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Do You Learn from TV?

To again break from the norm of posting news stories, I’d like to do a little bit of reflection. My research project talks a lot about television. For the bulk of our project, we are analyzing the two TV shows “House” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”  But it is not just this project that allows me to interact with TV. In my first essay about the nature of science, I also discuss a lot of ways in which I associate science with the recognition of facts learned in low key ways from the media. For example, I received extra credit on a science test once from something I learned in Legally Blonde. Also, I know the names of a whole lot of bones due to the song Miley and Lily make up in “Hannah Montana”. So, what does all this mean? Could it be that television actually retains some educational value? It sort of seems that way, because there actually is a lot I have learned from watching TV and movies.

Yes, there are plenty of shows out there that have an educational purpose. And yes, I’m sure that there is plenty to learn from these shows, and I’m sure that there are many successful ways that these shows employ to communicate scientific information to whatever audience the show is aimed at. This is not what I am talking about. I’m talking about normal TV and regular movies which actually bring up things coincidentally which in turn teach us about science/really anything. There is honestly just so much I have learned over the years that I remember from TV and movies, and I can’t really pin why. Possibly it’s because I’m a visual learner. I think a huge component must be though that it is much more exciting to learn things from unexpected sources, such as one’s favorite movie.

What do you think? What have you learned from your favorite soap opera? Have you learned anything at all?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I feel like we learn more than we realize from TV. But then again, I love TV. I actually believe that its based on real life, just a little more dramatic of course. I believe that you can learn about relationships and people from TV but you shouldn’t only base your beliefs on that. I don’t believe that shows like Grey’s Anatomy and House can actually teach someone medical terms or how to become a good doctor. They just give the notion that doctors can have crazy and dramatic lives and still have a future in medicine. I do, completely agree that is is much more exciting to learn from unexpected places, such as TV and movies.

  2. lexicory
    April 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I definitely have learned from TV. I especially love the TV show “House”, and I can honestly say that after re-watching 7 seasons of “House” all the time, I can probably name a lot of diseases, illnesses, symptoms, and diagnosis that others may have never heard of. I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore- i hardly ever have the time. But there are plenty of shows broadcasting that are greatly educational and interesting- I also love the show “River Monsters”. Discovery Channel, History Channel, and National Geographic Channel are my three top favorites to watch, and between these three, there are nearly hundreds of topics to learn about.
    However, I know that the shows that the author is talking about are a different types. I personally don’t think that they retain that much educational value at all. If you compare the time spent watching all of those TV shows with how much you actually learned, it’s a very large disproportion. I stand firm that the most effective way to spend your time is not these TV shows, but instead reading of hands-on learning activities. Sure, there are some things to learn from these traditionally non-educational shows, but overall, it’s a very small percentage of educational material, and an even lesser chance that you’ll remember most of it.

  3. April 19, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I am so happy you brought this up, because there are countless times that I have recalled information due to a movie or television show. Take for example the totally embarassing way I remember the order and features of the planets in the solar system..from a simple song on Blue’s Clues that I heard when I was about 4 years old. Or my ability to remember parts of the brain from a scene in the Babysitters Club Movie. Because this way of presenting information is so catchy and interactive, I feel like it so easy to retain information without even realizing it. For me, this kind of “learning” is also great because often times I merely memorize information for the short period of time that I will need to know it. However, when you learn something while you are doing an activity you enjoy (watching a movie, listening to music), at least for me, I am much more likely to remember it because it’s presented in such a unique way.

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