The New Coviewing:Intergenerational Play and Learning for a Digital Age Michael H. Levine The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop screen2screen, Fordham University October 8, 2010
Overview About the Cooney Center A brief history of intergenerational play and literacy learning The new coviewing: Joint media engagement Research on joint media engagement What next? Setting an R&D agenda
About the Cooney Center Joan Ganz Cooney’s 1966 report to Carnegie Corporation, The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education “How can emerging media help children learn?”
Pioneering Research in Children’s Media
The Cooney Center’s Mission To foster innovation in children’s learning through digital media What we care about
Middle childhood (5 to 11-year-olds)
Improving literacy: old and new
Learning ecologies across formal and informal environments
An Ecological Framework attitudes & ideologies of the culture parents’ work macrosystem exosystem local school system mesosystem school microsystem home govt agencies friends, afterschool, etc. digital media spaces digital media market mass media the neighborhood Bronfenbrenner, 1977
Research Priorities To foster innovation in children’s learning through digital media Our research priorities stem from an ecological perspective on learning:
Joint media engagement
Bridging learning across home, school, and community settings
Research Activities Research and market scans Studies of digital media use and literacy learning Convening key sectors and disciplines Prototype design and testing Policy papers
Recent Research Publications
A Brief History of Intergenerational Play and Literacy Learning
Research on Television Coviewing Children who coview with their parents enjoy programs more than other children (Salomon, 1977) Sesame Street researchers found that children learn more from the show when parents watch with them But parents must be actively engaged, talking and pointing things out (Wright, St. Peters, & Huston, 1990) To keep parents in the room and engaged, Sesame Street producers included adult humor, music, and celebrities
The New Coviewing: Joint Media Engagement
Joint Media Engagement Caregivers can act as guides by establishing joint attention to media features salient for learning This guidance promotes children’s engagement with media in purposeful ways JME extends the notion of coviewing to include newer, interactive forms of media and other learning spaces JME research studies how media content intersects with in-room and in-world interactions and learning (Stevens, Satwicz, & McCarthy, 2008)
Joint Media Engagement
Research on Joint Media Engagement:Two Studies
Intergenerational Play & Learning Games are the most popular digital activity for children ages 2-14, with 85% usage among device users 97% of American teens play computer or video games The average child starts to play computer games at age 6, and cell phone games at age 10 A 9-year-old spends ~55 minutes on a portable or video game console on a typical weekday, over double the amount of time spent by 6-year-olds
Intergenerational Play & Learning Aim to develop research-driven design principles for creating intergenerational play mechanics that help children learn in a variety of settings Partners
USC Game Innovation Lab
University of Michigan School of Education
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Key Research Questions How can intergenerational play be intentionally designed and promoted during game play? What behaviors are associated with intergenerational game play? Which player dynamics attract both parents and children to play? Which platforms and play mechanics best support intergenerational engagement?
Intergenerational Play & Learning Game choice Rules of the game Competition Mentoring opportunities Influence of game type Focus of the interaction Mutual engagement
Story Visit A traditional paper book (Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone) A sensor-enhanced frame to monitor page each party is viewing Video-conferencing technology Video of Elmo to maintain child’s engagement and support the interaction between the child and grandparent
Story Visit - Study Procedure Grandparent and child-parent dyad were in different rooms of the lab, to simulate distance communication Grandparent read the story and parenthelped child follow along Small paper flaps in the grandparent’s book could be lifted to reveal a suggestion for how to engage the child in conversation related to the book content. Whenever Elmo’s thought bubble appeared, the child could touch it to hear a story-relevant comment or question from Elmo.
Story Visit - Findings
Most Story Visit calls lasted from 6 to 10 minutes, in contrast to parents’ reports of calls lasting under 1 minute when traditional phone technology is used.
The quality of call interactions was much higher than in regular phone calls. Children remained highly engaged in the sessions 97% of the time with Story Visit.
When using Story Visit, grandparents averaged asking two questions per page of the book.
Story Visit - Implications Elmo can help make video-conferencing more child-friendly The Story Visit System can facilitate richer interactions around reading and provide a shared context for long-distance family interaction Communication, education, and entertainment can converge to help young children play, learn and connect
What Next? Setting an R&D agenda
Challenges to Creating Effective Digital Media Current research efforts are fragmented and lack shared priorities and practices Old models of R&D no longer apply to an evolving, multi-disciplinary field Most current investments in educational technology are spent on hardware and software, rather than on training to effectively use technologies Educational digital media rarely bridges home and school, or spans multiple grades The public dialogue about games is often focused on their negative effects, not their potential
Studying Digital Media Solutions Craft studies to investigate potential of digital media to: Engage parents in scaffolding their kids’ learning Personalize early literacy development Promote healthy eating and exercise habits Inspire kids to engage in scientific inquiry Support learners with special needs
Advancing Methods to Study JME How do gaming experiences transfer to in-room and in-world learning? (Stevens, Satwicz & McCarthy, 2008) Family as the unit of analysis Transmedia migration Boundary crossing (Barron, 2004)
Family as the Unit of Analysis Can video games (re)unite generations?
National STEM Video Game Challenge
Youth Prize & Developer Prize categories
Announced at the White House on September 16, 2010
Winners awarded at 2011 Leadership Forum
Presented in collaboration with: Sponsored by: Founding outreach partners: