Now, before you think that here is an educator propagating screen-time for young children who are already obsessing over i pads and such, I am NOT. I entirely appreciate the need to, and the struggle of warding off young children from unnecessary ‘dependence’ on visual-aids.
Having said that, what I am most definitely advocating, is the use of the visual medium as a tool to expose, sensitize, and educate slightly older students, particularly students from middle to high school.
As many of you may already be aware, I am a great believer in embracing the power of the visual medium when I teach my students. We are living in a visual world. Children are positively predisposed to the medium. So instead of fighting it, why not use it to their advantage. I always therefore make it a point to screen Short Films and Documentaries (of course age-appropriate) that provoke thought in a young generation that is otherwise largely concerned with their core-academic studies and/or less meaningful pursuits. Be it a film about the Environment or saving Animals; film as a tool is, in most cases, immediately accepted by students (as opposed to other more traditional means such as a Lecture or a Book). Their acceptance sustains their interest and subliminally conveys the sensitive message one if trying to get across to them, in a non-preachy, and relatively less mundane way.
Even as parents, rather than shun the idea of getting our children to use screens, it might be a better idea to instead, tailor the content, so they don’t end up watching rubbish. The world is a place with many pressing issues. And there is a dire need to make a new generation aware of these problems and to sensitize them, since they are the ones who will have to face these situations and come up with solutions. For this, the Moving Image can become an ally in the education of our children and enhance their learning exponentially. Let us Visually Enhance them!