environments. Jonassen's classification emphasises the importance of the group: knowledge is constructed by the learners together. Learning also includes reflection on the learning process and the joint solutions made during the process. De Corte also mentions co-operation and underlines that the social processes are emphasised in context-dependent learning and constructivism in general. He also includes in the definition of efficient learning the concept of self-directedness. Since learning is individual, seen from a metacognitive viewpoint it becomes more efficient when it can be controlled by the learner him/herself.

6.2 An Analysis of the Knowledge Strategy Models of the Media Education Centre

In the development of the Media Education Centre the focus is on the highest possible quality of research, teaching, and development. If the goal and direction of the action is shared by the members of the community, the work community, as a working environment, develops. However, the aim is rather extensive and it contains a range of very different sectors and projects, which may mean that the workers have different practices, yet strive for a common goal. Research, teaching, and development and their successful evaluation give rise to a co-operative work community which can also be seen as a learning organisation.

6.3 The Ideal Media Education Centre—Three Visions

In the following we present three models which emerged during the knowledge strategy work at the Media Education Centre during spring 1998. The first model, ‘Developing Work Community’ (Figure 4), presents a model of retrospective vision on how the staff at the Centre have seen the development and key aspects of their work community. The second model, ‘Success’ (Figure 5) models the elements which lead to an ideal Media Education Centre producing high-quality research and development. The third model, ‘Ideal Media Education Centre’ (Figure 6), depicts the visions of the staff members of the Media Education Centre as an ideal working environment.

6.3.1 Vision 1: Developing Work Community

During its two-year existence the Media Education Centre has found its place as part of the Department of Teacher Education and the scientific community of education. In a rapidly developing field of interest for the entire society there have been plenty of opportunities for participating in various projects and for reviewing co-operation opportunities with schools and enterprises interested in media education and information and communication technologies. There has also been co-operation with corresponding units at the University of Helsinki and other universities, both in Finland and abroad. At the moment we are approaching a situation where we can see what opportunities such actions have for supporting and promoting the research, development and teaching carried out at the Centre.

We have first experiences of initial and in-service education. The contents of various education programmes have become more clear and natural models of action have been found for their implementation. Publications, seminars, and research projects introduce aspects of an established scientific community to the operations of the Centre. It has been possible to increase the number of staff at the Centre, and we have established a work community where teamwork thinking has been initiated through various projects. The Media Education Centre as a young work community and media education as a young discipline have a number of characteristics in common. As the Media Education Centre finds its place as part of the Department of Teacher Education and the University, media education as a discipline seeks its own place among communication, pedagogy, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and cultural research (cf. Tella 1998, in this publication).

Figure 4. Developing Work Community.

6.3.2 Vision 2: Success

Figure 5. Success.

In the second vision the main goal of the Media Education Centre is success, which means the production of research, development, and teaching of the highest quality possible. The achievement of this goal is based on the construction of the work community and its operation around flexible teams of experts.

As the teams are formed, the first phase consists of a survey of the strengths of the members of the work community. Once the individual strengths, skills, and professional and research interests are known, it is possible to create for each task ‘the best possible’ team comprising specialists who have expertise in various fields. The formation and work of the teams should be open. This vision emphasises two aspects of openness. First, it is a question of psychological openness or the shared experience of the team members of being able, following jointly accepted directions, to genuinely decide on how they are to fulfil their task. On the other hand, openness can mean openness towards those outside the team, for instance, informing people on the work of the team, receiving feedback, and subjecting the work to evaluation within the work community and, if necessary, outside it. The key tool of high-quality research, teaching, and development is a consistent and methodical evaluation of the operations of the work community. Basic joint objectives are used to select the criteria and measurements for the evaluation of teaching and research. Evaluation must also be continuous. It is important to create methods for the efficient processing of information provided by the evaluation. Feedback systems are also needed for obtaining the relevant knowledge and using it to support the development of the work community. One way of establishing such a system is to invest in the development of a digital, network-based evaluation system.

No work community is capable of operating and developing only on the professional skills and knowledge of its own staff. Success requires national and international networking, collaboration with other units operating in a corresponding field. Networking is particularly important in a rapidly developing, interdisciplinary field such as media education. In practice it has not been too difficult to find potential partners for collaboration. However, the establishment of genuine, functioning and mutually satisfying relationship requires time, continuous contacts, and providing information on one's own actions, and, above all, flexibility and the ability to integrate different practices and operational cultures.

6.3.3 Vision 3: An Ideal Media Education Centre

The third vision outlines a process which could lead to the Media Education Centre’s development into an ideal work community. In our opinion the ideal is an unambiguous operational strategy, since as with the first two visions, the ideal is to achieve the highest possible quality of research, teaching, and development.

We want to develop our work community into a good working unit. A good working unit is characterised by the healthy self-awareness of the staff and a feeling that the individual skills, abilities, and expertise of each member of the community are given the best possible use.

The key characteristic of an ideal Media Education Centre is openness, which in this vision is connected with change and evaluation. Since our starting-point is the ideal we aspire to, change and development are a norm. Social skills are emphasised in an open, multimedia-based working environment, since interaction and discussion are the only ways of changing and developing the work. Openness includes a progressive approach and the feeling of being able to influence common issues. Information flow is efficient, focusing on important messages. Openness is supported by a technologically flexible and easily modifiable physical working environment, and above all by versatile, functional tools of knowledge-oriented work and communication. Technological support ensures that the everyday routines are performed smoothly.

Figure 6. An Ideal Media Education Centre.

An open work community equals a learning community which gives both the community and its members the possibility to make choices. The important questions are: Who in reality makes the decision? Who makes the choices? What could be done better? How can I support the thinking of my community and my colleagues? Does the community support my ideas? These questions are important because we can only reach the goals we have set by working together as a community where each person feels responsible for the achievement of the goals.

A progressive viewpoint and evaluation go together. The achievement of quality requires continuous assessment on all levels: a dynamic work community evaluates its actions in the direction of the goals and also understands the importance of outside evaluation for the development of its action. This is why it is capable of reformation, of creating a variety of methods and practices, and of reacting with speed to the educational needs of its members. Life-long learning has established itself in our thinking as an opportunity—seen from the outside, the Media Education Centre is the very image of a learning organisation.

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7. Conclusion: Key Aspects of the Knowledge Strategy of the Media Education Centre

The three visions described above aim to outline the opportunities available for establishing a unit’s own knowledge strategy. The establishment of a knowledge strategy is based on a reflection on values, for example, asking what kind of skills will be needed in the future, how these skills are to be developed, and how the development of the skills is evaluated. Based on a theoretical background, communalism and collaboration find a concrete expression in the know-how of the work community, but also in caring and sharing. The learning unit of the organisation is no longer an individual but a team and eventually the entire organisation. Such an approach to the establishment of a knowledge strategy also makes it the strategy of learning and know-how in the work community.

As many Finnish schools and universities are currently establishing corresponding knowledge strategies, we hope that these descriptions provide the reader with an opportunity for reflecting on his/her own thinking, basic values, and image of a future work community. Educational and research organisations obtain a model which they can use to develop new strategies based on the needs of the organisations themselves.

Next, we aim to present an overall picture of those aspects of the knowledge strategy of our work community which emerged on the basis of the concepts described in this article.

1) The central concept, work, is understood as a learning environment and situation. As noted by Sarala & Sarala (1997), "on-the-job learning refers to learning based on the worker's own experiences and the tradition of the organisation, the promotion of multiple skills through job rotation, exchange of tasks, and participation in research and experimental projects, with a focus on learning". For this reason it is important to consider how on-the-job learning can be ideally carried out.

2) The authors of the strategy must be aware of their own concept of learning. Our concept is based on the socio-constructivist view in which the strategy is based on the utilisation of interaction in research, teaching, and learning. Communalism is one of our central concepts.

3) Our main objective is a high quality of research, teaching, and development. These objectives require for each member of the organisation to continuously develop his/her own work and to learn new things.

4) Learning takes place by interaction in particular. This can be regarded from four viewpoints: co-operation, an open and flexible learning environment, networking, and shared expertise.

The key principles of co-operative learning are positive mutual dependence between learners, interactive communication, individual responsibility, emphasis on social skills, evaluation of one's own learning, and target-oriented working (e.g. Sahlberg & Leppilampi 1994; Vähäpassi 1998). From the point of view of the knowledge strategy of the Media Education Centre, co-operation is seen as a means of reinforcing target-oriented action in the community. Through co-operation, the staff aims at a clear awareness of the shared goals and objectives of its actions.

In accordance with the principles of co-operative learning, the learning community builds up its expertise in an open and flexible learning environment. Openness and flexibility are divided into several sectors, for example physical, didactical, psychological, and virtual openness (see e.g. Sariola 1997, 76; Sariola 1998, 34—35).

•  Physical openness refers to the flexible use of various spaces, the opportunity for versatile spatial solutions, and the mobility of various resources, information and communication equipment, and furniture.

•  Didactical openness refers to choices made in the working situations. Students, teachers, and researchers can make different choices concerning their own teaching and learning, which support the learning process. Making choices is closely connected with evaluation. Openness expresses itself as the selection and evaluation of the speed of work, objectives, contents, and evaluation methods.

•  Psychological openness refers to the feeling the members of the work community have of being genuinely able to influence the decisions and operations of the work community. They participate in the planning of various developmental and research projects as equals.

•  Virtual openness refers to the utilisation of a variety of applications of the information and communication technologies in learning situations. The key concept of virtual openness is the situation-based media selection where the staff attempt to analyse the nature of each medium and how the selected media support target-oriented working and learning. With respect to the know-how of the staff, the crucial issue is the simultaneous management of a range of media and communication channels, and also critical evaluation of which information is important to the learner.

The Media Education Centre aims to utilise networking and communication to support teaching and learning. Networking takes place both on a local and global level. Part of it is based on close and contact communication, and part on telematic communication. In this context telematic communication is interpreted as virtual networking in particular. The different forms of networking are seen as different levels of communication. Local networking is based on physical communication between small groups and takes the form of co-operation, an emphasis on communalism and teamwork. As for telematic networking, it is based on tele-team—communication where researchers, teachers, and students form a joint information network based on small groups. The third form of networking is the global networking between the Centre and society, where the Centre aspires to use its expertise on media education outside the Centre as part of various learning situations. Thus the Media Education Centre reinforces its interaction with the various functions and participators in society. Virtual networking is made possible in particular through the modern information and communication technologies.

In accordance with the idea of shared expertise (e.g. Tella 1994), each member of the Centre is regarded as an expert. Thus the Centre constitutes a close scientific community of learners, of experts. Helped by consultants, the staff find information in a variety of physical and virtual sources. Expertise is developed through versatile teaching and learning methods with a focus on an investigating and problem-centred teaching and learning process.

This article represents the views held by a number of writers on the strategic planning and discussion conducted within the Media Education Centre. It is not possible to discuss all the issues exhaustively. One of the aims of the article is to serve as an "interim account" for further ideation and planning. At the same time it reflects strategic knowledge as indicated by the title and contains initial ideas of the emergence of the knowledge of media education, as partially expressed by Figure 7.

Figure 7. The "Big Idea" and the emerging Knowledge of Media Education.

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References II

The following list consists of the documents—both printed and electronic—that were used during our discussions about the knowledge strategies in the spring of 1998. Some recent documents were added to the list in the summer of 1998.

Actions in the Information Society.[http://www.ispo.cec.be/actions.html] (21.2.1998)

Background Information on the Information Society. [http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/backg/] (21.2.1998)

Commission in Bid to Speed up Schools’ Espousal of the Information Society. 1997. [http://www.teipat.gr/index/stud_exchange/leonardo/planen.html] (21.2.1998) • Cf. Learning in the Information Society …

Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Charta for the Knowledge Age. 1994. [http://www.pff.org/pff/position.html] (21.2.1998)

Developing a Finnish Information Society: Decision in Principle. 1995. Helsinki: Council of State.

Europe at the Forefront of the Global Information Society: Rolling Action Plan. [http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/legreg/rollcomm.html] (21.2.1998)

Forum: Information Society. (Publications List) [http://www.ispo.cec.be/infoforum/pub.html] (21.2.1998)

High Level Group of Experts on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society. [http://www.ispo.cec.be/hleg/hleg.html] (21.2.1998)

Hyötyläinen, T. 1997. Tieto ja tiedonkäsitys digitaalisessa oppimisympäristössä. Kasvatus 5, 479—488.

Internet as Hyper-Liberalism. [http://web.inter.NL.net/users/Paul.Treanor/net.hyperliberal.html] (21.2.1998)

Kaivo-oja, J., Kuusi, O. & Koski, J. T. 1996. Sivistyksen tulevaisuusbarometri 1996. Elinikäinen oppiminen ja tietoyhteiskunta tulevaisuuden haasteina. (Ennakkoraportointia.)

Kansallinen elinikäisen oppimisen strategia. 1997. Komiteanmietintö. Luonnos 11.9.1997.[http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2/uudistukset.html] [http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2/uudistukset1_2.html]
[http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2/uudistukset5.html] [http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2/uudistukset2_4.html] [http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2henk12.html] [http://www.freenet.fi/eok/lu2/liite2.html]

Kiinnekohtia media-avaruudessa: Kulttuurinen luku- ja kirjoitustaito -asiantuntijaryhmän toimenpide-ehdotukset. 1996. Opetusministeriön työryhmien muistioita 2/1996.

Koulutuksen ja tutkimuksen tietostrategia.1995. Helsinki: Opetusministeriö.
[gopher://gopher.funet.fi/00/FUNET/tietostrategia/ tietostrategia.txt]

Kulttuurinen tietoyhteiskunta: Strategiset perusteet ja lähtökohdat opetusministeriön toimintaohjelmalle vuosiksi 1997—2000. 1996. Opetusministeriön työryhmien muistioita 11/1996. [http://www.minedu.fi/]

Learning in the Information Society: Action Plan for a European education initiative (1996—98). 1996. Bryssel: European Commission. [http://www.teipat.gr/index/stud_exchange/leonardo/planht.html] (21.2.1998) • Cf. Oppiminen tietoyhteiskunnassa …

Lilius, R. (toim.) 1997. Suomi tietoyhteiskunnaksi: Kansallisten linjausten arviointi. Helsinki: Sitra 159.

Meisalo, V. & Lavonen, J. 1995. Näytön edessä: Tieto- ja viestintätekniikka opettajankoulutuksessa. Tietoyhteiskunnan perustaidot kasvatusalalla. Helsingin yliopiston opettajankoulutuslaitos ja Vantaan täydennyskoulutuslaitos. Studia Paedagogica 9.

Opetusministeriön tietostrategioiden tilanne. 1997. Opetusministeriön työryhmien muistioita 26/1997.

Oppiminen tietoyhteiskunnassa: Koulutusta koskevan eurooppalaisen aloitteen toimintasuunnitelma (1996-1998) 1997. Euroopan komissio.[http://www.teipat.gr/index/stud_exchange/leonardo/planht.html] (21.2.1998) • Cf. Learning in the Information Society …

People and Society in Cyberspace.[http://www.pff.org/pff/ tsot-1.html] (21.2.1998)

PROMISE: Promoting the Information Society in Europe. [http://www.ispo.cec.be/promise/] (21.2.1998)

Reinhardt, A. 1995. New Ways to Learn.[http:://byte.com/ art/9503/sec7/art1.htm#paradigm]

Reilu ja Rohkea — vastuun ja osaamisen Suomi: Valtioneuvoston tulevaisuusselonteko eduskunnalle. Osa II. 1997.

Sinko, M. & Lehtinen, E. (toim.) 1998. Tieto- ja viestintätekniikka opetuksessa ja oppimisessa: Osaamisen haasteet ja tietotekniikan mahdollisuudet. Väliraportti. Tulevaisuusvaliokunnan teknologiajaosto. Teknologian arviointeja 2. Eduskunnan kanslian julkaisu 2/1998.

Statement towards the Information Society.[http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/backg/statemnt.html] (21.2.1998)

Tella, S. 1997. Societal Change and the Impact of an Information Society on the Economy and Education. In Tella, S. (ed.) Media in Today's Education. Proceedings of a Subject-Didactic Symposium in Helsinki on Feb. 14, 1997. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 178, 33-41.

Tella, S. 1997. Mediakasvatus — kasvatusta tietoyhteiskunnan kansalaiseksi. Teoksessa Naarala, M. (toim.) Oppituoli 1997.

Tella, S. (ed.) 1997. Media nykypäivän koulutuksessa. (Media in Today’s Education.) Proceedings of a Subject-Didactic Symposium in Helsinki on Feb. 14, 1997. Part 2. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 178.

Tella, S. 1997. Pääkirjoitus: Opettajankoulutuksessa kohti avointa oppimista? (Editorial: In Teacher Education Towards Open Learning?) In Tella, S. (ed.) Media nykypäivän koulutuksessa. (Media in Today’s Education.) Proceedings of a Subject-Didactic Symposium in Helsinki on Feb. 14, 1997. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 178, 1-5.

Tella, S. 1997. Verkostuva viestintä- ja tiedonhallintaympäristö opiskelun tukena. Teoksessa Lehtinen, E. (toim.) Verkkopedagogiikka. Helsinki: Edita.

The abc of the European Union: Citizenship.[http://europa. eu.int/abc-en.htm] (21.2.1998)

The Information Society: An International Journal 1998 Vol 14, No 2. (A special issue devoted to Virtual Societies)

The Information Strategies of the Ministry of Education and Their Implementation.[http://www.minedu.fi/eopm/strategi/alku.html] (17.2.1998)

The Union’s Policies: Information Society, telecommunications. [http://europa.eu.int/pol/infso/en/info.htm] (21.2.1998)

Tietoyhteiskunta ja kehitys: Euroopan unionin rooli. 1997. Komission tiedonanto neuvostolle, Euroopan parlamentille, talous- ja sosiaalikomitealle ja alueiden komitealle. Bryssel: Euroopan komissio.

Tulevaisuusvaliokunnan mietintö. 1997. Eduskunnan tulevaisuusvaliokunnan mietintö valtioneuvoston selonteosta. Osa I "Suomi ja Euroopan tulevaisuus". TuVM1 — VNS 3/1996 vp.

Valkoinen kirja: Opettaminen ja oppiminen — Kohti kognitiivista yhteiskuntaa. 1995. Bryssel: Euroopan komissio. • Cf. White Paper on Education.

UK National Inventory Project.[http://www.tagish.co.uk/ nip/] (21.2.1998)

Viestintäalan koulutuksen kehittämistarpeet 1997. Opetusministeriön työryhmien muistioita 5/1997.

White Paper on Education and Training: Teaching and Learning—Towards the Learning Society. 1995. Brussels: European Commission. • Cf. Valkoinen kirja …

White Paper on growth, competitiveness, and employment: The challenges and ways forward into the 21st century. 1993. [http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/backg/whitpaper/top.html] (21.2.1998)