As author Malcolm Caldwell has stated, “Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them. ” Caldwell went even further, saying that the effective use of television as an educational tool needed to capture, focus, and sustain children’s attention.
Sesame Street was one of the few children’s television programs to utilize a detailed and extensive educational curriculum, acquired from comprehensive research. The success of this television program has led to more than twenty international co- productions of this program, as well as the creation of hundreds of educational children’s series aired in the U. S. Today. In fact, there are now more than a dozen national cable channels devoted exclusively to children’s programming.
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However, television is not the only electronic medium available to kids in the U. S. From screen media (television, computers) to mobile technologies (pods, cell phones), American children increasingly live in environments that enable them to have media as part of their lives during nearly all of their waking hours. According to a 2011 Common Sense Media study of a national sample of over 1,300 parent’s of O to 8 year olds, American children live in homes with unprecedented access to media.
Here are some of the key findings: 98% have television in the home (68% with cable) 72% have a computer in the home (68% have high speed Internet access) 52% have access to cell phones at home 42% have TV’s in their bedrooms (30% of children were under age two) Children use screen media at very young ages, both as babies sitting on their parent’s’ laps and as toddlers watching television and videos on their own. But does that mean that they are not constructively learning as they are doing so?
I have always believed that television, when viewed selectively and in moderation, can encourage children to discuss, wonder about, and even read about new things. Above all, it can lead them to ask questions. So I searched for evidence showing not only the need for but also the potential positive impact of children’s programming shows. When Dry. Finalized proposed to use digital media strategically in Latin America to supplement and enhance young children’s educational experiences, he knew that e would need research evidence proving the potential of digital media for child education.
But for screen media to be effective educational tools, children must not only attend to and understand the messages, but they must see how the information can be applied to the real world. When do kids stop seeing the information presented on screens as merely interesting and instead begin seeing it as useful? Dry. Fundamentals research shows that for children to apply mediated information to the real world, they need to develop two complementary skills: the capacity for symbolic understanding and the ability to imitate a model.
Researchers have suggested that various aspects of interactivity may accelerate children’s cognitive development. By allowing children to organize information, provide structure to the activity, adjust the material to suit children’s needs and telltales, Ana receive Teacake, Interactive technologies may encourage processing that enhances children’s learning and may increase their cognitive abilities by prompting them to think about their cognitive strategies.
Fundamentals findings suggest that young children have unique perceptual and cognitive difficulties in earning from screen media when the content and formal features are developmentally inappropriate. Furthermore, children’s difficulties in learning from screen media at a young age are worsened by problems transferring between the screen and the real world. So I asked myself, what about when the content and forms are developmentally appropriate? Then can screen media be effective teachers?
A lot of online research suggests that young children do learn from watching and interacting with screen media and that what children learn depends on the content presented. Media images can impact the development of schemas for social roles wrought the representation of different characters. Fundamentals analyses of content directed to children show a mixed picture. He discovered that a majority of commercials during children’s programs featured mixed race groups, and that children of different races were shown interacting together.
However, Just 1% of the commercials in his sample featured non-white children exclusively. He suggests this perpetuates the notion that ethnic minority children need the presence of white children to validate their own presence. Another study examined the characters in immemorial during breaks in children’s cartoons and found a more equal representation of male and female characters; however, some stereotypes did endure: males were more likely to be shown in active roles and at work, while females were more likely to be shown as passive and in domestic settings.
These stereotyped representations can be powerful colonization factors when children identify with characters and imitate their appearance and behavior. Furthermore, these representations can be used by young viewers to develop expectations about others, especially those with whom children have no real-world experience. According to Finalized: “The possibility of children developing stereotypical ethnic, gender, class, and religious social views is ratcheted upward when the media frequently repeats these faulty portrayals… ” (p. 65) But why would I bring this up? It appears to go against the very topic of my paper. The reason is this: research shows that the mechanisms by which children learn from stereotyped representations are the same ones that they use to learn from non-stereotypical ones. There is evidence that racist and/or sexist attitudes can even be reduced through exposure to counter-stereotyped images. For example, the positive interaction of different ethnic groups on Sesame Street was shown to positively influence preschool children’s intercrop attitudes.
With this in mind, I believe that proboscis interactions and non-stereotypical portrayals in children’s programs could lead to reduction in both prejudice and traditional sex-role attitudes. Television has the ability to influence children in other ways as well. Over the past 50 years, a number of planned educational television programs have shown the power of television as an educational tool. In the U. S. , Sesame Street is the primary elevation show to demonstrate that well-planned, educational programs specifically targeted to the needs of children at specific ages can successfully teach a planned curriculum.
According to Finalized, children can learn their numbers, letters, science & matt International, Ana much auto ten social world Trot well-producer education-oriented screen media. Exposure in the preschool years to programs designed to be educational has been positively associated with increased vocabulary, higher scores on standardized measures of problem solving, and higher grades in school. Studies assessing the effectiveness of Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues showed immediate and potentially long- lasting effects of viewing this program on kids’ problem-solving skills, especially for regular viewers.
In other words, there is substantial evidence that well-produced, educationally-sound, and developmentally-appropriate screen media can positively impact children’s immediate learning and set them on a path of learning which persists at least through high school. Despite the evidence of negative effects from television viewing at very young ages, current research suggests that screen media an serve a positive role in educating (and entertaining) young children.
One of the more important implications of Fundamentals findings is the potential usefulness of television as a meaner of education kids. Especially if you consider the case of children who are growing up in at-risk homes – providing these children with educationally-focused media may prove to be an important educational resource. Main source: Heinz, Katharine.