IN RECENT MONTHS, there has been so much talk and debate about the trustworthiness of news coverage that I find myself wondering about the impact it may be having on students. It’s already too easy to become jaded about information in a world where everyone seems to be talking at the same time. Do young people know how to navigate their way through the commotion and take hold of what’s important? Do they even try?
As teachers, you undoubtedly have more insight on this than most of us, and I’m willing to bet that many of you are doing whatever you can to help students understand that information consumption is not a passive activity, but rather, an exercise of the mind which requires knowledge, discernment, and the ability to consider things in context.
I believe it’s essential to help students understand that when watching the news, or even just scanning social media, they are not merely being talked at, but talked to, and that being talked to gives them power in that they have the choice to either process the information or reject it. But deciding whether a piece of information is worth holding onto requires that they think it through—put it into context, consider the source, weigh the information against what they already know.
With regard to context, consider television news. How might coverage of a story vary from channel to channel? What angle do the news presenters pursue; what facts do they choose to emphasize; and what might that decision have to do with the makeup of their viewership, or where they’re located on the map? For example, Bloomberg Television, a financial news network, may emphasize the economic implications of a news story, whereas CNN and Fox News Channel look at it through a more political lens.
The same story on ESPN News would explore its implications for the sports world, whereas the British-flavored BBC America would be more likely to look at the facts in an international context.
Your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup features all these channels, along with many others that are either totally devoted to news and opinion, or feature specific news programs among their offerings. For example, there’s daily rural and agricultural news on RFD-TV; unvarnished coverage of current events on C-SPAN; and even Spanish-language news via Univision.
You could have your students do a comparative study of how different channels cover the same story, then host a discussion wherein they report their observations. Start by looking over all the services available to you in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel guide.
—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio
Recently, I was looking over the DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup and it occurred to me all over again just what a wide variety of educational benefits there are to be drawn from the networks and programming being delivered to teachers and students all across the country each day.
There’s STEM-related programming; history and geography; education in fine arts, language, and nature; as well as news, economics, and much, much more.
And then there are the networks and programs that wonderfully demonstrate—and celebrate—the value of everyday life skills. From cooking and sewing to building and exploring, channels like HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, and DIY Network are a great way to teach students the real-world value of learning to do things.
These popular networks are essentially about living life—creating, innovating, beautifying, and discovering. Not to mention inspiring. For example:
Explore for yourself what these channels have to offer, and think about ways that you might use them to inspire your students.
HGTV is channel 229 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup; Food Network is channel 231; Travel Channel 277; and DIY Network is channel 230.
—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio
© DIRECTV 2017.