Tag Archives: Center for Children & Technology

Cooney Center’s Report on Joint Media Education

3 Feb

Cooney JMEGood news, Co-Viewing fans! Last December, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released it’s latest report, “The New Coviewing: Designing for Learning through Joint Media Engagement.” (To this Covert Co-Viewer, it felt like a holiday gift made just for me!) Chock full ‘o research, this one is worth downloading for yourself (here) and digesting in your own time.

On January 23rd, I had the pleasure of attending a panel presentation about the report hosted by Women in Children’s Media. While many aspects of the report were covered (you can actually watch the whole presentation here), my favorite part covered the case study of Electric Company’s interactive game, called Electric Racer. Simply put, Electric Racer is a two-person on-line literacy game, intended for children ages 6-9 and a grown-up to play together. Developed by the brainiacs at Sesame Workshop, it’s free and it’s focus on literacy should appeal to any parent hoping to connect with their child in that age group.

A nifty marketing video shows it best:

Researchers pilot-tested the game with parents and kids, and that process helped them tweak the product quite a bit. In this research, they learned that they needed better role clarification for both parent and child. In this case, the child is the “driver” of the vehicle, collecting certain words, while the adult must unscramble certain words to help the driver. (Roles can be reversed, of course, but this is how the game-play was intended.) Researchers also instituted a point system that allowed for more teamwork, but also showed how each player was performing. Finally, in-game instructional supports were added to remind players of their goal.

If you know of a 6-to-9 year old you’d like to try this game with, you can download it for free here!

What Co-Viewing in the Classroom Can Look Like

1 Oct

I recently received a message from a Facebook friend with a bit of a confession: His kindergartener did not know the alphabet. Apparently, while the little guy can spell his name, he consistently skips letters in the alphabet song and cannot identify or write most letters. My friend was looking for a good TV show or video he could have his son watch over and over again.  The message ended with, “Help me, Educational TV Doctor!”

Feeling a bit like Obi Wan receiving that hologram message from the distraught Princess Leia, I located my nearest communication droid – er, uh, I mean, COMPUTER – and began an email conversation with this High School acquaintance.  First, I told him, he should not expect one TV show or video to be a ‘magic bullet’ that can solve this problem.  It’s important to take a multi-pronged, multi-media-and-human-intervention approach to this particular problem.  I explained how my three-year-olds are fascinated by the alphabet, simply because it is everywhere in their lives: we sing the song, we read a ton of books (many of which have the alphabet laid  out on a two-page spread), we have letter magnets, letter puzzles… I could go on and on.  Secondly, I told him, co-viewing is key! There are a bunch of TV programs out there that can enhance real world literacy-learning, such as Sesame Street, Super Why, Word World, and Between the Lions.  Key to all this, however, is the fact that someone should be there to help point out the letters remind them about what he already knows.

Alpha Pig

Alpha Pig from "Super Why"

My friend told me that his son liked and watched Super Why, so I recommended that he take a look at some videos shot a year ago for the Ready-to-Learn summative evaluation.  This national research study was conducted by the Center for Children and Technology and SRI International to see if a multimedia literacy intervention implemented in low-income preschools could increase literacy scores. (You can download the report here.)  Of course, the intervention worked, and made a ton of children and teachers excited about literacy while it happened.  What’s even better is that they have now posted a lot of this video on-line, so you can get a sense of how teachers are co-viewing with their students! My favorite of all these clips shows a Head Start teacher carefully tracing the letter “E” in the air with her students as they watch. I was also impressed by this news clip that covered the results of the study.

While I have posted my own tips on how to co-view educational television, nothing beats seeing a real world example, especially one taking place in a classroom.  I hope seeing this encourages my Facebook friend, and anyone else out there who is looking for some support for their kids’ (or students’) literacy-learning.

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