The reason is simple: the more we see and hear, the more we learn.
Imaginative movies, and fictional narratives about visiting the past, or parts of the world are therefore popular among children, and come in handy as teaching aids. They serve as the perfect excuse for taking the audience of children on an audio visual tour of the past or of a place, where things can be shown and heard, and not just told.
While it is true that children have a highly active imagination, it cannot be denied that the more one sees, the more is one capable of imagining. As Prof. George E. Hein asserts:
There are many theories of learning, and the most widely accepted today asserts that children learn from experience, by engaging with the world. Education is therefore not seen as a matter of passing on information (in whatever format), but as an effort to increase the child’s exposure to the world as well as the child’s engagement with the world.
Since children are not taught so much as allowed to learn, they learn not just specific things or “lessons”, but also how to learn. More than anything else, it is this skill that gives children the competence and the opportunity to chart their own course, and seek better lives.
Much more than any other teaching methodology, this is the most critical fact. Children learn continuously every day of their lives, and education is really only a matter of guiding the focus of their learning and helping them pick up some of the essential skills that are needed in the course of a normal adult life.
There have been only very minor changes in the system of education over the centuries. If for instance, someone from the 19th century walks into a typical classroom of today, he will find the same things: chalk and talk, text and desk. But even though the needs of the students have changed drastically, as Andre Lestage’s assertion regarding the importance of audio-visual aids in 1959, shows, things have not changed much in terms of how we teach .
There has in fact been some effort to increase the use of audio-visual aids in education. What has not changed, or not changed sufficiently, is our current understanding of audio-visual aids. Schools who do use audio-visual aids essentially continue to rely on conventional technologies such as Television and Radio. While these work fairly well, they have a significant disadvantage: they do not allow a two way interaction. Introduction of computers has not changed things substantially either. Typically schools use computers to teach computers, and not other subjects, thus underutilizing a valuable resource.
Since the majority of children’s learning takes place based on experiences in the real world, it is clear that in order for children to be sufficiently interested in their school education (which is often a problem, esp. in rural areas) we need to make school education as interesting as possible. To that end, audio-visual aids that are interactive, and allow person to person interaction are the best possible solution, and something we seek to do through our Education For Free.