ECT 300 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: What are some of the characteristics of radio broadcasts in the teaching process?



6a iv). Expound on some of the teaching qualities of  radio broadcasts

6.6 Teaching qualities of radio

Educational broadcasts have both strengths and weaknesses. The classroom teacher should bear in mind these strengths and weaknesses as s/he plans for instruction and especially in selecting the media to support the teaching. Sometimes the teacher might have to use complementary media to make up for the weaknesses of the radio or television. Live transmissions of radio programs have the following advantages/qualities:-

i). Inexpensive

Both the radio and the television have the advantage of stretching scarce resources (human and material) to benefit millions of listeners/viewers. Radio is this cheapest medium for courses with more than 500 listeners. This is true if the cost of production and transmission are taken into account. This cost is about one fifth that of producing and transmitting a television program (Jenkins: 17). Radio programs can be produced cheaply and on short notice implying that the producers can be flexible. Replies to listeners queries, complaints or suggestions or information about future events can be broadcasted with little delay. If the suggestions imply that a program is not meeting their needs, then changes can be rapidly instituted. Radio can also reach a larger audience is and therefore the cost per capita is low. The receiving equipment is relatively cheap, portable and can be operated on batteries as well as solar panels. Television though expensive than the radio is still cheap compared to other media. For television, the only problem is that very few institutions can afford to purchase and maintain it.

ii). Up to date and immediate

The second teaching quality of radio and television is that the content carried is both up to date and immediate. Comparing these two media with textbooks, one finds that ht e textbooks can be several years out of date, whereas the broadcast, on the other hand, brings fresh and up to date ideas, more recent than even what the classroom teacher knows. A radio program can be aired on the same day it is produced besides the radio can bring an event instantly to the listeners like FA Cup, World Cup etc. the tone of the broadcaster communicates shades of meaning more than the newspaper story. The voice gives an impression of personal contact with reduces the feeling of isolation often experienced by learners when they use the forms of media.

iii). Leaping Barriers of Space and Time

the third teaching quality of both radio and television is that they can leap barriers of space and time. By using them we can reconstruct and bring the past to the present by use of drama. In this way, we can also leap forward and dramatize future events. Radio can also pass messages to places that are otherwise inaccessible. It is common knowledge that the new millennium has been ushered in with the fact that the world has become a small village. Thanks to the introduction of modes such as email, the internet, and mobile cell phones. This implies that one can access events that are happening thousands of kilometers away through a combination of these new technologies.

iv). Emotional impact

The fourth teaching quality of radio and television is that the duos are also able to bring dramatic feelings into the classroom thus creating an emotional impact on the learners. Content in some of the subjects can be very “dry.” Reading a text from a textbook can be very boring, but if the same content is passed across through a radio/television program then the listeners will be able to identify with the voices, benefit from the voice variations and the motivated generally to listen to and respond to the program content.

v). Authenticity and Realism

Radio and television can be used to bring the voice of an authority into the classroom thus making learning authentic and real. The two can, for example, be used to teach language through the use of native speakers. This would go a long way in offsetting problems faced by most teachers in such areas as pronunciation, intonation, and idioms. Through these media, we can interview and record the ideas of professionals such as doctors, teachers, trade unionists, veteran nationalists, religious leaders and opinion leaders. These can then be brought to class and used to teach history or any other subject.

vi). Fostering imagination of the listeners

The sixth teaching quality of radio and television is that through them the producers are able to foster the imagination of the audience. Through radio, the producer creates a visual scene for the play or story that is being told in the program. However, it is worth noting that radio is rated higher than television in this respect as it is easier to dramatize historical concepts with imaginary scenery in radio than to realistically create the past in motion pictures for television. To enrich radio we can complement its use together with pictures, slides and illustrated texts.

Radio is also extremely effective where creative thinking, effective learning or an imaginative response is required. Ideas can be stimulated or issues raised through dramatic presentations, personal accounts or debates. Dramatic presentations have been particularly effective for teaching people with limited educational background (Jenkins:17)


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