This vision thing

Sociology

Television and the video recorder are now so completely integrated into family life that we scarcely think about the ways in which they are used. However, if students look objectively at what happens in a typical day's use of the television, they may be surprised both by what they find and by what they discover about relationships within their family.

Ask these questions, and draw conclusions:

Who is in charge of the remote control?

Who chooses what programmes will be watched?

Who programmes the video recorder?

Who answers the telephone when it rings in the middle of a programme?

Media Studies

"News" is everywhere - in newspapers, on radio, television, even our mobile phones. In what ways does the medium through which it is delivered affect content, approach, and our responses?

Explore the questions by comparing the news offered on television and in a broadsheet newspaper on the same day.

How many stories are covered in a typical half-hour of national news on the television?

How many stories can you read if you spend half an hour with a broadsheet?

What qualities must a news story have to make the national television news?

What use does each medium make of:

* words

* still pictures

* moving pictures

Cultural studies

Most people have a favourite soap opera - but why have they become so important to us?

Explore these possibilities with your class.

* they provide role-models - and hate-figures

* they offer advice and guidance about how to respond and behave in a variety of possible real-world situations

* they give us safe subjects for conversation. (Do soap operas mean very much until we have discussed the latest episode with someone else?)

Do males and females respond differently to the content of soaps?

* how many males will admit to watching them?

* which characters are typically depicted as the stronger - males or females, and does that say anything about the target audience?

Harry Dodds

History

This article is a gift for anyone looking to examine the impact of technological change in the key stage 2 unit Britain Since 1930. It will need mediating for pupils, but think about the motivation factor when you ask pupils to watch TV for homework! At both KS2 and KS3 pupils are required to learn about how historical sources are used and how historical interpretations develop. The development of TV can fit into this requirement in many ways. A good example of an activity would be to take several Second World War events and consider how they would have been reported if the BBC had broadcast during the war. This could be compared with coverage of later wars.

Ben Walsh

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