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Background for the conference

Media Competence is an expression of great importance in the year 2005. Yes, it has been it before, too, but never as important as today. Why?

First, we live in a more medialized society every day. Besides the traditional media – tv, radio, newspapers – many of us use internet, mobile phone and other electronic devices on a daily basis. Also the time we spend using communication and information technology increases year by years. It is partly because of the usage of the traditional media but also because of the fact that more and more things are getting mediated. The fact is that the people in the western world spend hardly any moment without media. Media Competence is needed to cope with this complex situation.

Second, the paradox of the information society which is built in the point one: In the globalized world created with the help of new information technology and new forms of media, the gab between haves and have-nots in terms of information access has increased. Media Competence is needed to overcome this problem.

Third, the speed of change in our world is breathtaking. E.g. the rapid growth of Internet is stirring many of many fears. Parents worry that their children might be exposed to hard-core pornography and accosted bu pedophiles. Also of concern is who will have access to information in the future. Media Competence helps getting control of the changes.

The truth is that societies have always been affected and transformed by new forms of media. Whether the outcome is seen as good or bad depends, to a great extent, on the viewer´s perspective. One way of creating a fruitful perspective is to create genuine dialogue between different groups and cultures.

One step on this dialogue road is the international conference “Media Skills and Competence” that will be held in Tampere University, Finland, on May 26-27, 2005.

The conference will give an insight in media competence from an academic and practical perspective. Media competence will be discussed broadly with international experts : the current issues of state of art in media literacy, digital competence, educational philosophies, on-line communities, news, advertising, games and other issues related to the topic. The discussions will also include a debate on the international PISA research on traditional literacies and the challenge of media literacy to schools. The role of media literacy is also analysed as a strategic goal for European learning initiatives. The Tampere UNESCO Chair in Global e-learning with applications to multiple domains is being used to circulate the information world-wide.

The central purpose of the conference is to promote the launching of the European Centre for Media Literacy by making known the findings and orientation of this EU-project.

The keynote speakers are Dr. Liss Jeffrey, Director of McLuhan Global Research Network, and Dr. Paul Lefrere, Executive Director E-learning in Microsoft.