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Educational Television

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 4 months ago



During the 1950’s a new form of entertainment flooded the American entertainment mainstream—television. While television has been an influential aspect of daily life in American society for all age groups, children have been subject to direct and age-specific programming that has evolved into a lucrative faction of television programming as a whole. As more programs entered the television lineup, the delicate tapestry of the constructed ideal of childhood began to wither away and be replaced by a new construct, one that parallels more with the young technology generation of today and less with the construct of childhood in the early twentieth century. Children today are immersed into a television centered society, which both worries parents and makes learning easier and more engaging. Television, when introduced into children's lives in moderation can be a powerful learning tool. Overall, the past four decades have experienced revolutionary new educational ideals that can be expressed through the use of television media in the home and classroom in order to engage, cultivate, and entertain young minds.


The Philosophy of education influences how material presented within educational programs is best utilized. Within the studies of this material, the purposes and processes of education are explored both institutionally and personally. There are five important educational philosophies: progressivism, essentialism, perennialism, existentialism, and behaviorism (Shaw). In America, educational ideals are most directly related to the essentialist view. This view suggests that a “back to the basics” approach should be used to effectively teach moral values and intellectual knowledge (Essentialism). Teaching model citizenship and character traits become important tools. Math, science, history, foreign language, and English subjects are stressed (Essentialism). Once a student becomes proficient in their current educational level, those students move up on the educational ladder (Shaw). Essentialism is also applicable in the age of technology in education today, where information is available on a mass scale at the touch of a button (Essentialism).

First of all, carefully constructed and age-specific television shows may be beneficial to the learning aptitude of children and educationally powerful. Children respond positively to engaging material including humor, mysteries, and games. They also respond to direct and concise lessons and appropriate and clear-cut vocabulary. Despite common criticisms about television as a waste of time for young people and a negative influence overall, television can be an unbelievably efficient teaching tool that may be more beneficial to children than detrimental to their lifestyles (Fisch). Two older television shows provide a fantastic base for educational television for younger children and have set the standard for creating shows that “work.” Material today draws from the effectiveness of past successes, furthering the idea that some of the most effective educational tools can come from entertaining educational television shows.

Since the introduction of children’s programming predominately in the 1960’s, the programs themselves have changed technologically with the times. Sesame Street is a prime example of a children’s television show that has seen its audience through over thirty-six seasons, and remains as strong as ever today. Sesame Street premiered on November 10, 1969 on the National Education Television Network, and made it to the Public Broadcasting Service a year later. Approximately seventy-five million Americans have watched Sesame Street as children, and no other series has matched the show’s level of world-wide success and acclaim. The show teaches young children of preschool age fundamentals of reading through word and letter recognition, mathematics through addition and subtraction, geometric basics by presenting shapes, as well as moral values and life skills. Children become involved in the learning process as they actively participate in activities taught by puppets and live actors and become better prepared for primary schooling (Fisch). Animation also plays a role in the effectiveness of the show. A study based on the first two seasons of the show in 1970 found that three to five year-olds that viewed Sesame Street showed “greater growth in an assortment of academic skills related to the alphabet, numbers, body parts, shapes, relational terms, and sorting and classification” (Fisch).

Another unique show that appeared in the 1970’s was Schoolhouse Rock. Upon its debut in 1973, the three-minute lessons on grammar, science, math, and civics soon grasped the attention of a wide fan base (Schoolhouse). The show ended in 1985, but returned again briefly in 1994 (Saturday). Schoolhouse rock took a unique approach to education that became virtually intoxicating with creative jingles such as “Conjunction Junction” and I’m Just a Bill.” Tom Yohe was a central creator for the show and comments that “a lot of people claim to have really learned something. And there's the recognition. You say to someone, 'Conjunction junction,' they say, 'What's your function?' That's purely a rote cultural thing, but I think it made learning very palatable. (Saturday)” As an older show, the animations in Schoolhouse Rock are simple and fun. The simplicity gives the show credibility and increases the level of engagement with the words, and not so much on the visual aspects. This show is a specific example of Saturday morning educational programming originally aimed towards children at home. Teachers soon caught on to the effectiveness of the lessons and began to use them in the classroom as visual teaching aids. It’s one thing to read about how a bill becomes a law, it’s another to memorize an infectious jingle that will stick in the mind for years.










Evolution of Children’s Educational Television


I. Introduction – History of Educational Television

II. Issue #1 – Has education television become more engaging and entertaining? Jennifer

III. Issue #2 – How the changing ideas of childhood have influenced educational television and vice versa.Crystal

IV. Issue #3 – Educational television in schools and home.Melissa

V. Issue #4 – How skills taught through educational television have changed Alejandra

a.i.e. communication, social, reading, etc.

VI. Conclusion

Alejandra: here are my bibliographies, Jen


Schoolhouse Rock! 13 Nov. 2006. Wikipedia. 13 Nov. 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schoolhouse_Rock%21>


Schoolhouse Rock! Internet Movie Database. 13 November 2006.



Staff Reports on Children's Educational Television. 18 Jan. 2001. Federal Communications Commissions. 13 November 2006. http://www.fcc.gov/mb/policy/cetv.html


Children's Educational Television. 23 September 2006. Federal Communications Commissions. 13 November 2006. http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/childtv.html


Cable Resources for Learning. 13 November 2006. Cable in the Classroom.



Fisch, Shalom M. Children's Learning from Television. 18 October 2005. 13 November 2006. http://www.br-online.de/jugend/izi/english/publication/televizion/18_2005_E/fisch.pdf


Essentialism. http://www.edst.purdue.edu/georgeoff/phil_am_ed/ESSENTIALISM.html


Shaw, Larry J. Five Educational Philosophies. 18 November 2006.



Melissa's Research


The Electric Company


Kozma, Richard B. “Learning With Media” Review of Educational Research Vol.61 No.4 (1991) : 179-211. JSTOR. University of Michigan < http://www.jstor.org/view/00346543/ap040286/04a00030/0>


Fisch, Shalom M. “What’s so “new” about “new media?”: Comparing effective features of children’s educational software, television, and magazines” Proceeding of the 2004 conference on Interaction design and children: building a community (2004): 105-111. PORTAL. Maryland < http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1017847&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=3691885&CFTOKEN=57568839&ret=1#Fulltext >


Palmer, Edward L. Television & America’s Children: A Crisis of Neglect. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988


Buckingham, David. “Teletubbies and the Educational Imperative.” Small Screens: Television for Children. Ed. David Buckingham. New York, NY: Leicester University Press, 2002. 38-60


LeBaron, John. "The New Television and the Open Classroom" The Elementary School Journal Vol. 74 No.5 (1974) : 266-273. JSTOR. University of Chicago <http://www.jstor.org/view/00135984/ap030523/03a00030/0?currentResult=00135984%2bap030523%2b03a00030%2b0%2cFF01&searchUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jstor.org%2Fsearch%2FBasicResults%3Fhp%3D25%26si%3D1%26Query%3Dthe%2Bnew%2Btelevision%2Band%2Bthe%2Bopen%2Bclassroom>


Crystal's Research


**I may not use all of these, but here they are. :)


Kline, Stephen. “The Making of Children’s Culture.” Out of the Garden: Toys and Children’s Culture in the Age of TV Marketing. Verso: 1993. p. 44-61.



“Children’s Educational Television.” Federal Communications Commission. 13 November 2006




“Children and Television.” The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 13 November 2006




“Educational TV May Boost Intellectual Development.” Center for Media Literacy. 13 November 2006




Wartella, Ellen. “Electronic Childhood.” The University of Texas at Austin. 13 November 2006




Farhi, Paul. “Flunking the Ratings Test: CBS Dumps ‘Educational’ Children’s Shows.” Geocities/Washington Post. 13 November 2006





Teacher outfits, power point/5 min presentation (clips) emailed to Alejandra on Wed. the 22nd, 2 questions (email to mattson6@ufl.edu), candy, copies of syllabus/lyrics, nametags, pointer/laser, email about when we're going to be back


Meet at Library West Sunday the 26th @ ???????


Melissa-- I'm leaving at 3:00 pm on sunday so assuming there's not much traffic I should be ablr to get to library west at 9:00 pm


Jen-- Me too, 9 sounds good.


Crystal -- sounds good! see you then.


Schoolhouse Rock debuted in 1973 and features three-minute lessons on grammar, science, math, and civics. Compared to modern cartoons, Schoolhouse Rock appears very outdated with basic animations and only a handful of colors. Even today, however, this show still holds strong and remains popular for a wide range of ages. While the superior graphics and animation of today may far surpass those in Schoolhouse Rock, the show’s infectious jingles are among the most engaging pieces ever written. It’s one thing to read about how a bill becomes a law, it’s another to memorize a catchy tune that will stick in the mind for years.

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