Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive


May 1970 NIT Newsletter

May 1970, National Instructional Television Newsletter report on Ripples and Teacher's Workshop, AIT Collection

It was clear from the content of program itself and the supplementary material that accompanied it that the creators of Ripples were determined to make "ripples" in the educational television and film industry. Like other trailblazers, such as Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers Neighborhood) and Lloyd N. Morrisett Jr. (Sesame Street), who took their own radical steps to influence the way educational media communicated with children, Ripples asserted a commitment to, both in theory and practice, the advancement of educational programming. AIT promoted the program in catalogues that emphasized the unique contributions the program was making to the industry:

Like a pebble dropped into still water that sets the water gently swirling, each encounter in RIPPLES sets a child’s thoughts and feelings in motion, sparks his [sic] curiosity and interest in himself and his world…Unique in its approach to learning, the series presents a variety of encounters intended to develop a child’s aesthetic feelings and human values, his sense of inquiry, his ability to cope with change, and his capacity for creating an understanding relationships.

In a number of ways Ripples demonstrated the important strides in the design and tone of educational television during the 1970s, but it also marked a turning point for NIT to grow their production services and increase the scope and mission of their organization. The early promotion of Ripples is evidenced in one of NIT’s earliest newsletters, which touted the program as “providing meaningful encounters” and as being able to “bring reality into the classroom.” This “reality” was attributed to the fact that many of the episodes were shot on location at hospitals, homes, schools, and parks. Moreover, it was clear that an increasing amount of attention was being paid to diversity and inclusion with regard to the teachers and children who were depicted in the program. Another newsletter article explained how the program specifically “takes advantage of the flexibility of film and uses its esthetic [sic] potential" to convey some of the complex themes advanced throughout the series.