Commentary

Uniting Media and Education

With the onset of the internet, the opportunities for media to work with the public educational system have expanded exponentially. In many ways media agencies and teachers alike have grabbed the opportunity.

I personally try to use internet resources to try and improve my teaching. When student teaching a psychology class I used audio clips of songs containing backtracking to illustrate ways in which subliminal messages are used. In history, I used a variety of websites to access primary documents to add depth to the textbook information. I have also tried to take advantage of the availability of video. For example, I used a video on Jefferson’s presidency to add visuals to my lecture and a clip on brain development to help students understand neurons.

Technology has put a variety of resources to choose from at our finger tips. However, because of the variance in curriculum, most resources have to be reformatted and some become obsolete. In this dilemma I see possibility. A collaboration of media outlets and textbook companies could result in online activities which make sense when applied to lessons based on textbooks, video clips which fit seamlessly with the books’ text, and a variety of other resources.

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Additionally, I think it seems plausible, considering the narrative format of a U.S. History class, for a media outlet to work with schools and air programming which adds to the students’ class work. It could work like this: A great many students watch the History Channel but they get a jumbled history from it with no real context. They may see a show about the Great Depression and then a documentary about the Mayan culture. If stations could designate their programming to line up with the point in the year when most teachers are teaching a certain topic then perhaps teachers could begin to capitalize on students’ home habits as well as the time they have with them at school.

While I haven't fully explored these thoughts here, my basic premise is that a development in the relationship between public education and mass media can only benefit both parties and warrants further attention.

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