Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 11, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
Friileiy, December II, 1970 THE LETHBRIDGE HERAID he equipment Television is probably the most significant, and most disruptive influence on man- kind that has ever been de- veloped. It is also the most potentially powerful social, educational and psychologi- cal tool man has ever had the power to control. More than a third of all Ca- nadians alive today have never lived without televi- sion it was their teacher and babysitter. More than half tan remember only vaguely what radio was like before the advent of televi- sion. Television has the versatil- ity of instant ability to travel anywhere in the world, and can offer "live" coverage of every earthly activity; Of late, we have also been able to see the Moon and Mars in "live" action via spaceship television. Television can know every- thing and do everything, without leaving the room. Videotape is television's version of motion picture film, but it is vastly more sophisticated. Videotape is unaffected by light, so can easily be handled. It requires no chemical or other develop- ment, like film does, so can be replayed instantly. It is also much stronger than film. A television camera does not contain videotape: the tape is used separately on a videotape recorder. The cam- era contains electronic in- struments that change the light going through its lens inlo electrical impulses, which are then transmitted by a wire, through tha re- corder and onto the video- tape where they are stored. The tape will keep its elec- tronic pictures for as long as wanted, but can be erased and re-recorded without ef- fort more than 100 times. >STV equipment costs more than motion picture equip- ment, although it is much less expensive than commer- cial TV facilities. Peter Dell, engineering technician at the University of Lethbridge, has over the past few years in ETV work had some bad experiences with common brand name ETV equipment, and recom- mends caution. He also in- sists purchase costs much less than rental from such firms as ACT, particularly since the buyer still owns the equipment when the renter would not, after the s'amc length of time. He points out that even when bought equipment wears out, the cables, stands, microphones, casings and other parts are worth thou- sands of dollars and do not become obsolete or require replacement. Rental equip- ment includes a charge for such parts, but extracts pay- ment many times over. Mr. Dell has been working closely with the Lethbridge public school board, which plans to buy more than 500 worth of ETV equipment in January, as the first stage of what will likely lead soon to more than in equipment and tapes. Some equipment is de- scribed and pictured on this page, but other facilities are available, including a port- able studio set-up which in- cludes two large cameras, cables, microphones and a compact control board fea- turing three monitor screens, switching systems and a spe- cial effects device, for about Split screen and special ef- fects units alone, worth about television sets, at S270 for 23-inch black and white units; cameras at and inexpensive studio lighting equipment. Tapes cost to an hour. New equipment on the market includes a cassette playback unit, worth about S350 which does not record (double if it does) and a myriad of cassette tapes on almost every conceivable topic, movie, play, travel- ogue or experiment, at about per hour. And full color is rapidly on its way. The only real limitation on ETV is the imagination of the students and teachers who use it. pictures: Top left: Grade 6 stu- dents at Allan Watson El- ementary" School use ETV in the classroom; top right: five pictures showing sam- ples of what can be seen on ETV screens, in addition to regular television fare (the strange patterns re- sult from photographic and printing difficulties, and do not appear on the classroom TV above: the studio at the of Lethbridge, below, left to right: the U of L ETV library, containing about 220 hours of video- tape; two reels comparing videotape and lo-milli- meter movie film the large roll contains half an hour of movie film and the small one contains a full hour of videotape; a a television cam- era; a videotape re- corder the size of a med- iurn-sized suitcase; a port- able television camera and videotape set, weighing about 30 pounds and bat- tery-powered; a "mini- studio" setup worth about which includes tel- evision camera, videotape recorder, television set, cables, microphone, wheel- ed stand and olher equip- ment, with Peter Dell, U of L engineering technician; and the U of L EW studio's control room, with Harold Tichnor, a techniciarv-pho- tographer. educational comes of by Jim Wilson photography: Bryan Wilson the possibilities Because literally every school-aged child has been exposed to and grown accus- tomed to television, the TV set is a familiar form of communication 'for use in ed- ucation: it is the medium of their generation. It can never replace the teacher, but it will increase the teacher's capacities im- measurably IF the teach- er is trained in its use. Television can slow down, speed up, magnify, com- press, provide instant replay and store permanently virtu- ally anything. In demonstra- tions or other close-up teach- ing operations, the camera lens can be moved by the teacher directly on top of the scene of action. It is more effective than a crowd of stu- dents' heads knocking to- gether and it doesn't get in the way. Because it is tele- vision cameras in the class- room can make learning that much more interesting and can concentrate atten- tion at the same time. Portable camera and videotape units taken on field (rips can record what takes place, for later concentrated study instead of relying on poor memories and confused notes. In various class routines, ETV can be used to supple- ment the written word. For example, in an English class studying a novel, or play or other work, a videotape could be first played to the class: a Shakespeare play in total, then in selected scenes for close study. The play would he a living thing, rather than a bunch of old fashioned words. Dangerous but illuminating science experiments can be pre-recorded and shown to a class, instead of merely being verbally described. And various experiments can be shown in close-up detail to the student at the back of the classroom, simply by putting a TV set there. Social studies classes could see easily available video- taped travelogues of coun- tries they studied and dis- cuss them scene by scene, since television does not re- quire the darkness and complicated classroom manoeuvering that movies do. The CBC TV children's show, Sesame Street, is an excellent example of what can be produced on a more expensive and professional basis for school consumption. Since Sesame Street is aimed at pre-school children, many adults do not have the opportunity to see how it af- fects the child's development but many two, three, four and five-year-olds spend an horn- each morning glued to the TV set and two-year- olds are counting to 20, com- pliments of the program's teaching abilities. Videotapes are becoming available through library co- operatives, and the Alberta department of education has more than 600 tapes avail- able. Programs may also be taped off the regular com- mercial television stations, although in some cases this is an illegal infringement of copyright. But more and more programs are being re- leased for educational pur- poses. Tapes can be re-shown to absent, slow or confused stu- dents. The University of Leth- bridge is collecting hundreds of videotapes on hundreds of topics, all available to city schools. This spring, a spe- cial class in biology will con- centrate on videotape use making about 40 hours of specialized tapes available for high school use. Jchn Bruha, a U of L edu- cation professor who concen- trates in media use, has sug- gested a Lethbridge district co-operative ETV studio, li- brary and equipment ser- vice involving the public, sep- arate and county school dis- tricts, plus the university and college. He says too that most new teachers" entering the schools today are well-trained in ETV use, and keen on its full employment. ETV is useful for teachers in another way: they can tape lectures and view themselves to see where they can improve their tech- niques. They Can also tape stu- dents in various activities to see where they can make im- provements: physical educa- tion is, an example, where a badminton serve or football punt can be taped and then the student's technique criti- cized and improvements demonstrated.