They’re Doing WHAT To The Electric Company?
Growing up, The Electric Company was one of my favorite shows. I didn’t realize necessarily that it was trying to teach me how to read, or that it had big-name stars acting in it. It was just a fun show to watch after Sesame Street.
While I don’t make a habit of watching kids TV, it is an occupational hazard of having kids and working at home. One day, after one of the kids shows on PBS, there was a preview for something called The Electric Company. No, it’s not what I grew up with, but the segment or two they showed had elements of what I remember.
Then I go find the site PBS has set up for The Electric Company, which is set to premiere in January 2009. While it certainly has a lot of the same educational elements, and includes lots of animated vignettes like the original, they’ve turned what used to be a daily variety show for kids into a weekly show with an actual plot.
This show is coming out in a very different time from the 1970, when the original aired. Educational TV was still a relatively new concept in America, and there wasn’t a whole lot of other choices. There certainly wasn’t computers, the Internet, mobile phones, and who-knows what else. In the early part of the 21st Century, we’ve got 500 channels on TV, a bazillion web pages on the Internet, mobile phones, and more. Much like finding this blog post amongs the infinite bits of the Internet might be a challenge, getting the word out about The Electric Company and breaking through to kids is going to be a challenge.
Why am I writing about this program here, on a technology blog? Very simple: reading is important to technology. It’s important to just about anything else you do in life as well. It’s one of those fundamental building blocks.
And maybe, if you have kids around the 7-9 age range and you happen to stumble across this post, you’ll take a look at this program on your local PBS station when it comes out in January. Maybe the kids will like it, maybe they won’t. Hard to say. Given Sesame Workshop’s past history of excellent educational shows, it’s certainly worth a try.
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