“An educational film is a film or movie whose primary purpose is to educate. Educational films have been used in classrooms as an alternative to other teaching methods”
The first official educational films are controversial. Some researchers suggested that the first educational films were shown in St. Petersburg in 1897, while other studies believed that the first educational films were inspired by the newsreel in 1913. Regardless, the increasing number of educational film could prove that the population of educational film was started in the early 1900s.
Usage of educational film during the late 19th and 20th centuries
Educational films are productions aiming to inform target audience about designated issues.It has various usages on different purposes. Educational cinema was normally divided into three main categories, which included instructional, educational, and scholastic.
Educational films can be used to inform the public about social issues and raise public awareness. For example, an educational film, What About Prejudice?, published in 1959 discussed the prejudice of the white middle class. Land and Space to Grow, released in October 1960, was a story about a typical young American couple who pursue the great adventure of buying land and building a dream home.
Challenging questions or debate over social issues would also be raised in educational films, such as labor reform, communism, civil rights, and nuclear proliferation. One of these was: "Why is it such a heavy burden every step taken to provide adequate housing on land where everyone agrees that adequate housing is needed?" The film was shaped into a compelling soft-sell story that allows more people to mean and reflect on social issues.
Besides, educational film can be a powerful aid to teaching, bringing things that students may not be able to experience first hand into the classroom and thus improving teaching efficiency. For example, teaching film can be used in the teaching of architectural subjects. If some form of film-loop is used, the action can be repeated until a difficult principle is fully understood. With the close-up technique, fine detail is enlarged for all to see clearly.
Documentary as an educational resource had played a big part in the history of educational film. They were mostly shown in schools for educational purpose and used to introduce various topics to children. However, documentaries were also capable of teacher training. By 1950, prominent educational film institutions like New York University's Educational Film Library, Columbia Teachers College, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) believed that documentaries that shorted on children, such as A Better Tomorrow (1945),Tomorrow's a Wonderful Day (1948), and The Children's Republic (1947), were suitable for audiences interested in teacher training, child care and development, and even the rehabilitation of so-called delinquents.
Educational film was also used as a promotional tool. For example, after World War II, teenagers started to question the single-sex educational environments, the profession has realized the problem and promote its image by producing the educational film Why Study Home Economic? in 1955.
In China, educational film was rose and became one of the most important education tool in the 1930s. During the Period of Republic of China, many citizens were illiterate, the national government had discovered a suitable measure to raise the level of knowledge of the whole society relatively in a more efficient way—the development of educational film. The government held various kinds of activities, like establishing official film studios to promote and implement educational film.
In addition, the potential of educational film had been explored to the education of the deaf. Captioned Films for the Deaf, also known as The Described and Captioned Media Program, was established in 1950, and also started to create 15 volumes of Lesson Guide for Captioned Film since 1965.