Towards more systematic media literacy, ICT and programming competence: The New Literacies development programme in Finland

Several studies have demonstrated that there are great differences among children and young people in terms of their digital skills. The objective of the ongoing New Literacies development programme in Finland is to strengthen the media literacy, information and communication technology (ICT) and programming competence of children and young people in early childhood education and care (ECEC), pre-primary and basic education. Saara Salomaa, Senior Adviser at the National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI), provides an overview of its aims.

Date 2021-09-30 Author Finnish Safer Internet Centre Section , awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, teachers, educators and professionals

Descriptions of the targeted competence have been defined in the development programme to promote an equal level of education in digital skills for children and young people across Finland. The objective is to provide a more consistent picture of what is good pedagogical practice in ECEC and pre-primary education, and what pupils should be able to do at the end of each grade. 

The descriptions were based on the contents of the national core curricula for ECEC, pre-primary and basic education. Teachers are not bound by these descriptions, but rather the purpose of the descriptions is to support the work of teachers, and they can also be used as tools in developing local curricula. 

The New Literacies development programme is a part of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture’s more comprehensive Right to Learn development programme (2020–2022). Funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture will be used to realise the development programmes. Two state agencies are responsible for the New Literacies development programme: The National Audiovisual Institute is responsible for the media literacy and programming competence modules, while the Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for the ICT competence module.

The agencies are not alone in the project: expert groups invited to the project play a key role in its preparation and implementation. Ministry funding is also being used by dozens of municipalities throughout Finland to pilot the implementation of the descriptions into education practices during 2021–2022. The development programme will reach experts and education providers at the local level, while also actively involving children and young people.

The New Literacies development programme works in close co-operation with the Finnish Safer Internet Centre. For instance, the participants of Media Literacy Week and Safer Internet Day 2022 will have open access to several support materials of the development programme free of charge, both for teaching and teachers’ voluntary in-service training.

You can find a short introductory video on the programme below:

Additionally, learn about the English descriptions of media literacy, ICT competence and programming competence.

Find out more about the work of the Finnish Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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