Blogged by: Nina Koo-Seen-Lin
Research Insights at the CMC:
Under the Sesame Tree
Dr. Alexandra Swann, Freelance Researcher
Shazia Ali, Qualitative Research Consultant
Children, Tablets and the Future
Dr Barbie Clarke, Managing Director
Siv Svanaes, Chief Tablet Researcher, Family Kids and Youth
Sponsored by: Family Kids and Youth
I love Sesame Street. It’s one of my top three favourite things in the middle of tortoises and Marmite. So today’s lecture on a new programme from Northern Ireland called Sesame Tree intrigued me.
Alexandra Swann, who recently graduated with a PhD (congrats Alex) describes Sesame Tree as a glocal production (a local adaptation of a global media production).
The show was developed in Northern Ireland and has all the local elements from there. From accents and language to the children and puppets. Sesame Tree is made for children growing up in Northern Ireland today and, just like Sesame Street it aims to bring people together.
The second talk was all about tablets. No longer the association with bitter pills in this day and age. Tablets are good things, according to Dr. Barbie Clarke, an academic at Cambridge university and a trained child therapist. She, along with Siv Svanaes, a Tablet Researcher has been searching for the key trends of tablet usage.
For toddlers, tablets are toys but as they get a bit older they can be used to make education fun. Tablets are expected to outnumber computer in US schools, and India and Zimbabwe are working to provide solar powered tablets to pupils in remote areas.
Barbie and Siv have evaluated the democratization of education. All children will be equal if they have access to Internet. It also allows teachers to adapt their course leading to teacher satisfaction. A tablet for the teacher?
What do children think of the tablet being used in schools? They regard it as helpful (they don’t have to visit computer room, and can use it at home). How would children feel if the Internet was taken away from them? Some quotes include some passionate Year 7 pupils: ‘I’d find it hard to get on with life…couldn’t do homework…I would probably give up…if the internet was taken away my heart would explode,”
Even though there are a few trepidations, the vast majority of parents, teachers, and kids are in favour of tablets being introduced in schools.