Remember The Electric Company?
No, not AEP, or Pacific Power, or Duke or all of those new “energy providers”.
The Electric Company was a PBS kids educational show…. for the kids who had outgrown Sesame Street. (Can you really outgrow Sesame Street?) I discovered it in the 70’s while I was teaching second graders. My class and I watched it once a week on Friday as a “treat”. It was full of phonics and learning situations made fun via music, jokes, funny skits, and of course TV. What teacher can compete with that?
Morgan Freeman was one of the stars as well as others who made guest appearances; Bill Cosby, Rowan & Martin, Carol Burnett, and Rita Moreno. Freeman had a character named “Easy Reader” who shared his adventures. It was all pretty “hip” and the kids really enjoyed it.
Television has played a part in education for most of my life. My first experience with TV learning was in elementary school in the early 60’s. Several classes would meet in the cafeteria. There was one television in the entire school, and we would have a Spanish lesson each week, which consisted of the Spanish teacher in front of the screen doing what a regular teacher does every day. We would repeat the words in Spanish and our classroom teachers would watch us carefully to make sure we were paying attention. It was not very high-tech, but it was the beginning. Space launches were important stuff back then, too. I can remember our entire school cramming into the gym to watch the launch of one of the first space capsules.
By the time I was in college, Sesame Street had arrived on the scene and that forever changed how children learned from the media.
Today, the use of technology in education has evolved far from its simple beginnings of a single black and white TV set in a gymnasium.
Here is one of my favorite segments from The Electric Company. I always felt this was meant for me!