What happened to Educational Television?

What happened to Educational Television?

Born in 1978 I grew up watching various programs such as:

Sesame Street

Romper Room

The Friendly Giant

Mr. Dress Up

I remember watching these shows in my afternoons after Kindergarten. It was something that I used to always look forward to while my mother was cleaning the house for the afternoon. The music in these shows was catchy and vibrant. I would learn more about sounds of the alphabet, and sings songs like the Number Count song:

12345678910 11 12……….

Sesame Street still exists today for my own children to watch and it always brings back such fond memories from my childhood. For me this show was not only about learning, it always had a moral to the story for every episode and still does to this day.

Today my children 10 and 6 years of age have been watching the popular children’s channel called Treehouse. I mainly let my children watch this channel when I give them free time for TV. It’s usually before supper or after they have finished their homework for roughly an hour.

Treehouse (from what I thought) is an educational channel for children. Episodes that my children have seen are Dora the Explorer and my son’s favorite Henry and his bucket full of dinosaurs.

Programming has changed drastically since I was their age due to technology enhancements. For instance, my children can now also record their very own favorite programs via our PVR (Personal video recorder) where in my days the VRC was the only way to record if a video cassette was available. There is educational programming with Disney movies via Netflix. It seems today my own children can grasp anything at their hands via the internet and their tablet (when they have permission to do so).

In my days (1970’s-1980’s) most education knowledge was grasped from the teacher, the TV set and radio from our schools, homes and automobiles. At this time learning and education could be broadcasted to a wide audience where Broadcaster companies found ways to pull in viewers via educational programming. It also became a way for messages to be received via the government and news from around the world. It was also a way to sell various products via TV programming and commercials during programs. Eventually soon music came about through music videos and most TV programming for all ages began to have a moral ending in most programs for children.

Today the shows on Treehouse, they are pretty good though they are not as educational as the shows that were available years ago. It seems like there are some learning methods to most of them though do they teach our children to be creative like we were taught to be in the 70’s and 80’s? Is there still educational value in our children’s educational programming? Can our children truly make connections with the programs characters, morals and themes? Are these programs too fast paced for our children? Is educational TV gone and now more focused on technology and computer animations…less on Education and moral learning? What do you think EC&I 833 ?

Educational TV can be positive for a small amount of time. It should also never be replacing family time or a babysitter for learning. When using a TV or a projector in the classroom it is also important that the teacher not use it for a replacement for learning.

In my own opinion, Educational TV is not as educational as it once was. It is important to be vigilant on what our children are watching. Investigate each program that your child / student is watching. Does the program encourage learning and positive moral values? One rating system that I encourage other parents to use is the Common Sense website. This site allows parents to find which programming is best suited for their children as it lists the content value of each program that is out there.

What do you think EC &I 833? What happened to Educational programming? Is Educational Programming still out there today for our students and children?




7 thoughts on “What happened to Educational Television?

  1. Hey Krista, I agree totally that tv is not as educational as it used to be. It seems far more on the entertaining side and lacking educationally. Parent do need to be more vigilant on knowning what their kids are exposed to. Cartoons appear more vilant ad even cable televisions has pushed the limits where warnings are on before a show starts. I remember watching a soap opera in grade 9,”another world” and one of the actresses called another one a bitch. I was shocked and couldn’t believe this was said on tv. Now, worlds like bitch is common language on tv. Has our tolerance really got that low? Have we and kids been exposed to to much now that the internet has come into play?


  2. Awesome post Krista! I completely agree with you that TV can’t replace teaching, babysitting, or social connections. It is unfortunate when people think that is possible and use it negatively. I think that is where educational programming tends to get a bad rep; when it is used as a replacement when, truly, it is meant as an enhancement. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Can our children truly make connections with the programs characters, morals and themes?”

    I like this question in particular. My youngest is a big Toopie and Binou fan (if you can be a fan at the age of 2). Honestly, until I was preparing for this class, I didn’t even really think closely about the show itself. If I think about Sesame Street, I think of the years of character development of the main characters and the explicit educational pieces (the counting animations, shapes, etc.). I didn’t get why T&B was at all educational, and why it was at all appealing to my kids.

    One of the things that I do like about the show is that the teaching is peripherally done through themes such as imagination and friendship (which are both frequently addressed) and the songs that are rather catchy. What I didn’t really pay attention to is the somewhat “genderless” or non-stereotypical gender roles that are played throughout. I have discovered numerous posts across the Internet that discuss whether or not the characters are gay or are female (as they appear to be boys at first glance). Sometimes they dress up in dresses and lipstick, sometimes as pirates, etc. Of course, some people really take offence to this (I don’t even want to repeat some of what I read – arggh). But it’s progressive, it’s good, and it’s rare today in children’s media.

    I miss “old” educational media, but I get that there may be things I am missing about early childhood education and the role of new media. If anything, it really gets me to think deeply about the types of media that are best for children.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve made a really great point when stating that educational television should not be a replacement for learning. It can, in moderation, supplement a child’s understanding of the world, but we should not be using this to deliver content to a group of students sitting passively and watching the program.

    Liked by 1 person

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