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Want to make the most of your ERA licence?

As ERA Field Liaison Officer, I’ve had the chance to see how people are doing just that..


One programme – multiples uses! At ERA, we like to hear about innovative uses of broadcast material and especially when teachers use resources in a cross-curricular way – it’s the educational equivalent of a “buy one, get one free” deal.


The first one I can across was an FE college using Dragons’ Den with their students – but not just those on the business studies courses. Students were told that they were going to face a panel of local “Dragons” and that they had a month to prepare their presentations. Clips from the programmes showed them how a lack of preparation drew caustic comments from Bannatyne and Jones, whist the tapping of those polished  high heels gave a clue to Deborah Meaden’s patience having run out as the entrepreneurs stuttered and stammered their way to a halt – and ignominious rejection.


Meanwhile, similar clips were watched by Media Studies students who had been briefed that their assignment was to film the presentations made by their peers.  Their challenge was to not just record the proceedings but to make them interesting, picking up on all the signs that gave away the local Dragons’ reactions – positive or negative. They also had to prepare a voiceover commentary.


The experience was a nerve-racking one for all the students but proved to be immensely useful.  The resultant “programme” was a piece of evidence included in all students’ portfolios and as a learning experience, the assignment was hugely beneficial.


For the college itself, there were institutional benefits in cementing stronger links with local business people, and making sure that the college had close relationships with industry and commerce.


Primary schools are particularly good at using broadcast material in a cross-curricular way. “Horrible Histories” are a favourite with teachers who use them not only as a springboard for history teaching but to inspire children in performing arts, music and even maths and sciences.

“Secrets of the Castle”, a programme about the recreation of the building of a medieval  castle in France, is a treasure trove of clips which are not just relevant to history teaching but science and technology, as it shows how very basic instruments and techniques were used for building quite sophisticated structures without the use of any machinery. It also offers opportunities to stimulate discussions and project work on food production and processing, art and design and citizenship.


We’d love to hear about examples of broadcasts which can be used across curriculum areas, in ways  that were probably not originally foreseen by the programme-makers.