The things you discover by accident…
I was sitting at home watching late night TV tonight and there wasn’t much on that I thought was interesting, so I started flipping channels. We don’t have cable or satellite, just free-to-air TV, and to be honest I usually just stick to the handful of “standard” channels – 7, 9, 10, ABC and SBS. Since we got a digital TV, it’s been nice to get the High Def versions of these channels, but the other thing about free-to-air digital is that it also gives you a whole lot more free channels outside the standard ones.
Flipping through, I discovered a new channel I’d never seen before – Teacher TV. It had an interview with an Australian teacher talking about literacy strategies and how to give kids opportunities to express themselves in other ways than just traditional writing activities. She was talking about how important it was to offer ways to create and express, not just pass tests. This got my attention… I had no idea that there was a fulltime 24-hour-a-day channel dedicated to issues around education.
As I’ve been writing this, there has been a story about some strategies for dealing with homophobia in schools, including strategies, activities and suggestions. Right now there is an interview with a teacher in Perth talking about an effective writing activity for Year 1 students. Not exactly mainstream TV, but interesting to me.
It turns out there is also a website to support the channel, and you can find it at www.teacherstv.com.au. Who knew?
Reading through the About section on the website, it turns out that there has been a Teacher TV channel in the UK for a while now, and the Australian one is based on the UK one. In fact, during this first roll-out phase, some of the content has been repurposed from the UK version, but it will eventually be replaced with more and more Australian content. There is quite a bit of Australian content there already however… a quick browse through the rather significant collection of video content on the website reveals, among other things, stories about a Year 10 English teacher at Canberra Grammar School using wikis to study Macbeth, a story about teaching in remote schools by a PE teacher working on Thursday Island, a look at the Wiradjuri aboriginal language program at Forbes North Public School, and – in a complete surprise to me – a story about the art gallery and the artist-in-residence program at Presbyterian Ladies College Sydney, the school at which I currently teach!
The website says “Teachers TV content often features great teachers and teaching in action. Stories are focused on classroom and school observation to illustrate how different teachers deal with challenges, ideas, problems, innovation and systems.” What a great idea! … 24/7 teacher PD on TV!
Check it out, and if you like what you see, spread the word about it as they say they are still trialling the service. No doubt they would like to know that people watch the channel, so tell people about it and let the channel know you’re aware of it. Hopefully it will continue.
Teachers TV is available on Channel 47 on Broadcast Australia’s digital free-to-air television trial platform known as DIGITAL FORTY FOUR and can be received by any household who currently receives digital terrestrial Television signals (via a Digital TV or a set top box). Take a look… it’s not bad!