At an educational conference I’m attending, two strands keep coming up: Students at all levels don't know how to read, compute, communicate or think, and the media are having a negative impact on these same students.
Well, at the risk of sounding old-fashioned or corny, I would like to propose we use the media to provide a remedy for all of these educational deficiencies.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “We’ve tried that, and it didn’t work.”
And indeed it didn’t.
However, the reason using media in education didn’t solve problems was we were relying on the technology itself, rather than relying on the content.
We don’t so much need educational media as we need media used in education.
Look at something as simple and old-fashioned as the newspaper.
There are reading lessons, math lessons, computational lessons, and critical thinking lessons that are probably all on just the front page.
Or look at something as unorthodox as the jacket on a CD or DVD.
Whether some teachers want to admit it or not, there are valuable lessons to be learned from something as simple as reading a label.
If you are concerned about logic, reasoning and critical thinking skills, try looking at a few advertisements.
Even better, look at various comments being made on online news articles about some of the critical issues facing our country.
Math is there too.
News stories about the city budget, cost accounting, death tolls and population increases all lend themselves to some pretty sophisticated mathematics.
The sciences are there.
Look at any of the popular news magazines, and they contain a wealth of current, up-to-date scientific information.
At a time when school science books are out of date almost as soon as they hit the classroom, the modern media provide a way to instantly update discussions of all of the sciences.
We hear a lot about how the media are leading to the downfall of morals, the work ethic and education itself.
Well then, educators and parents should turn all that content around and start using it for something constructive.
The material is right there, like ripe fruit on a tree.
It is time someone picked it off and started using it.