Since a couple of years, the use of technologies in classroom has been more and more common place. People are getting used to see teachers using computers, Internet, Smart Boards and other types of devices to catch the interest of their students, but few think of cable television as an educational device!
Basically, including cable television in classrooms is something pretty easy, the only thing the schools or school boards have to do is to subscribe to a cable company such as Videotron or Bell in Quebec and install the cables or decoders in the classes and plug them to the existing of newly bought televisions. Not something really complicated! In addition, like mentioned in eric digests blog, many cable companies and television companies have made commercial-free television programming available to the schools and at real low prices or even free.
The advantages of incorporating live TV programs in the classrooms are numerous, the list goes from catching the attention of the most difficult or troubled students to giving extra activities or listening to the better ones including the opportunity to give fun reward activities to the students when they deserve it. All those advantages, listed on media room, can have major benefits on the classroom dynamic, can interest students to the content of the lessons and can also give good and actual supports to the teachers. With access to live information, actual programs and content-based documentaries, ESL teachers and all other teachers can make sure that their students feel connected to what they are learning. Cable TV can be used to give a concrete support to abstract subjects which can help students understand what the teacher is saying. For example, if a science teacher is talking about animals at their natural state, it is much more powerful to show a National Geographic documentary than just give them sheets that explain how animals behave in nature. Of course, this could also be possible with only a television and a DVD, but with cable television, the content shown to the students is more actual and can be directly related to the students’ lives and what they really enjoy watching.
In my opinion, equipping our classrooms with cable TV only has benefits. The teacher has a full control over the content, he can decide when it is adequate to listen to a certain program and what type of program to watch. He can also support his lesson by using any shows or any educational channels. Moreover, a teacher can also catch his students interest by asking them what are the shows or programs they like to watch and he can use those shows to reward the students. This way of working can, in a way, give the chance to the students to choose the content of their courses and it can motivate them to work well and avoid off-tasking, in order to have the right to watch their favorite TV program.
I remember when I was in my ESL classes when I was younger and the moments I enjoyed the most were the ones where we could watch movies or TV programs in English. If my teacher could have used cable television back at that time, she could have integrated the TV shows the weak students enjoyed and it would have been easier than having to rent them of find them on the Internet and doing so, my teacher could have reached a bigger percentage of students’ interests.
In summary, like stated in cic online, one company dedicated to educational broadcasting, cable television in classrooms can bring extra information and educational content to the teachers which could not have been possible in traditional classes and this is why I believe that it would be great to include this technology in our schools.