I wrote the following for the assignment question "Discuss the Role of Media for Improvement of Functions of School" asked for IGNOU B.Ed Assignment 1
Education must be of a new type for the sake of the creation of a new world.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Present day functioning of schools has been very much influenced by the media, especially by electronic media after globalisation of economy and culture. Penetration of television channels and increase in the awareness of general public due to open knowledge repository available through internet, transparency has been set between the policy makers and the commons. Computer mediated support in teaching (e-learning) and learning has eased the role of school in imparting knowledge to the students. Students also have the facility to learn online from the web and DTH (Direct to Home – satellite television) services are offering on-demand courses through video. Television channels offer programs to burst exam time stress and also provide subject discussion by experts.
The role of teacher is redefined as a facilitator of knowledge through new methods of teaching. Sadly, as mentioned by Nel Noddings in her article ‘Renewing Democracy in Schools’, “Today's school reform efforts aim almost exclusively at increasing the academic achievement of students.” It is true in Indian context that education is more considered as a tool to improve the personal economics and has failed in “promoting the discourse that lies at the heart of education in a liberal democracy.”
With the changed environment and electronic media in teaching, role of the teachers, have been simplified. The power of present day media offer students information from around the world faster and easier. This implies redefinition of the role of school. Julia Balaisis, in her article on Electronic Media in a Global Education Context suggests “Society needs to reconsider that the school's fertile social environment is the heart of its most essential functioning. With technology taking over the function of information transmission, now schools can function and must be redefined around the significant role they play in providing opportunities for socialization and human interaction. This means that, along with information acquisition, schools engage students in community building, dialogic interchange, teamwork and co-operation.”
As Mahatma Gandhi said “the child must learn by doing and through experience and purposeful activities”, presently through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)" (meaning Education for All) Tamilnadu government has implemented “Activity Based Learning (ABL)” and “Active Learning Methodology (ALM)” system in primary schools. This is a step in the process of improving the function of the school because of the participation of media and involvement in educational technology that is using computers and other electronic media. As envisioned by Nel Noddings when school education is conducted through liberal discussion “to promote inquiry, critical thinking, reflective commitment, and personal autonomy, students are likely to feel more in control of their own schooling” and certainly “school will no longer be experienced as a compulsory act in a theater of the absurd.”
Truly, if media is properly utilised, as mentioned by Julia Balaisis, the functioning of the school “can be freed from information transmission to becoming transformative force that is the fulfilment of its visionary potential.”