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Neil Postman Essay

I think Postman’s main argument is that Television is not meant for education solely which is reflected in various different academic studies in his article. That tv can have educational qualities while being entertaining but that it is not the means to end, edutainment is what Postman dubs Sesame street early on. As seen with the research he has duly noted is very conclusive. When we watch tv the average tv watcher only retains 20 percent of what they have watched. Just from reading that it made me realize how many hours I have wasted on Netflix binge watching certain tv shows just to find out what happens. To know I only have retained 20 percent of what I have watched, from each episode is sad. Another point Postman points are that once an hour has passed we retain even less. Which means if I was to go back and re-watch all of the tv shows I have binge watched on Netflix that I would find things I had totally forgotten and possibly forget them again later on after not watching them. Which to me seems like wasted time for entertainment. Even though at the time it doesn’t seem like a waste of time.

As Postman points out in the topic of “The Voyage Of The Mimi”, the government was willing to shell out massive amounts of moment. A few million actually to get a new program going that is using books as a supplemental visual aid along with video games. While the main attraction is the tv program. Visual aids are usual a snippet of a specially made tv program or movie. To think that books are supplemental visual aids are very sad. Postman also argues that even though he does not find Sesame Street non educational he is the unpopular opinion that “kids will only learn to love learning and school if school is like tv.” Education has taken many hits then and even today. With social media easily at our fingertips it is easy for us even to think that by watching videos we can learn, when really it takes much more than that. Books can be opened and reread over and over again at your own pace. Tv programs where education a paramount can be re-watched but it isn’t the same and cannot necessarily be slowed down to the pace we always need.

Another student pointed out in class their child has a v-tech tablet, which I agree with her, is useful and helps very much to young children. The classmate also pointed out how the time on it is monitored which is very important as well. An educational tablet is a fun and useful took for kids and I think can be a great learning tool, like Sesame Street. Except, I think that it is more educational, than say a tv program. It is entertaining but it is reminiscent of a children’s toy that helps kids to learn as they grow which has always been sold in the market place for years. Many parents are always looking out for the latest and greatest to help their young children learn as early as possibly before even entering school. “Thou Shalt Have No Prerequisites” a tongue in cheek commandment but very true as well shows that while a class may have prerequisites a tv show does that, showing that continuity and sequence does not matter for tv programming.

Integrating “Three Media”, or more commonly known as “multi media presentation”, is not new has always been used modestly to enhance learners education. Years ago the Office of Education supplied funds to WNET for a program titled “Watch Your Mouth”, which is a series of televised dramatizations of students having programs with the English language while having social issues. While the show was very good, there exists that solid fundamental evidence that the show in any way helped the learners to improve their use of English where in writing or speaking.

Which serves as further proof that the Education system was deeply flawed for believing that a tv series specially made for the classes would show any sort of improvement. Leading back to the point that while television is fun and can be educational it is best to leave the majority of tv watching outside of the classroom, except in specific cases where it does not take up too much of the valuable class time.

Can social media be used for the greater good in the classroom and to help political and environmental awareness while not taking away from the learning process if used in a high school social experiment? If so explain how?


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