Reading the geographical content of media images as part of young people's geo-media skills


As a new set of skills, geo-media tools and resources are being introduced in the Finnish comprehensive school curriculum, although an explicit definition of ‘geo-media’ is not given. In the Finnish upper secondary school curriculum, geo-media is described with one sentence. In this article, the concept of geo-media is approached with online questionnaires introduced to Finnish and international experts on geography education and geo-media (n=6) and Finnish geography teachers (n=22). Both groups tend to perceive geo-media as digital sources used in geography education. Yet, teachers think that geo-media will not change their teaching practices. In the literature, geo- media refer to all media that carry georeferenced information. Therefore, this paper introduces three visions of how geo-media can be understood as a broader concept; that is, geographical media literacy skills. The first example is (1) a photograph of ‘Reverend Billy’ with which the value of geolocative information is studied with the semiotic procedure of a ‘commutation test.’ The second example is (2) an advertisement by Diesel, in which geographical stereotypes are questioned with a semiotic process of the ‘transfer of meanings.’ The third example, (3) a Finnish cartoon strip ‘Viivi & Wagner,’ highlights the role of global events when reading images from a geographical perspective. Although location plays a crucial role in all three of the examples, the experts and the teachers did not pay that much attention to the question of ‘where.’ In consequence, young people need to be competent in interpreting and evaluating the geographical content of visual re-presentations before producing geo-media presentations of their own.Peer reviewe

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Helsingin yliopiston digitaalinen arkisto

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This paper was published in Helsingin yliopiston digitaalinen arkisto.

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