Television today is being used as one means by which educational knowledge is passed on by teachers to students. This method was adopted as early as in the 1960s with such programs as Sesame Street being introduced in 1969. The idea behind the use of televisions as a means to educate is because it is connected with the entertainment aspect. This is especially so for small children in their primary grades whose intuition leads them to take television as an entertainment tool. The idea was embraced by children, parents, and educators. Children understood this as entertainment just like any other, parents saw this idea as a relief to them from teaching their children how to read, especially for the pre-school children. Educators approved the use of television since it promised more efficiency and this is what educators are after. The Sesame Street, for instance, appeared to have come to solve a problem of teaching the American children how to read, as well as encouraging them to love school. Other programs have been fronted and used in all levels of education, even in colleges. The extent to which television is being used for education leads to the question of how much television has changed the education of today, which this essay aims to explore.
The original purpose of the television is to entertain. This is the notion that children grow up into and, therefore, expect to be entertained by watching the television. The different programs have a representation for all the ages from children to adults. Televisions use visuals and sound to capture the attention of the viewers. In essence, every program being shown on a television set can be considered as entertainment in one way or another. This is to say that even the educational programs have to be produced in a televisual manner such that the idea of entertainment is not entirely lost and therefore, cause a shift in the focus of the student. A good example is The Voyage of the Mimi, a designed project which was prepared with the aim of helping students study the behavior of humpback whales. The project uses lavishly illustrated books which students can scan and computer games which they can play. The project incorporates a lot of dramatizations, including shipwrecks and adventures, but still carrying on the academic themes behind its inception. At the end of the project, students have learned navigational and map-reading skills, as well as being entertained. It is, therefore, in order to conclude that televisions turn everything being aired into entertainment.
The impact of television on education cannot be underestimated, especially in this era of technology. The adoption of television for education purposes has had impacts, positive and negative, on the traditional idea of schooling. The traditional classroom is being kicked out of existence and being replaced by television teaching programs. One of the positive impacts this change has had is improving the interest for learning for students. Since the educational programs are entertaining in nature, learners, especially small children and teenagers who have not yet grasped the importance of school are lured into liking school. Secondly, this setting increases learning. According to Ms. Richards, evidence shows that dramatic presentation of information increases learning, which can be done better by a television in comparison with other medium. Although this claim has been criticized, it is true to the extent that it is easier to remember a dramatic event that one saw in a television setting than one that was read in print.
On the other hand, television adoption as an educational tool has its share of negative impacts. One, the traditional idea of schooling has been undermined. A classroom is traditionally viewed as a place for social interactions among students and with their teachers. With the use of televisions, it becomes a private setting with the student glaring at the television with zero interactions. Classrooms offer room for students to ask questions and seek clarifications but this is impossible with a television. Schools have the mandate of language development from the bottom to the top levels which is impossible with televisions since they demand attention to images being portrayed. Learning on observation of rules and general discipline acquired in school is undermined by the television setting since it demands no rules or observations of discipline for the learner. These negative impacts pose a challenge on the advantages of television education and only if they are monitored will this setting attain the efficiency attached to it.
The educational curriculum has a variety of entertainment which aids in making the process exciting. One form of entertainment is in physical education. Students engage in different fun activities such as skipping, games, and artistic activities. Talent shows also offer learners the opportunity to show-case their abilities as well as get entertained. Extra-curriculum activities such as drama and music festivals entertain both the performers and the audience. These are some of the wide range of entertainment available within the education sector.
In summary, the use of television in education is an alternative option which is on its way in proving its efficiency over print medium.
Ross, S. M. (2009). Postman, media ecology, and education: From Teaching as a Subversive Activity through Amusing Ourselves to Death to Technopoly. The Review of Communication, 9(2), 146-156.
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