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Educational media and learning at home

Current research indicates children who use educational media do better in school compared to children who do not and that using educational media with adult interaction increases learning.
Current research indicates children who use educational media do better in school compared to children who do not and that using educational media with adult interaction increases learning.
Florence McGinn

Does your child learn at home from educational media? Do you wonder how your child’s media usage experience compares with other families in America? Then, consider examining the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s 2014 report , “Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America,” for its measured examination of the home, media use of children ages 2 to 10. The study and its report are part of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Families and Media Project. The report is authored by Victoria Rideout, president of VJR Consulting, who has directed media research that includes the decade-long Generation M study for the Kaiser Family Foundation. For interested parents, families, and stakeholders, the full report is available online, without cost.

With its emphasis on media experiences at home, rather than on classroom time, the “Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America” report surveyed parents rather than educators. For the purpose of the study, parents determined whether the media used at home held educational value. To facilitate that determination, the study defined education media as “content that is good for your child’s learning or growth, or that teaches some type of lesson, such as an academic or social skill.

The survey explored children’s home use of video games, e-readers, smartphones, tablets, television, DVDs, and other mobile devices. Media that was assigned by the child’s school or deployed specifically to fulfill a homework assignment was excluded.

Questions examined

The report not only covered issues related to home, educational media usage but also it examined the “joint media engagement” of children and parents. The dual emphasis holds particular importance as current research indicates children who use educational media do better in school compared to children who do not and that using educational media with adult interaction increases learning. The report examines questions that included:

a. How much media time is devoted to education content?
b. What subjects does media learning address?
c. What platforms do parents feel are most effective?
d. What are obstacles to the use of educational media?
e. How do parents interact to support the use of educational media?

Critical points for comparative consideration

Specific findings from the report merit consideration from parents weighing how their child’s media usage rates against national data. Questions and findings of particular interest include the following points:

a. Does your child use educational media daily? The report’s parents indicated that 80% of their children, ages 2 to 10, use educational media at least once a week. The report’s findings showed that a third of the children are daily users.

b. Do you believe your child has learned from educational media? Of the parents of weekly education media consumers, 57% say their “child has learned a lot” about one or more subject areas or cognitive skills from educational media.

c. How can you recognize that educational media is helping your child’s learning? 54% of the parents identified actions such as their child talking about something seen in educational media, engaging in imaginative play based on the media, asking questions related to the media, or seeking to do an activity inspired by the media.

d. What kind of media do you find most educational? For every subject except math, the report’s parents identified educational television as the primary platform.

e. Does your child have access to an e-reader or a tablet device? The report shows that nearly 2/3 of 2 to 10 year olds now have access to an e-reader or tablet device.

Thoughtful choices

In any true, final analysis, your child’s use of educational media falls to your individual parental judgment. However, the data in in the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s 2014 report , “Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America” can facilitate a thoughtful, comparative consideration of what usage, content, and engagement works best for your child’s learning and needs against the intellectual background of data found in a nationally representative survey.

Find the take in this article to be helpful? National and Local Education as well as National and International Travel materials come from a husband and wife creative team, who travel extensively as photonaturalists and writers. One is an experienced scientist with a doctorate in Material Sciences and background in pharmaceutical and optics research. The other is former Vice President of GKE (Global Knowledge Exchange), who served as a US Web-based Education Commissioner during the Clinton administration, and was a former US National Tech&Learning Teacher of the Year.

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