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Radio: a global way to connect and learn

On Christmas Eve, 1906, Canadian inventor Reginald
Fessenden made the first radio broadcast in history.1 Since then, radio has proved to be an effective teaching and learning tool for communities in far-flung places.
Today, says Edith Lennon, writing for, the use of radio as a social media tool in schools is an easy way to blend practice and theory across the curriculum and all Grade levels.
Teachers can emphasise science, technology, engineering and technology (STEM) by first teaching students about radio literacy (today one refers to wireless technology literacy). All other subjects, such as the life sciences, geography, and languages can be drawn into radio-themed classes.
Radio exposes students and teachers to a global network, allowing them to develop the key skills of communication, understanding, empathy and solution exploration. Says Lennon: “It encourages community involvement, while cutting across social, political, cultural, geographic, and physical handicap boundaries, contributing to the goal of sending forth truly educated graduates”.
Furthermore, its immediacy, says Lennon, means that radio can be a strong motivating influence, leading students to choose careers in “computer sciences, consumer electronics, broadcast engineering, research sciences, medicine, telecommunications, and more”.
World Radio Day is marked annually on 15 February by many schools and communities around the world. It is the anniversary of the day that the United Nations established the United Nations Radio in 1946.2 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has stated that: “World Radio Day is about celebrating radio, why we love it and why we need it today more than ever. [It is] a day to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe.”3
Calla McCabe, a journalist writing for https://education, reports that the group project “Access to Education: War Child Canada in the Democratic Republic of Congo”,4 includes in its work “child-led radio broadcasting through
local radio stations [which] places children in the roles of educators on social issues while journalism-focused training grants youth a platform from which to express themselves”.
Other organisations tapping into the power of radio to educate children in resource-scarce regions of the world include “The Broad Class – Listen to Learn”,5 an interactive radio instruction programme for in-school and out-of-school public primary school children in Islamabad and “It’s My Right, Make It Happen”, also in Pakistan;6 the Uganda Rural Development and Training programme,7 and the Mother Tongue Education Project, also focused on Uganda;8 and the School-in-a-Box programme,9 used all over the developing world.

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Category: Winter 2019

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