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Teachers can show high-school students how the federal government's foreign-affairs agencies work with the help of a new 15-minute videotape available from the Modern Talking Picture Service.

Produced by the U.S. State Department, the videotape, "Diplomacy at Work: Protecting America's Stake in the Future,'' explains the operations of the department and such agencies as the United States Information Agency and the Agency for International Development.

Schools and community groups can borrow the videotape free of charge by contacting the Modern Talking Picture Service, Scheduling Department, 5000 Park St. North, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33709. Available for loan for up to three days, the program can be ordered in two formats--VHS or three-quarter-inch videocassette. Requests should include preferred viewing dates and choice of format.


Although some music videos expose teen-agers to sex and violence, they are not all bad, says Victor Strasburger, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' subcommittee on children and television.

According to Dr. Strasburger, several music-video producers have responded to criticism over the content of their work and "have cleaned up their products somewhat.''

"There are now more performance videos and fewer 'concept' videos,'' which are much more prone to have sexual or violent themes, he said.

Music videos are "not the end of the world, and teens are not going to go out and murder someone after watching these videos,'' according to Dr. Strasburger, who noted that, on average, teen-agers see 10,000 depictions of sex or violence on American television each year.

But Dr. Strasburger, who spoke at A.A.P.'s spring meeting in San Francisco last month, did criticize cable-television executives over the advertising that typically accompanies videos. He challenged executives to provide young viewers with "important information,'' such as advice on birth control, rather than try "to turn teens into young consumers'' of food products and acne medicine.


In an effort to highlight the use of videotapes in the classroom, the Agency for Instructional Technology is sponsoring a competition that will award $2,000 to the author of the best paper on instructional videotapes.

Anyone who is not an employee of the organization can submit a paper that addresses any issue related to this instructional medium.

Papers, which must conform to the American Psychological Association Style Manual, should be no longer than 30 double-spaced typewritten pages. Five copies of the paper should be submitted no later than July 1 to William Winn, 412 Miller Hall, DQ 12, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. 98195. The winning paper will appear in the winter issue of Educational Communication and Technology--A Journal of Theory, Research, and Development. The journal's editorial board will judge the papers.


Officials of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said last month that the C.P.B. will spend up to $300,000 on two pilot projects to create "much needed'' weekend television programming for 6- to 12-year-olds.

WQED-TV in Pittsburgh and WNYC-TV in New York City will receive up to $150,000 each "to research, develop, and produce pilot television projects'' that can be integrated with existing public-television shows aimed at children, according to a statement released by the corporation.

WNYC's project, "Puzzle Weekend,'' will feature stories, games, and "structuring educational puzzles,'' while WQED's program will include features, dramatic series, "informative modules, and amusing and enjoyable short subjects.''

The corporation expects to produce only one of the two pilot programs after both undergo market-testing with children in the targeted age group.

"With the development of this project, public television plans to change the weekend-programming terrain from a 'weekend-morning ghetto' into a weekend-morning cornucopia of learning and fun,'' said Mary Sceiford, associate director of education for the C.P.B. The projects were selected from among 11 proposals by a panel convened last February.


The CBS/Broadcast Group has honored four educators for their effective use of commercial television to enhance their students' education.

The competition was held to recognize outstanding television-related classroom activities, such as using TV as an aid in the study of current events, constitutional issues, and social issues. The winners, each of whom received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, were chosen from among 200 applicants by a panel of judges named by Boston University's college of communication. The winners' schools received video-production equipment.

The recipients of the "Television Worth Teaching Awards'' were Mary Moen, a teacher at West High School in Madison, Wis.; Milton Goldman, a teacher at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles; Julie Ann Balke, a 5th-grade teacher at the Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign, Ill.; and Rosemary Lee Potter, a 7th-grade teacher at Safety Harbor Middle School in Safety Harbor, Fla.

The competition marks the 10th anniversary of the network's Television Reading Program, begun in 1977 as an attempt to enrich classroom instruction through the use of specially selected CBS programs. In the past decade, the network has distributed more than 32 million broadcast scripts to students nationwide.


High-school teachers interested in using films and videotapes to teach students about animal-related issues can obtain a free catalogue of such materials from Focus On Animals, a Connecticut-based organization.

The catalogue describes programs on such topics as vanishing wildlife, hunting and trapping, and vivisection. It also gives each program's length, cost, and suitable audience. For a free copy, write to Focus On Animals, Box 150, Trumbull, Conn. 06611, or call (203) 377-1116.--A.P.

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