Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Where Can I Find Educational TV?

What is educational TV and why as a teacher am I not utilizing it within my classroom?

Through reading a few blogs this week, I have come across the concept of what a "traditional" classroom model is suggested to be like. When I think of the "traditional" classroom, I envision the late 1800's through the early 1900's one room school house where the children (pupils) used their slate boards and leather bound books to do their rote memorization skills to learn the scientific curriculum.

Sask Encyclopedia One Room School House

While thinking about my classroom over the course of my young 8 year career so far, I see similarities and differences every year. Mostly it is based on the demographics and physical make up of my group of students. How I have taught has changed based on my willingness to try new things and incorporate more and more technology within my classes.

After last weeks class and the reading Postman's concept of how "Sesame Street undermines traditional schooling". My knee jerk reaction to this is.... OF COURSE IT DOES! The traditional classroom of sit, read, write, and learn arithmetic, is boring, unengaging, and only benefits and small percentage of specific learners. What is wrong with learning through various songs, games, and engaging repetitions?

I know from my expereince that I do not learn in the "traditional" environment. As Logan points out in his post:

Unless your students are part of a generation with higher cases of ADDneeding various forms of engagement to aid in learning (In this writer’s opinion, higher cases of ADD are strictly due to larger and more accurate amounts of testing).

These are our students. This is the current state of our classrooms. The traditional schooling that Postman is talking about is an outdated system that we as the next generation of teachers are battling to evolve out of. I am not saying that society is drastically different but, due to the awareness we have about how children learn and what the individual needs of students with certain diagnosis are that we have tools to aid in every child's learning so why aren't we using those tools, such as educational television.

Looking into the beginnings of educational TV and how Audrey Watters gave a synopsis of what TLC's history is, there is a broader understanding of what educational televisions purpose was for. In the 1960's when the idea of sharing information to a wider audience through the use of technology was in its infancy, the concept of teaching was still very regimented in the three R's I mentioned earlier. Curriculum had hardly changed from the 20's until then and thus the expectations had not changed that much. Now when we look at today's classroom the understanding of educational TV is drastically different.

So what does educational TV look like today? Programs such as Dora the Explorer,

or even one of my favorites Bill Nye the Science Guy

What is the purpose of these shows?  I find that through entertainment you receive engagement, within that you have repetition which lends it self to memory, and finally with engagement, and memory you are symbiotically learning.  

Now I am not saying that your standard classroom should utilize educational TV on a daily basis, but in conjunction with positive teaching techniques, utilizing an interesting, and engaging educational TV show can be very beneficial in today's classroom.