Tapio Varis will present the book "Media Literacy and New Humanism" co- written with José Manuel Pérez Tornero in Lithuania

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In a conference on Technology and Civilizations in Global Education, Tapio Varis, professor emeritus of  Tampere University, professor with UNESCO and collaborator to the Communications and Education Research Group  of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) will present in Vilnius University (Lithuania) the book Media Literacy and New Humanism.

Varis wrote this book with José Manuel Pérez Tornero, who is academic of UAB and general secretary of Mentor.

Mr. Varis will make the presentation in a session about  Transformations of education policy: national, transnational and supranational discourse that will take place between 11 and 12 November. Tapio explained that his conference will focus on the role of ICT and communications in global education. “Our book shows that today media literacy is one of the major objectives of educational and communication policies. At the same time, media literacy is currently a crucial condition for the development of free, democratic societies”, Varis said.

The UNESCO study “Towards Knowledge Societies” (2005) revealed that there is a general agreement on the expression “knowledge societies”, Mr. Varis explained, “but not of the content of it”, he added. The book written with Pérez Tornero asks: “Are we endorsing the hegemony of the techno-scientific model in defining legitimate and productive knowledge? Should the term ‘Digital Age’ be replaced by multicultural world? How do we promote the spirit of knowledge sharing and caring and new humanism?”.

Mr. Varis said about the book: We understand civilisation as meaning a specific state of technical development which corresponds to a precise evolution in the manmade environment in which humanity operates, and which is supported by a given set of knowledge, codes, languages, skills and intellectual capacities related precisely to this manmade environment. These intellectual capacities are known in their broad sense by the name of culture, and we shall call the shift from one state of civilisation to another evolution in the civilising process”.

Dialogue between civilizations

For Mr. Varis “the challenge of the 21st century is the dialogue among the civilizations”. However, he said that currently there are three problems: “First we have to try to understand what is the learning process of becoming literate and what does communication competence and media skills mean in the information society. Second, we have to analyze the increasing neo-illiteracy. Third, we should discuss of what kind of skills and competences should people have in order to become active citizens now as compared to the earlier skills of writing and reading”.

In this context, he raised that there are challenges facing global information society. “In an intercultural world communication necessarily mediates different values and cultural behaviors. Great civilizations and cultures have very different patterns of communication and use different senses in a different way. In consequence, if a truly global information society is to be created, more attention should be given to the diversity of cultures and the co-existence of different civilizations and cultures. For the development of our own language it is necessary to rethink the whole educational system, from primary to higher, and understand the links to multiliteracies, and multimodality ”.

The book Media Literacy and New Humanism was published in 2010 by the Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) within the series monographs Theoretical Aspects of ICT in Education.