The Role of Mass Media in Education
The study of societies would not be complete without realizing the significant contributions that the mass media have over the people that comprise these societies. If anything, the mass media is often regarded as an important contributor to social and political life for the very reason that it is capable of relaying information regardless of geographical positions and other factors. With its capacity to secure an unbridled culture of information sharing, the mass media is no doubt indispensable in terms of communicating values and other cultural concepts across generations.
It is then important to note that the mass media occupies an essential position in education since both involve the delivery of information and influencing decisions and opinions on various issues. It is still important, however, that the mass media and education operate on different levels.
Firstly, when one discusses the mass media, one would often focus on the technological tropes that essentially define it. We can then define the mass media as an aggregation of technological forces that make possible the transference of information. Hence, it is not enough to define the mass media as merely “news” or the entertainment industry. Instead, we should look only at the channels that comprise the whole.
Education, on the other hand, is one aspect of society that is as indispensable as material resources. Education after all is the transference of competencies, skills and talents to succeeding generations, thereby maintaining the transfer of essential knowledge which plays a significant role in societal progress. Progress is never possible if it were not for education.
The defining features of both the mass media and education is boiled down to the fact that both facilitate the exchange of ideas from past to the future, with the present being the conduit.
In this respect, we can begin to see the important relationship that education and the mass media both share. And considering the rate at which technology develops, we will also observe how dramatically the systems of education can evolve. Mass media in fact is not directly involved in shaping public consciousness; but it is largely involved in framing discourse and in providing the pathways which these discourses can take. The development of media tools has considerably impacted classroom instruction as educators are provided a plethora of materials which they can access through multiple channels.
In this sense, we could hardly ignore the fact that media technologies have impacted education to such an extent that governments have decided to adapt to these important technological changes in order not to be left out. Developing countries in Asia as well as South America have also integrated the use of media technology in academic research and have made significant investments that aim for greater technological importance.
It remains to be seen that mass media-integrated education is beneficial across the board. But several factors have pointed out the supposed weaknesses of the mass media within the realm of education.
The first of these weaknesses is validity. There has been a growing consensus that believes the mass media has “everything” we search for and that the answers are at our fingertips. The convenience that mass media promises does not entirely entail higher quality education since not all content from television, radio, newspapers and the so-called new media can be relied upon. Another weakness also takes the form of authority. The mass media which also operates under the influence of market forces only subscribe towards the transferring of the prevailing ideology. Any organization, no matter how dedicated towards the truth, is cast off since it lacks the needed authority in order for it to become credible. We can then say that education through the market-influenced mass media is only beneficial to the prevailing culture and thwarts any attempt to subdue the status quo.
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