How Media Sessions Can Help Children to Learn

1st December 2015

A media session? At the National Marine Aquarium? What’s the point in that?

Well, in my first ever blog, I’m going to attempt to tell you exactly the point in that. I’m going to tell you why I think Media Sessions are a great way of engaging children to have fun in an educational environment.

The National Marine Aquarium has a mission statement, we say it on a daily basis, we recite it eating our corn flakes in the morning, and it is extremely important it us. If you’re not aware of it (which is allowed, we’re not angry just disappointed) it’s to ‘Drive Marine Conservation through Engagement’.

So, this being our mission statement (like McDonald’s are ‘loving it’, or Nike are ‘just doing it’) we make sure we drive marine conservation through engaging our visitors in everything we do, but unlike those companies our Mission Statement isn’t just a catchy tag line, it’s something we truly believe in.

Our Discovery and Learning team do this in every talk, show, tour or workshop we deliver, we ensure it is at the core. With school children we do slimy science shows, interactive tours on habitats, and with both of those examples you can see how we can entwine conservation throughout.

But, media sessions at an Aquarium, how does that drive Marine Conservation?

In my experience children love technology. From iPads to cameras and phones they use them more and more, children love to feel like they’re using technology as much as possible.

Television and film is something that most children have grown up around. Whether that’s learning how to spell and count through children’s television (is Sesame Street still a thing?) or laughing along to Finding Nemo (the joy in a child’s voice as they see our Clown Fish and scream – “It’s NEMO!” Is unbeatable). The media has influenced a generation of children without question. So, by using media in education we’re tapping into something children understand and love.

That’s where our Media Sessions come in. From every session we offer; News Reporter to Mini Documentaries, children love the idea of filming, being filmed, making something they can show everyone. The idea of being ‘famous’ or ‘on the telly’ blows them away, and we use this excitement to teach them something. What is key is that to make these films, they have to learn something, whether that be facts about animals or about a conservation issue, they must learn it, and then write a script, and repeat it until they’re happy with how it sounds. Then, once it’s edited, we send it to them, and at school with all their friends, or in assembly in front of the whole school they watch themselves delivering what they have learned at the Aquarium, and they reteach themselves the facts. It’s a big old circle of learning, and one that engages students to remember information that they’ve learned at the Aquarium. The element of them being able to watch themselves back really enhances their attention to listen to the information in the film. And in my opinion, is one of the best ways to engage students with information that might not be the easiest to engage with.

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