Challenging Traditional School: Sesame Street and the Impact of AV Technologies

Audio Visual Technologies have come a loooooong way over the past century and beyond. Upon completion of our presentation, Graeme and I found that, although convoluted, the history of AV has continued to evolve exponentially in the possibilities it provides students and teachers in schools. The idea of the “traditional school” is constantly changing as new technologies create new ways for students to learn in a more efficient and engaging way.

Neil Postman’s quote, “We now know that Sesame Street encourages children to love school only if school is like ‘Sesame Street,'” raises thought-provoking questions about the influence of educational media on traditional schooling. In this blog post, we will unpack the implications of this quote, exploring how it extends to the broader effects of audiovisual (AV) technologies in schools, from early AV tools to the current smartphone culture. We will also consider the grander implications of various AV technologies and how they reshape the format and nature of education.

Sesame Street, from 1969 to present times, has centered around engaging content and entertainment, creating an expectation among children that school should be as enjoyable and entertaining as the show. I do remember watching Sesame Street as a child. However, I am not entirely sure it changed my perception of what school should look like. Traditional schooling, with its structured lessons and conventional methods, may then appear dull and unappealing in comparison. This raises questions about the compatibility between innovative, media-rich educational approaches and traditional classroom settings. It is fair to think that in today’s world, the expectations would be to incorporate as much AV technology in classrooms as possible to keep up with our growing technological world. Considering how many technologies I need to know how to use in my everyday life, I do believe it is quite important for students to learn these skills and be able to communicate in ways that represent our future workforce.

As mentioned in this week’s reading, AV technologies have continuously evolved, bringing diverse educational content into classrooms. The increasing integration of technology, however, challenges the conventional classroom model. Students exposed to dynamic, interactive, and personalized learning experiences through AV technologies may find traditional methods less engaging. AV technologies have many potentials to improve schooling by altering the dynamics of teacher-student interactions, content delivery, and student engagement. It was helpful to jump into the breakout sessions during the presentation to hear what teachers were doing in their classrooms around AV tech. It was even more interesting to hear how AV has become, for lack of a better term, boring to many students as most of them are digital natives who have not been a part of a traditional classroom.

In more recent years, there has been a push towards BYOD and the integration of smartphones in classrooms. These devices offer unprecedented access to information and educational resources, but we all know they also pose challenges in terms of distractions, unequal access, and potential misuse. Although we did not dive into this realm in the presentation, I expect this to be a hot topic of serious debate in later weeks. STAY TUNED!

As AV technologies continue to evolve and permeate educational spaces, the relationship between innovative media-rich content and traditional schooling demands careful consideration. The tension highlighted by Postman’s quote prompts us to reflect on how the integration of AV technologies, from early tools to current smartphone culture, shapes the format of schooling. By critically examining the broader implications of these technologies, educators and policymakers can make informed decisions to ensure a balanced and effective learning environment that prepares students for the challenges of the future.

1 thought on “Challenging Traditional School: Sesame Street and the Impact of AV Technologies”

  1. Hi Micheal,
    As an educator deeply engaged in leveraging technology for enhanced learning experiences, I wholeheartedly resonate with the pivotal role productivity suites play in bridging educational gaps. Your insightful analysis adeptly highlights both the opportunities and challenges inherent in their integration. It’s inspiring to see how these suites facilitate collaboration, foster digital literacy, and equip students with essential 21st-century skills. However, your acknowledgment of persisting challenges, especially regarding accessibility and equity, underscores the ongoing imperative for inclusivity and innovation in educational practices. Your expertise and dedication in navigating these complexities are truly commendable.

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