Sunday, February 12, 2012

School in the Mailbox (1947)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Documentary, Short Subjects - Australian News and Information Bureau

Getting an education online seems to be a modern day convention, but the 1947 short film "School in the Mailbox" proves that the concept of distance learning goes back over half a century. The short film details Australia's efforts to educate the nation's youth who live far from city centers. In the days before broadband internet and mobile phone access, it was a difficult challenge for the Australian government to education children who lived in the most remote parts of the island, but the country set up a system using correspondence and radio broadcasts to teach children everywhere.

"School in the Mailbox" describes this system in a straightforward, less than thoughtful manner. The film is very much a promotional tool, and doesn't offer any analysis of the effectiveness of the system, nor does it personalize it by introducing us in a meaningful way to the children of the program. The program seems worthwhile and was clearly quite resourceful, but there just wasn't much of an effort to challenge the viewer or ask questions about the program. The film thus serves as an interesting historic artifact, but this isn't much more than a promotion for a program of the past.

You can watch "School in the Mailbox" at the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at

Remaining: 3176 films, 869 Oscars, 5455 nominations

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