Television and Other Broadcast Media


What are Television and Other Broadcast Media?

old_radio.gifGuglielmo Marconi was dubbed the inventor of the radio however, some claim it was actually Nikola Tesla. Regardless of who invented it, almost from its inception, radio has been used in education. Children had the opportunity to listen to speeches, hear children's programming, listen to stories and news from around the world on the radio live.

Today, radio still has its uses. Children who might not have had an education otherwise are listening to teachers form around the world and learning math, science, and so much more. One such program is called RISE. Abdulla M. Abdulla of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT) says, “The RISE (Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education) project offers young Zanzibaris another avenue for learning, especially in the areas where we do not have facilities for preschools. This will help the MOEVT to implement its new policy of including preschoolers in the basic education for all.”

1922_July_Science-Invention.JPG Unlike other creations, television has no one inventor. This technology was created over time and improved upon by many different people. However, television is one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century. Television is now very affordable making it accessable to most people. Studies show that the average American household watches 7 hours of TV per day.

Television has been used widely as an educational tool since the 1950s.

Other Tools:

  • Cable/ Satellite
  • Movies/ Videos
  • Recorded Audio/ CDs/ Tapes

How have radio and TV broadcasting been used in education?

There are three general approaches to the use of radio and TV broadcasting in education:
  1. direct class teaching, where broadcast programming substitutes for teachers on a temporary basis;
  2. school broadcasting, where broadcast programming provides complementary teaching and learning resources not otherwise available
  3. general educational programming over community, national and international stations which provide general and informal educational opportunities

multichannellearningtopic.jpg The most notable and best documented example of the direct class teaching approach is Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI).
They are made up of pre-made 20-30 minute exercises and direct teaching in the classroom daily. Lessons focus on core objectives which target specific learning goals in areas such as math, language, science. They are intended to act as a guide to poorly trained teachers in under-resourced schools and to help supplement learning.

IRI projects have been implemented in Latin America and Africa. In Asia, IRI was first implemented in Thailand in 1980; Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal rolled out their own IRI projects in the 1990s. What differentiates IRI from most other distance education programs is that its primary objective is to raise the quality of learning - and not merely to expand educational access - and it has had much success in both formal and non-formal settings.

Learning Theories that Guide the Use of Television and Other Broadcast Media

The Benefits of Using Television and Other Broadcast Media

Px04.jpg TV and broadcast media add another interesting dimention to your lessons and can possibly capture a the interest of your students a little more than text book lessons.

News programs, documentary programs, quiz shows, educational cartoons, etc. are only a few types of program available to attract a wide variety of learners with a variety of abilities. "In a sense, any radio or TV programming with informational and educational value can be considered under this type. Some notable examples that have a global reach are the United States-based television show Sesame Street, the all-information television channels National Geographic and Discovery, and the radio programme Voice of America.The Farm Radio Forum, which began in Canada in the 1940s and which has since served as a model for radio discussion programs worldwide, is another example of non-formal educational programming." (reword/ summarize)

Furthermore, TV and radio can give children who would otherwise not have access to education. Children in rural Asia, South America, etc. can have video and radio linked to them. These broadcasts provide them with a level of instruction they would never have had otherwise.

The Challenges of Using Television and Other Broadcast Media

It is important to keep in mind the demographic of your students: not everyone will have cable TV and some might not even have televisions or radios. An easy way to modify for this, for example, would be to show any cable programming in the classroom. You could also inform the students ahead of a project that if they are unable to access a TV or radio in their own time, to see you about completing an alternate project. As alluded to in the "Special Guidance.." section, it is very important to encourage students to think critically regarding any broadcast media being employed in the classroom. Too often students and adults alike accept what they see or here through the media as being absolute truth, failing to internalize that the messages they are receiving are being created and managed by individuals and companies with personal and private agendas, and who are certainly capable of making mistakes.


Special Guidance for Using Television and Other Broadcast Media

It is important to be sure that the program you plan on using contains accurate information. Even if the program in question comes from a typically reliable channel source, this does not always guarantee 100% accuracy. This does not mean that the radio broadcast or tv program you may like ot use is useless unless 100% accurate. Just be aware of possible fact discrepancies and be sure to point them out to students. (reword) Whenever possible, use first source material.

Additional ideas:
  • Preview the programs first to see whether and how they'll work with your lesson's objectives.
  • Practice with your equipment and make sure you've rewound the tape. Fumbling with equipment is no way to spark student interest.
  • Use the board or overhead projector to write out a few questions relating to the program. Go over the questions before running the tape so students will know what to look for.
  • When using tv/ video: don't turn off the lights! Keeping the lights on will remind students that this is not a passive viewing experience.
  • Don't hesitate to use the pause button. Stopping the program to check student comprehension will keep students on their toes. This will also provide an opportunity for students to ask questions.
  • Consider a second viewing/ listening--especially for younger students. This gives students a chance to think more clearly about the program.
  • Allow students to discuss in small groups what they've seen/ heard. You may also suggest that they summarize, illustrate, and write down their thoughts.

Research on Television and Other Broadcast Media

Some researchers believe that using TV as a tool for learning, especially for History courses, actually damages the students skill base. They claim that watching lessons on TV does not motivate students to read books, thus reducing literacy and a deeper understanding of their lessons.

classroom_470x352.jpg Others would point to the value of using radio or tv in an educational setting. Extensive research around the world has shown that many Interactive Radio Instruction projects have had a positive impact on learning outcomes and on educational equity. And with its economies of scale, it has proven to be a cost-effective strategy relative to other interventions.

For more information on IRI and relevant research, please click here.

TV News for use in the ESL classroom.

Television and Other Broadcast Media Lesson Ideas

History lesson/ extra credit:
Watch this week's Frontline on PBS -or- go to Frontline's website and pick a program there you can watch on a computer. Please write a brief summary of the episode. Please be sure to name the episode you are summarizing and the day it aired.
Science/ Ethics:
Listen to this report from NPR about "Crow Cam." Be prepared to discuss your feelings and the pros and cons of Crow Cam.

Television and Other Broadcast Media Links

International Education System
PBS/ ETV in the classroom.
Cable in the Classroom.
OnTV Discovery School.
CourtTV- Forensics in the classroom.

NPR- National Public Radio
ABC radio
The History Channel
The Discovery Channel
PBS for Teachers
Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty