The Influence of Radio and Television on Culture, Literacy and Education

The article that we were instructed to read mostly went over the use of new media being applied for educational purposes. The article started off with the introduction of silent films. Silent films were used in education long before audio recording technology was created. Some people overestimated the power of these films, Thomas Edison being one of them; he believed that silent films would revolutionize teaching within ten years. While silent films were a very big step in New Media the bigger step discussed in this article is that of the Radio.

With the invention of the radio another wave of new media phenomenon crashed over society. Between 1916 and 1920 the first known radio broadcast were being sent. Very quickly the radio gained popularity, becoming a major form of entertainment throughout the 1920-1950’s. During the great depression the radio became a symbol of hope for many people, and a place where they could gather with friends and family to feel somewhat safer during uncertain times. Radios also were becoming a very large controversy in the education world. Just as silent films had done only a few years before the radio provided a new means of education to a world of learners. During World War Two many people thought that America’s victory was at least partly attributed to their ability to understand and use audiovisual presentations. Using radio and audiovisuals America was able to teach very large squads of soldiers quickly and cost effectively.

To describe the role of the radio as a moment in history, it is most easily described as the moment where mass media technology and audio technology finally crossed paths. Before it the newspaper had been the main means of mass media and the telephone the best means of instant communication. However with the creation of the radio both of the best aspects of these forms of media were fused.


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