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Early Ed: Children, Adults & the 'New Co-Viewing' via Digital Media

Published:   February 6, 2012

Decades ago, as researchers began to study what young children might learn from educational TV, they often found that "co-viewing" -- the act of parents and children watching together -- was strongly associated with children learning from what they watched.  Today, although TV is still the number-one type of media used by young children, new forms of media are begging new questions. What happens to co-viewing and its potential for learning as digital, interactive and portable media become more prevalent? Could there be more power in adults and children interacting together as opposed to simply watching together?  Or will children be literally left to their own devices?

This podcast delves into these questions by digging into The New Coviewing: Designing for Learning through Joint Media Engagement, a report produced by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the LIFE Center, a project of the National Science Foundation.  The report was written by Lori Takeuchi, director of research at the Cooney Center, and Reed Stevens, professor of learning sciences at Northwestern University.

Takeuchi spoke with Lisa Guernsey about the need for more focus on how educators and parents interact with children while using and watching games, videos and interactive websites. Contrary to the stereotype of a child sucked into a videogame devoid of human interaction, “media is truly social,” Takeuchi said. Media creators, she said, should think about how to “make it easier for people to interact around media and take advantage of these opportunities for people to learn together.”